What if I tell you that you have a full TV studio in your pocket? Or that you can produce a whole podcast with the phone or laptop on which you are reading this piece?
Your mobile device is an amazing tool for content production and journalists around the world are broadcasting, shooting, editing and posting news directly from their smartphones, tablets, digital cameras and laptops.
Mobile journalism (mojo) is a new workflow for media storytelling in which reporters are trained and equipped for being fully mobile and fully autonomous. Journalists, media companies and broadcast corporations are aware that there are several benefits of doing things this way.
According to Torben Stephan, publisher of the Mobile Journalism Manual, mojo is becoming increasingly popular for a number of reasons. First, it is cheap — with only a US$200 phone and a US$30 tripod and microphone kit, you are ready to produce content.
It is also fast and flexible; you can shoot, edit and broadcast with just one device. Mojo is also safe for complicated contexts since everyone is used to people operating their phones in any and all situations.
The simple and the most important reason more and more people are investing in mojo is that your phone is always with you.
Mobile journalism manual
KAS Media Programme and a team of multimedia journalists lead by Corinne Podger recently launched an online manual focused on teaching reporters and newsrooms to produce quality reports using just their phones.
“The challenge was sharing the knowledge about mobile journalism with journalists that are ready to report and publish about local contexts,” said Stephan. The team decided that an online manual would be best, and during its first week after release, it received more than 60,000 unique visitors.
The manualis a free and open-sourced. The original version is in English, but the team is open to have people who want to volunteer to translate this manual to other languages.
All you need to know to go ‘mojo’
To empower journalists to produce more multimedia stories using just using their smartphones, the general section of the manual includes a quick introduction to mobile journalism, a guide about the apps and equipment that would help professionals deliver quality videos produced with theirs phones.
The next five sections are full of more specific information on five different topics. The visual storytelling section has texts and videos about topics such as finding a story, scouting a location, building a narrative and creating powerful visuals. The filming section has in-depth information on all the technical aspects you need to care about, including audio, light, quality and definition of the shoot. The other sections have further information on editing, social videos and going live.
There is also a section titled, learn more, where you can find a full list of resources — including articles, documents, digital communities, tips, links, and trainings — for more information about the topic.
Mobile journalism is still journalism
Although mobile devices are bringing new approaches, workflows, frameworks and possibilities, it is important to understand that mobile journalism is still journalism.
Journalists’ knowledge and skills are still necessary even as they transition to mojo: find a story, get the sources of information, be accurate, follow the basic rules of storytelling and be ethical.
All these new tools are nothing if there is not quality and professionalism. Stephan says, “The first condition to go ‘mojo’ is never forget the training you have.”