Mobile news gathering is now for real

The Society of Professional Journalists offers a training component of “mobile news gathering;” the description reads:

You’ll learn the basics of how to use hand-held devices as a journalistic tool. With the help of social media, apps and some gear, you’ll immerse yourself in the best practices for reporting, editing and sharing stories to any media platform with your smart phone.

If this is a skill/knowledge the professionals are paying to obtain, we educators should consider ways to offer it to our students.

2011 is a year that HD camera phones were coming of age. For the first time in human history, a large number of people carry a camera with them so average people, along with reporters, can record images and video of news events as they happen.

One obvious distribution channel for mobile news gathering is Youtube: the video clip of the last moments of former Libya leader Gaddafi was shot by an amateur with a cell phone, and was viewed by millions of online viewers.

Other than Youtube, there are some websites that help with mobile news gathering and distribution: Qik, Bambuser and UStream. Users can create an account with the site and stream live videos, using their cell phone, on the web for people around the world.

And there are social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, where people can snap a picture or video and post to their Facebook page or Twitter account. I once read a post about how an Afghanistan reporter uses Twitter to “livetweet” news from within Afgahnistan. Most of his tweets are the 140-word short messages, though.

Some news organizations, such as CNN and Fox News, also have apps for people to directly upload videos from their smart phones.

For a more in-depth discussion of mobile news gathering tools and practice, read another post I wrote about what we can do with a smartphone. In another post, I argued that effective mobile news reporting requires more than smartphones and apps – journalism training is still at the core of mobile news.

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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 (, 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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One Response to Mobile news gathering is now for real

  1. Kraig Debro says:

    Have you seen the iVideoStick? It’s a steadycam for mobile devices

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