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The Journalist's Tool Chest | Mobile News Gathering

Posted By: Liana Miller
Posted On: May 06, 2013
Category: The Journalist's Tool Chest

Journalist's ToolchestRay Meese, Ventura County Star’s Visuals Editor first caught my attention earlier this year when I read about how he was using his iPhone to capture news. Since then, Meese and the reporting team at the Ventura County Star have taken mobile news gathering to new heights resulting in innovative breaking news coverage. For Meese, the iPhone is but one storytelling tool (it’s not replacing digital SLRs and video cameras); but, it’s given the Star’s newsroom the ability to cover breaking news more quickly. What you need to know:

1) With smartphones, such as the iPhone, reporters now have the ability to transmit information almost instantaneously and remotely. This greatly enhances their ability to not only cover breaking news, but stories they might not otherwise have covered from hyper local locations.

2) With slight modification and adaptation, a single reporter can create their own mobile newsroom with available technologies – any where and at any time. Meese, for example, has outfitted the Ventura County Star’s newsroom with a cadre of modified iPhones just for this purpose, creating probably the largest mobile newsroom in a local daily newspaper. Better microphones result in more opportunity for “voices” – not just visuals – in the story. Special tripods add stabilization. Editing can be done in the field. And, images / footage can be transmitted from anywhere there is connectivity.

3) The implication is that a news outlet can get a breaking news story up on a website as quickly as it gets into the newsroom. Stories can be reported iteratively and updated on the fly. Most importantly, for the news outlet, readers and viewers begin to trust and know that they will get the latest update from a trusted source.