Teaching mobile journalism: An experiment in my digital journalism class

Mobile journalism, or mobile news gathering, is defined by new modes of delivery, not by the (professional) production equipments. With everyday digital gadgets and free or cheap computer programs, anyone can produce quality contents – but you may need to learn some basic journalism skills.

In my digital journalism class in fall 2012, I asked students to produce video story and audio slideshow using a regular digital camera and an audio recorder, then edit audio using Audacity and video using iMovie. The idea is to avoid using professional production equipments and programs, and use instead equipments and software that are accessible to most people – for instance, both Audacity and iMovie are free.

In a blog post, a student in my class described her video story assignment as follows:

The assignment we were given was to produce a video story about a person on a mission using a simple standard camera.  We had to structure our story by focusing on a few key points and formulate questions and interviews accordingly.  We needed to a cover the questions using the 5 W’s—who, what, when, where and why.  For the production we needed to have the video narrated by the person we chose and also shoot in a variety of shots.  I chose to interview Kathleen, an intern at the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Jersey.

Her finished video story is being embedded here:

In a similar vein, I also asked students to produce a sound photo slideshow using digital camera, audio recorder, Audacity and Soundslides (the free version). A sample student project is being embedded here:

So my thoughts are that production equipments are no longer an obstacle for anyone who wants to create contents, but the production skills are still something that need to be learned and practiced. Although the two sample student projects have room for improvements, they both incorporate and demonstrate the production guidelines they learned in the video production and broadcast journalism classes they took with me: for instance, shooting video in sequence and how to conduct interviews.

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About Mu Lin

Dr. Mu Lin is a digital journalism professional and educator in New Jersey, United States. Dr. Lin manages an online marketing company. He also manages MulinBlog Online J-School (www.mulinblog.com/mooc), a free online journalism training program, which offers courses such as Audio Slideshow Storytelling; Introduction to Social Media Marketing; Writing for the Web; Google Mapping for Communicators; Introduction to Data Visualization; Introduction to Web Metrics and Google Analytics.
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