As part of a running installment about the 2012 Online News Association Conference & Awards Banquet (ONA), this week the Hub takes a look at mobile reporting and storytelling.
One of the panels on the last day of ONA12 was focused on the mobile device. The panel entitled “Mobile Storytelling: The Next Level,” featured Robert Hernandez, Web journalist / Professor at USC Annenberg, Colleen Wilson who is Executive Director, Interactive at KQED, and Jim Colgan who is Senior Content Relations Manager at SoundCloud.
The panelists shared with the audience the different uses of how the mobile device can be used for reporting and storytelling purposes.
The panel had several recommendations on different kinds of equipment you can add onto your mobile device to make it reporter-friendly. Hernandez recommended:
- The iPhone Adapter Cable – it allows you to split your jack into xlr and headphones at the same time. Available at Comprehensive Cable.
- External Battery Pack – using the apps on your phone can drain your battery fast, so it’s good to buy an external battery pack with USB to keep your power going on your device – HyperMac Battery Packs start at $50 through most online retailers.
Mobile Tools for Reporting
There were several suggestions from the panel and the audience about tools to use for newsgathering with the mobile device:
- Vyclone – make video recordings from multiple mobile phones at the same time. It will synchronize and edit the video from the multiple devices into one movie.
- GoPano – capture 360 degree panoramic videos or photos from any mobile device.
- Splice – video editing tool for the mobile phone.
- SoundCloud – capture audio with your mobile device, upload and share it with others.
- UStream – broadcast video live from your mobile phone.
These are just a few of the tools suggested, check out this robust list of other mobile tools by Hernandez: http://webjournalist.org/topics/tools/
Aside from specific apps, these tools can help with newsgathering in breaking news situations:
- Foursquare – find potential sources when in a breaking news situation because you can see who has checked into that location.
- Google Hangouts – helpful tool to connect with the newsroom from the news event or connect with the public via live video from the scene and they can interact with you as you are covering the event.
Creating Augmented Experiences
Wilson shared with the audience the recent work her team did to create an augmented reality mobile app for users in San Francisco that will be launching soon. Based on the experience, she gave the following tips for other news organizations that may be creating a mobile app:
- Make sure to consider how much content you have and how it can fit into the space (smaller screen = less real estate for information). Make careful choices of what is necessary to include since space is at a premium.
- There is power in using the location-based/GPS functions of the mobile app to create a story revealed by location.
- The user experience is paramount when building a mobile app, and if the app doesn’t function well, people won’t come back.
- Harness the technology in service to the content.
If you are seeking to create a mobile website or app for your news organization, check out this past post on the Hub on Mobile Strategies for Nonprofit News Organizations.