Some nice examples of mobile journalism

Ahead of last week’s Circom Regional conference in Santiago de Compostela a group of young journalists from different regional stations met for a short workshop on mobile journalism led by RTÉ’s mobile journalism expert Glen Mulcahy, NRK’s John Inge Johansen (Norway), HRT’s Darko Flajpan (Croatia) and Circom’s Karol Cioma.

The participants shot and edited short ‘postcard’ packages from Santiago. I attended a session at the conference on Friday where the videos were broadcast and we heard from the journalists. The following packages stood out to me:

Patrik Samuelsson‘s video is interesting – it has lots of nice shots that really show off the range of the iPhone. Interestingly, Patrik, who is a Video Journalist at SVT (Sweden), said he got better shots with the iPhone than he would with his usual VJ kit.

I love this story from Adrian Rozenberg of TVR (Romania). What Adrian observed was that his interviewees behaved differently in front of an iPhone compared to his usual set-up. There was less of a barrier and they talked to him much more freely.

This story below was shot and edited by Nadejda Uzunova of BNT (Bulgaria). Before the course in Santiago, Nadejda had never used a camera to shoot a story nor had she edited a package. This package shows that mobile journalism is a great entry point and something that can be taught, if the participant is willing and interested, in a very short period of time.

There’s no doubt that news organisations are using mobile journalism regularly in live and breaking news situations, but what these packages show is the potential for packaging content and how accessible it can be with some focused training and the right equipment.

Sitting in the session watching the videos it also made me think about how organisations could work with the audience to grow and develop user generated content. There’s so much potential considering the huge, and ever-growing, base of smartphone owners.

All of the videos from the workshop can be found here and Glen talks a lot more about the process over on his blog here.

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Mobile: We are all really in the attention game now!

I was away last week in Santiago de Compostela attending the Circom Regional conference where I heard a lot about the different innovations European public service broadcasters are making in terms of their mobile output.

Listening to the presentations got me thinking about something that hit me a while ago and about which I have been meaning to write – ATTENTION.

As we move more and more to mobile, content makers are in an even fiercer battle for the users’ attention. It’s no longer just about competing against other content websites, ecommerce, email, social media etc. We are all really in the attention game now!

Whether it’s making calls, texting, watching videos, emailing, gaming, reading books, banking, listening to music, browsing the web, IM’ing, social networking etc there is so much to occupy a smartphone user’s attention before they even contemplate checking a media org’s app or mobile website.

Commenting on research released earlier this year the Harvard Business review pointed out that people spend only 47 minutes a month ‘seeking news or information’ only 4% of the overall time they spend on their smartphones. For a media org that’s a scary prospect and surely means you have to find ways to aggressively play the attention game. It’s time to work hard to get the user’s time and attention.

Five ways to go about it:

  1. Go social: incorporate social networking elements strongly into your  offering. Give people ways to interact with each other. Encourage it, stimulate it, devote resources to it.
  2. Gamify: Learn from the games industry and introduce the concepts of competition and rewards.
  3. Personalise: Find ways to introduce as much personalisation as possible – location, interests, peer recommendation/referrals.
  4. Be useful: Place an emphasis on content that people really need – practical stuff that’s required every day. Prioritise this and build a core around it.
  5. Entertain: Use your mobile platform to grab some of that time where people just want fluff, eye candy, humour and distraction.

We are not going to boost the amount of time the smartphone user spends on finding news or news discovery so we must push hard into the other areas that interest them more. It’s essential you are very clear about what you’re building when you are working on mobile platforms. Keep the audience in mind at all times and think of ways to disrupt their current behaviour and gain their attention – otherwise you’re just building follies!

30th Annual Circom Regional Conference Embraces Digital


I attended the 30th annual Circom Regional conference, hosted by SVT in Malmo, Sweden, last week and was amazed by how openly it embraced all things social, web and tech. From Mans Adler’s (Bambuser) session on live video broadcasting to Glen Mulcahy’s mobile journalism tour de force and SVT’s group of innovative News Lab journalists, the event was firmly rooted in media 2012.

Granted, I’m biased (I was invited to present and participate in a panel discussion) but there was something for most digital-minded people in the television industry – a massive shift from last year’s mainly broadcast-focused conference.

Nick Simons (NRK, Ex New Media Head BBC Scotland) and I co-presented a session work-shopping (both inside and outside the room) the question ‘how can social media improve storytelling?’ We had excellent participation and here’s a taste of the contributions from inside the room in Malmo (and from outside including: Romania, Ireland, UK …):

If you missed the session you can look at the slides here:

Or you can watch the full stream back here via Bambuser.

If you have any thoughts on the topic, please leave a comment below!

-Blathnaid

How can social media improve storytelling

Tomorrow (Thursday, 17 May) I’m co-presenting a session at the Circom Regional Conference being hosted by SVT in Malmo.

As the title of this post suggests, we’re asking: how can social media improve storytelling?

Nick Simons (NRK, ex Head of New Media BBC Scotland) and I will be asking a roomful of broadcasters from across Europe to look at that question.

However, we are keen to bring the discussion beyond the room. What are your views on the subject? Please feel free to share in the comments below or join in the conversation, live, tomorrow (2pm CET, 1pm Irish Time).

You can follow the discussion via #circom on Twitter or through this group on Facebook

The Week in Politics election book and Timisoara

I’ve contributed a couple of chapters to a book about the recent Irish general election, which has been published by RTE. The book, launched by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, gives a detailed analysis of the election with a constituency-by-constituency breakdown. It also features several articles written by RTE’s political staff including Sean O’Rourke, Bryan Dobson, David McCullagh, David Davin-Power and Brian Dowling. Edited by The Week in Politics’ Deirdre McCarthy, it also contains interviews with the TDs in the 31st Dail. A feature about social media and a diary-type summary of the election campaign are my two contributions to the book. More about it here.

In other news, I recently participated in a television journalism course for young journalists in Timisoara, Romania. I was one of 16 journalists from across Europe at the Circom-run course. I learned a lot from the trainers as well the others participating. If you have a couple of minutes take a look at the report I did while I was there, which was recently broadcast on RTE.

Hoping that the rain will stop soon,

B