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.

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!

WorldIrish publishes its first ebook

 

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Around a week ago, WorldIrish published its first ebook101 Irish Phrases You Need to Learn to Kindle and Kobo

What’s interesting is that the book evolved very naturally out of an article that we posted on WorldIrish with a much shorter list of Irish phrases. After the story went viral, I suggested we publish a short ebook and it’s worked out very well.  WorldIrish Community Journalist Mark Farrelly wrote the text in the space of two days, while Community Journalist Dave Molloy designed a cover for a fast turnaround. The book was set the next day and we were live on Kindle within two or so days after that (with the help of Green Lamp Media). 

I’ve written before about the importance of media companies working quickly and being flexible and this is a perfect example of just that. It’s an exciting time to work within a nimble start-up like WorldIrish where things like this can be conceived, produced and published in the space of just a few days. 

If WorldIrish can publish an ebook with our start-up-sized resources it won’t be too long before this kind of activity is an everyday occurrence for the larger media companies and everyone else too.

 

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*DOI: I’m COO of WorldIrish.com

Journalists and smart phones – a good combination

Move over backpack journalism we have entered the era of pocket journalism!

News organisations have been using material gathered on mobile phones for some time now, but mostly it has been photos or videos shot by ‘citizen’ journalists.

However more organisations are equipping their staff journalists with better phones to capture material from the field quickly.

In this interesting article over at Poynter, Damon Kiesow talks to Ventura County Star’s Visuals Editor Ray Meese about using the iPhone to break news.

The paper last year purchased six iPhone 3Gs for the staff and trained much of the newsroom in basic video and audio capture, editing and transmission. Meese said the best approach to making this work is simply to lead by example. “Just go out and do it. If you do that one or two times people see the result and see (the video) on the website 30 minutes after the event happens.” That’s what gets people to buy-in to the concept, he says.

Meese elaborates on the kit being used alongside the iPhone:

Hardware
-Two different battery boosters (the Mophie Juice Pack Air and the Griffin PowerBlock Reserve)
– The Owle Bubo, which lets you attach an external microphone, a cold shoe, a tripod or an interchangeable lense
-Xshot case, which has a tripod adapter

Software (apps)
-PhotoGene for still photos
-ReelDirector for editing video
-ITimelapse for editing video
-Pixelpipe for transferring content (currently unavailable)

So you might need big pockets in many ways for that lot, but as Meese points out smart phones are being improved all the time and many of the items you have to add on or need for improved performance may be integrated into future models.

He goes as far as saying that it is feasible that a smart phone could eventually replace a still camera, video camera and audio recorder. I agree with that.

Now for the results.

Here are some videos recently shot by journalists at the Ventura County Star. They don’t indicate on their site, which videos are shot using an iPhone but after watching a few I’d say these two probably were:

‘Bear rescued from tree in Oxnard’ Video by Staff Reporter Adam Foxman (great part at about 1.40 – easy to see why this has good ratings)

‘Two people injured in Oxnard house fire’ Video by Staff Reporter Adam Foxman

What strikes me about both of these videos is even though the quality is akin to that of any footage taken on a good mobile phone these were produced with a journalist’s eye.

I think the Ventura County Star shows the opportunities that lie in pairing journalists with new technology.

Visual Editor Meese will be taking part in a webinar next month (17 June) called ‘Tools for Mobile Journalists’.

Putting the 17 June in my diary and downloading new apps,
B