Is Mobile Journalism Still a Thing?

We’ve heard it before. People are consuming more and more content and they are consuming more and more videos too. This has put pressure on Publishers to increase their output, and to make things ‘worse’ publishers don’t just have to create more, but they also have to find a way for that content to stand out in a very crowded digital media landscape. It’s no longer enough just to make video, but brands need to make sure their content is original, engaging, on-brand and in their own editorial voice.

This can seem daunting, but one simple way to create engaging content is to get journalists who are already out covering the story take out their smartphone to capture an original angle or speak to the camera explaining what’s going on. However, gone are the days when you needed a 2 person crew with cameraman and sound engineer to create audio-visual content.  The average camera on a smartphone now takes a higher quality picture than some professional cameras a few years ago. Many also boost multiple lenses and artificial intelligence to help amateurs create images of the highest standard. Combine that powerful camera technology with a few affordable gadgets and some creativity and anyone can be a Video Journalist.

With ever-increasing mobile internet speeds and 5G around the corner, it’s never been a better time to use the Smartphones to produce and transmit video. The future of journalism is mobile.

How Delo Use Mojo to Reach Younger Audiences During the European Parliamentary Elections. 

Slovenian publisher Delo is a great example of how this agile approach to news gathering can help get closer to the story and offering something unique to their audiences.

Delo is a traditional broadsheet newspaper and a challenge they faced was how to reach a younger audience and to get them engaged in politics in the run-up to the European Parliament Elections.

In the run-up to the vote, Delo had 5 journalists out covering the election, each using their mobiles to capture interviews with voters, atmosphere and behind the scenes footage from the campaigns. The content was shot vertically and delivered straight into Wochit where Delo’s Assistant Online Editor, Neda Došenović edited and enriched the video with text and music for Social Media platforms such as Instagram Stories, Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

“The upload was really fast. We used to send videos through WeTransfer which is also fast, but then I have to upload it to Wochit. So it saved us some time. It is really easy to use so none of the journalists had any problems despite the fact they were using it for the first time.”   Neda said.

Neda’s advice to others who want to involve writing staff in the video creation process is to keep it simple. She said don’t give journalist with no or little video experience any additional equipment or complicated instructions: 

I just asked them to film what was happening”

“The best job was actually done by the oldest reporter in the team. She is 55 years old and has been a newspaper journalist all her life so this was really new to her, that she had to film. But she did a great job filming headquarters of one of the political parties, she filmed statements from the candidates and sent a picture of herself doing the reporting.”  

Neda added that even though it can be technically simple you still have to provide the right motivation to break working habits.

You just have to keep insisting that video is an important part of modern journalism and now that everybody has smartphones, it’s just so much easier to have video next to your written text,” she says. 

The light equipment also helped Delo get right into the heart of a story a few weeks later. When the first Primark opened in the capital Ljubljana, Delo journalists in the crowd were able to capture the chaotic scenes that took place as the shop opened. It can get shaky in such situations, but audiences are used to this type of content, which even if shaky will capture the atmosphere better than a photograph.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MoJo Like a Pro

Mobile Journalism is more than just about short clips, breaking news or something funny. It has become a whole genre that includes longer-form news reports for TV, documentaries and multi-camera live streaming.

This year has seen the launch of the Mobile Journalism Awards  – a global competition inviting mobile filmmakers from around the world to submit in 14 different categories including Best News Story, Best Documentary, Best Travel Story, Best Use of Sound, Best Innovation and many more. One of the people behind these Awards is Robb Montgomery – a MoJo specialist and educator. Through his company Visual Editors and via his Smart Film School on Udemy, Robb has been teaching newsrooms around the world the power of MoJo for years

“Currently the smartphone is the most powerful reporter’s notebook yet invented, and journalists must be trained to use it to capture the full power for themselves and their audiences,” Robb told Wochit. 

“Mobile journalism is a core competency for field reporting elements of a story with small, connected devices. Mojos report in audio, photo and video”, he adds.

He says mobile journalism is essentially about working with pictures and then knowing how to write to those pictures.

So for anyone interested in upping their MoJo game and go beyond the point-and-shoot-approach, here are 10 basic tips from the Smart Film School

  1. Swipe the lens of your camera to make sure it’s clean
  2. Film in airplane mode with notifications off
  3. Use a tripod and don’t move the camera
  4. Don’t use the zoom. 
  5. Record 10-second clips, ideally using manual focus and manual exposure.
  6. Always use an external microphone.
  7. Always film horizontally. Film in 4K with center framing if you want to recut shots for portrait shaped videos.
  8. Illuminate your subjects with natural light. Window light on their faces works best.
  9. Use the 6-shot pattern to gather shots of your subjects that can easily be edited together 
  10. Bring a fully-charged power bank and charging cables with you at all times!

To find out more tips, visit: 

Smart Film School

Mobile Journalism Manual

Wochit Mobile Uploader


About the Author:
Peter Eisenberg is Director Of Customer Success and Video Strategist at Wochit.
He is a former video journalist who worked with Mobile Journalism at new UGC news agency Newzul. Before that, he was a news editor for 10 years at the Associated Press Television News.

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