The Irish Times: Mobile journalism ticks all media boxes

Posted May 11, 2017
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The Irish Times is reporting on MoJoCon 2017, which wrapped up last week in Galway, Ireland, and they assert that MoJo is the way of the future. We have been talking a lot lately here about the future of journalism, and it certainly is the case that smartphones will play a large role in that future. 

The best way to think about this is to draw a comparison to the pen or typewriter. The smartphone is the pen of the 21st century. It used to be, to be a reporter all you needed was a pen to report out in the field, and then a typewriter to submit the story to the newspaper. A given newspaper was only as good as the number of pens they had out on the streets gathering news. Now, the written word has been replaced by video, and the new pen is the smartphone. All a reporter needs is a smartphone, and video literacy, to be able to gather news in the field. Additionally, the reporter no longer needs the newspaper, or traditional news outlet, as social media can serve as the platform -- all the reporter needs is credibility.

This is a dramatic shift in the way that both journalism and video are produced. In terms of journalism, it shows that we no longer have to rely on large companies and media outlets to serve as gate-keepers, agenda setters and top-down platforms. Rather, what is to replace it is something far more democratic and bottom-up in terms of distribution. As for video it is an even bigger shift, as video used to be very expensive to produce and distribute, and now can be done for next to nothing. The barrier to entry is basically zero now.

Fiona Alston for The Irish Times reports on this shift, and the ramifications it will have on traditional journalists and news outlets: 

Everyone’s a potential reporter these days. Thanks to social media, every event, however trivial, is quickly posted online from multiple angles and in all formats of video, audio and text.

For professional reporters, the advent of new, easier ways of reporting is both a blessing and a curse. Yet like every walk of life, it’s futile to resist new innovations. Mobile journalism – or Mojo as it has been tagged – is a fact of media life.

“Someone said to me earlier on, so what do I need to get started as a mobile journalist? I said your phone and an attitude and that’s it. That’s the paradox, people think that you need to spend a fortune on accessories to get into this.” says Glen Mulcahy, head of Innovation at RTÉ. He was speaking at RTÉ’s Mojocon, a three-day event in Galway, held last week to map out the breadth of mobile journalism today and to offer some insight to budding practitioners.

“If you’re doing stories for local newspaper and you want to give a flavour of what’s going on, you want to be able to share video and still effectively pull out a transcription from the interviews that you’ve done. It serves all the different media boxes, mojo’s perfect, it’s better than a dictaphone,” he say’s, eyeing the dictaphone app I’m using to record him on my phone.

Such a simple concept, but one with an underlying worry. Mobile journalism allows reporting from anywhere; it deliver instant updates and instant shareable content via live social media feeds, sometimes with ‘fake news’ being unwittingly shared around the internet and a rise in manipulated content. So how do we make sure that the content delivered from Mojo is of decent editorial standard?

Anne-Marie Tomchak, UK editor of media and entertainment company Mashable, says: “Having worked specifically with original journalism around the internet over the last four years, I actually think that the need for really robust journalism is more imperative than ever before because of the extra challenges you have now in the digital mobile space. Whether that’s with regard to fake news – to verification of information that’s coming in and misinformation that often well-meaning members of the public are spreading online or more malign forces that are trying to manipulate or engineer situations. So I think actually there’s a growing need for even higher editorial standards.”

Read the full article here.


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