Mobile journalism is a great way to work in Europe or the US – the advantages (lower cost, higher flexibility) are widely discussed. But in developing countries, #Mojo really makes an exciting difference. And it matters much more than here I guess. I had a chance to explore the options during a training with BBC Media Action in Yangon.
It was a little experiment. I met Torben Tietz at a sofa concert my wonderful wife organized for my birthday (must have been the 23rd or so this year). Torben played a great gig in our garden – and made me think of how I could bring two passions together: music and #mojo. Not so difficult: We agreed to film a music video for one of his songs at his little studio in Hamburg, at „106Hz„. I used four smartphones – two Androids (Nexus 6, Honor 7), an iPhone 6 and a Lumia 930. And no, the room didn´t explode when they all met. The opposite happened: It all went smoothly and harmonic (with the iPhone being responsible for the need of some last-minute transcoding before editing on laptop with Premiere Pro). Torben made it easy choosing a black and white video so I had no problems with colour matching. I filmed with FilmicPro, the FilmicPro Beta for Android and CinemaFV5. On Lumia, I used the generic Windows camera. I enjoyed it (so much that we even recorded a second video, see below) – hope you will, too.
Can a drone help #mobilejournalism? I wanted to try how easy it is (for an amateur like me) to fly a modern drone , how big a hassle it is to take it to a spot and assemble it, and how good the picture quality is. I asked DJI for a trial of their Phantom 3 Professional which is arguably the most advanced drone on the market in this price range (around 1400 €). Sadly, they only had a Phantom 3 Advanced (1100 €) at hand, but I still tried it out. Want to hear some results? And, more importantly, want to hear what a shepherd has to do with it? More…
What a wonderful hour: #Mojo heavyweights talking about why #Mojo matters, how it will (and must) change storytelling, what limitations mobile journalists encounter (and how they overcome them), and what special skills a #mojo needs. The panel was part of Netzwerk Recherche´s annual conference, Germany´s biggest meeting of investigative (and other) journalists. On the panel were Glen B. Mulcahy, organizer of @Mojocon and long time #Mojo-trainer, Nick Garnett, who has been reporting for the BBC with nothing but his iPhone since 2009, Wytse Vellinga, a #mojo reporter for the Frisian broadcasting service in The Netherlands, and me. The video was a Periscope live broadcast, is therfore vertical and lasts for about an hour.
The outset might have been a little bold: We wanted to try out the possibilities of mobile journalism for a regional newsroom. And we wanted to do it with colleagues who had quite some journalistic experience, but hadn´t tried reporting from their mobile phones yet. The goal was to produce a proper special edition of our regional news. It wouldn´t go out on air, but we would use the studio crew, our known workflows and structures. The only thing that was different: The whole content should be produced on smartphones. Would it work?
Storyful and Youtube have started their joint project „Newswire“ today: a stream of user generated Youtube clips, prioritized with regard to the news agenda, found in the web and verified (so they say) by Storyful. The leading clip today shows Charleston AME church pastor Clementa Pinckney, who was killed by a gunmen together with eight members of his congregation. Other videos show reactions on the streets to the Charleston shooting, Flooding in Oklahoma, latest pictures from the Syrian war, and other news. So, is Youtube Newswire any good?
I´ve talked about mobile journalism and its implications to media students at Hamburg University yesterday. I showed them this example of what Al Jazeera´s young offspring AJ+.net did in Ferguson: shaky mobile video, very rough edit, hardly audible sound (compensated by subtitles), text captions instead of overvoice. First comment of a young student? „Much more authentic, much more credible, because the reporter doesn´t tell me what to think.“ Is overvoice so yesterday?
By the way, none of those Hamburg millenials reads a printed newspaper anymore, but three quarters of them are desperately interested in news. Is there hope? I don´t know: Only a handful of them wanted to become journalists – the outlook for the profession was to gloomy, they thought.