Mobile journalism: the new frontier in news video

What is Mobile Journalism (MOJO)?

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Video viewing isn’t the only thing that’s gone mobile – journalism and news video is rapidly expanding into the territory of mobile capture and creation. Reporters can cover events on-the-fly, on their own. Interviews, breaking news coverage, and live broadcasts can now be carried out by individual journalists at the drop of a hat. And a mobile approach allows journalists to more readily cover niche stories, like community events and local news, that traditional coverage typically doesn’t make room for.

This new trend in journalism is the result of a variety of factors. Ever-more advanced and affordable mobile technology, like mobile phones with full HD quality cameras and microphones, make it possible to cover anything, anywhere, anytime.

Consumers also desire immediate coverage of breaking news, and reporting on-the-go allows journalists to offer viewers what they want. The interest, especially on social, is for coverage to be continuous, with minute-to-minute updates as stories develop. This interplay of what consumers want and what technology now allows is driving new journalistic tactics.

“Mobile journalism” doesn’t just mean “mobile device journalism”

Too often when someone sees the words “mobile journalism” they interpret it to mean coverage tackled with a mobile device. Certainly, mobile devices play a role. As noted above, the mobile phones in all of our pockets are almost universally equipped with HD cameras and microphones.

But journalism isn’t made mobile simply by being composed of assets captured with mobile devices. Rather, mobile journalism is a new set of tactics for reporting. It is defined by an ever-ready, DIY approach to journalism that allows for individual journalists to act as a one-person team. The lone reporter in the field can tackle moments as they unfurl that once required loads of gear and several hands on deck, if that individual is ready and willing.

Reporters have to be prepared

Part of a true mobile philosophy for journalism requires journalists to be prepared when they are in the field. In the simplest terms, that requires the technology to capture video and audio at a moment’s notice (readily available in almost every pocket) and the natural instinct of most journalists to want to get the best coverage of a story they can when it is immediately in front of them.

Even when they are not out to do video-specific coverage, journalists should be ready and willing to capture video and audio if the opportunity presents itself. Whether that’s capturing footage of an event, a quick interview with key figures, or a livestream when something unexpected unfolds, journalists need to be ready to apply the unique adaptability to circumstances to the specific tasks of capturing assets and producing video coverage independently.

It’s not the end of traditional coverage

Mobile journalism is a rising trend and it’s sure to continue shaking up the industry. But it’s not here to report coverage as we know it. Instead, mobile journalism is a new, important tool for journalists and newsroom managers.

There’s still plenty of room for traditional coverage, with its particular production values and the professional expectations it fulfills for audiences. But mobile journalism allows for a new kind of flexibility. Organizations of any size can be at the forefront of breaking news, an arena once dominated by big, vanguard outlets.

Mobile journalism is especially important for social media. People increasingly turn to social for their by-the-minute news coverage, especially when major stories are unfolding. When every journalist in an organization is equipped and ready to craft coverage on-the-go, outlets stand prepared to deliver to their social audiences exactly the kind of news they want.

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