As news continues to be delivered at an ever-increasing pace, it’s only natural for multimedia journalists to put down those heavy, complicated DSLRs and pick up their mobile phones to shoot, edit and deliver breaking news.
“I’ve seen people use their phones more and more for parts of a report and to relay news quickly to a station for publication to a website.” said Sharon Stevens, a freelance journalist who has noticed the trend in her reporting travels. “While the resolution is not a good as using a video camera, I don’t see it stopping anytime in the near future. The news directors and general managers who choose to [use mobile footage] will just have to look for those phones that will give you that better resolution and supply them to their [employees].”
Journalism graduate Raven Ambers has used footage shot on her iPhone for web reports. “The iPhone was quick and easy,” she states, “For a tease, which we did with one continuous 10-15 second shot, it was easier and much simpler to upload to web.”
Reporter LaDyrian Cole of KTAB in Abiliene, TX, agrees, “I’ve used my phone for a tease that [was] uploaded to the web.” She continues, “It’s simple to shoot and easier to upload to the web and on air systems.”
Journalist Rajneesh Bhandari feels the same. In an article for IJNet, “Top apps for journalists shooting video on mobile”, he states, “[Mobile phones] are handy and you don’t have to carry a lot of things…just a mobile, a light tripod and maybe a pin [lavalier] mic.” The article goes on to list some popular mobile apps for the journalist “on the go”.
Among the things leading this charge is the advent of the mobile app. From CNN to your local newspaper, more and more people are getting the information they need by accessing their favorite apps.
If you’re a young journalist who believes that you have an idea for the next generation of mobile apps, Dr. Michelle Ferrier of the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University is looking for you.
Dr. Ferrier is part of a group that is beta-testing a two-week mobile innovation module. The module will teach students about mobile app development in course curricula. Through a broad overview of the mobile market, students will learn mobile app development, audience research, user interface design, and using prototyping among other topics.
The module will also benefit professors by coaching them on how to teach mobile development to their students.
“My philosophy is that if schools are going to offer the “just in time” learning that students need, we need some flexibility in our curriculum in order to be able to do that,” Dr. Ferrier says.
The module will demonstrate some of the things that students need to know about mobile development in two weeks in hopes of becoming a fixture in full semester courses later on. The module also supports the Scripps College of Communication Innovation Challenge, a student pitch competition around media industry issues. Students will have the basic knowledge to develop a mobile app as a potential solution to the challenges with the chance to win prize money or a grade in a class.
Dr. Ferrier finds the appeal in mobile apps in their inclusiveness of all communities. “They basically have bridged the digital divide. For underserved and underrepresented communities [and] people who have limited income, their phones most likely are their devices of choice not just for making phone calls but also for reaching the internet and getting information off of the internet. They can still get and participate in things that are necessary without having to have a laptop for the most part.”
Currently, Scripps College of Communication is looking for external reviewers for the module to get more feedback and eventually offer the module in multiple schools.
Sadiyyah Rice is the digital intern for the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force, recording secretary for the Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists and producer and editor for Higher Education Channel Television (HEC-TV).