MOJO: mobile journalism

In the field of journalism, timing is everything. In order to be successful in this career, one must have certain objects with them at all times. As technology changes, so do these items. There are a myriad of resources dedicated to updating the list of items, but there are a few basics.

Some of the essential items include:

  • A backpack large enough to carry everything without making movement cumbersome.
  • A notebook with multiple writing utensils to take notes. Yes, this is still essential. Technology is not always reliable.
  • A laptop, or smartphone, with a working Internet connection. Stories will break at any moment and may need to be sent to editors or posted on blogs immediately.
  • A digital recorder with backup batteries in order to obtain audio clips or notes for a story on the go.
  • A camera and/or video camera to capture footage and allow files to be uploaded to computer.

Websites like Mobile Journalism Tools and the Reynolds Journalism Institute are helpful because they provide in-depth coverage of the above listed items. For example, one can find useful information on camera lenses or tripods.

These sites feature what mobile applications are most useful to journalists. This includes audio editing, file transmission, geolocation, live streaming, microblogging, note-taking, photo editing and video editing applications.

Media Bistro has an article about iPhone applications that revolutionize mobile journalism. One of them is SpotCrime, which allows the user to see what crimes have occurred in certain locations. It also shows the type of crime committed.

The Kindle application can also come in handy. Whether one uses the Kindle, Nook, or iBooks, these apps makes hundreds of thousands of books available for on the go reading and research.

The next featured app is Howcast. This app offers how-to videos on a range of subjects. For example, if there is a social media platform that a journalist is unfamiliar with, they can use this program to learn it.

Next, is the iheart radio app which allows the user to listen to music and live radio broadcasts.

Lastly, the article suggests the HearPlanet app. This app provides information on thousands of landmarks around the world. If a journalist is unaware of a location’s history or purpose, this app remedies just that.

This article provides the Facebook pages every journalist should follow.

Mashable has their own page for what tools they think are essential for the mobile journalist. The article provides information on how Google Voice can substitute for a digital voice recorder. In fact, many of Google’s products can help journalist’s condense their list of items.

Ustream broadcaster allows journalists to upload audio and video in real-time. This can be helpful for breaking news stories.

Reeldirector is a video editing suite that can trim and join clips, add titles and embed sound. This can be helpful for creating montages of interview and key sound bites.

This video speaks to the journalists who use mobile phones to take their notes. It recommends ways to become faster at texting and how it is more efficient than traditional handwriting.

Although, mobile journalism is changing the way journalists report in positive ways, this article speaks of the challenges it creates.

Twitter: a trend worth following

The web address of this blog is “fingermeetpulse” because, as journalists, it is our job to always keep our finger on the pulse of what is going on in the world. Our goal is to report news as it happens, while keeping communication lines open and engaging with the public. Twitter meets these goals and has changed journalism as we know it.

This microblogging phenomenon has made the world smaller. The 140 character limit format requires clean and to the point reporting. The site is easily accessible and allows the public to report along with the journalist. When a celebrity dies, a bill is passed or denied, a tornado has touched ground, or when a country revolts against its leader, Twitter is first to break the story.

A perfect example of why Twitter is crucial to journalists and the public alike lies in the recent events in Egypt. News of the events unfolding in the streets was nearly impossible to come by at first due to technology being compromised. Al Jazeera actually encouraged the community to use blogs, social media, eyewitness accounts and videos to show the world what their country was experiencing.

Through Tweeting and Twitpic, citizens were able to have their voices heard. With the use of the hashtag, #Egypt, anyone with a connection to Twitter could quickly access information.

The preamble of the Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics speaks of public enlightenment, the foundation of democracy, seeking truth, integrity and credibility. Twitter most certainly enlightens by allowing a constant flow of information, pictures, audio and video.

The site showcases the first amendment right of free speech in full form and allows the public to take full of advantage of that right and privilege.

If any source attempts to spread falsehoods, Twitter allows for the truth to come out in record timing. For example, politicians like Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) may attempt to set the record straight when need be.

Lastly, Twitter verifies accounts, which allows the public to know whether certain Twitter accounts are indeed credible.

The possibilities for Twitter and its uses are endless. I’m certain the site will grow as we grow. Jason De Rusha (@derushaj),  a reporter at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis provides these tips for journalists:

• Do: Get engaged.

• Do: Read replies.

• Do: Respond.

• Don’t: Turn Twitter into a non-stop back-and-forth exchange. Take bigger discussions to e-mail or Direct Messages.

• Do: Start as a listener. It’s OK to start following people and just treat Twitter as something like the AP Wires. Don’t be discouraged because you only care about 1% of people’s tweets. You don’t cancel the AP Wires because you don’t care about the Lottery numbers from Kentucky.

• Do: Post a profile picture.

• Do: Talk to your boss about his/her philosophy about Twitter.

• Do: Ask permission before tweeting anything about internal information (new hires, fires, layoffs, etc.)

• Do: Treat your Tweets like a microblog. Consider whether your readers would care about something before you belch it out to the wider world.