Mobile Journalists are Modern Journalists

Today’s world is confusing; there’s no doubt about it. Information on the news comes spilling in from all sides to members of the public. By the time it has reached the public’s ears, a lot of the time it has been noted, drafted, edited, and who knows what else that might sway people’s opinions on what really happened.

The only way that people would really, for sure, definitely, without a doubt KNOW what happened…would be if they were there to witness it all themselves in real time.

Two words: Tim. Pool.

Tim Pool began earning a following when he reported during the Occupy Wall Street movement. However, his version of reporting was different from the Average Joe with a mic in his hand. He live streamed what he was seeing for over 21 hours, responded to live comments and questions from viewers, and took part in the event just as a normal citizen would, instead of a press person with any special privileges or passes. Within a short time, he gained a following, and over one million viewers knew who he was. He has gained recognition for his work and his engaging reporting, and has since worked for organizations like VICE and Fusion TV.

His kind of reporting is important, in my opinion. It keeps the public informed about what is happening, what is real, and what is important to know when it comes to events like the ones he attended. They can see with their own eyes what occurs, and even direct Tim Pool to go where they want to see more during a live event.

I do believe, however, that Tim Pool may not be a journalist when he does his live streaming. I believe he acts as a reporter during those instances. According to Roy Greenslade from the Guardian, there is a difference. A reporter accurately reports the facts and what they see is happening. Their job is more simple than a journalist’s. A journalist is responsible for more, and Greenslade puts it really well by saying, “Journalism is getting beneath the news. It’s investigation, analysis and thoughtful commentary. It’s in-depth expository reporting.”

I do believe though, that this is where journalism is heading. Pool is taking a few good first steps for us as the digital world continues to grow. With that digital world, comes apps. There are many apps of use for journalists in the field, and I decided to give a few a try of my own.

App 1: CityMapper

This is an app that I have a feeling will be beneficial to journalists like me in the field and in life (considering I’m “directionally challenged”).

Cities can be tough to navigate and when you are under deadline pressure and have to get to your interview on time, there is nothing worse in the world than getting lost in a city you are unfamiliar with.

When it comes to getting help with directions, the only one that you have to ask is CityMapper. I explored the app, trying out what I would see if I opened up the app and telling it I needed help navigating New York City. It gives you options of what you need to do, and even lists possible lines of transportation you could take if you scroll down. CityMapper even tells you what is being delayed, what is on time, and more. It includes maps, parking, everything that a journalist on the go and in a rush would need to get from point A to point B. I highly recommend this app for journalists in the field!

App 2: Dropbox

I have actually never used this app, although my photographers have used it in the field with me to transport big video files, like show teases and video for the web, back to our station’s server. I decided to download it on my phone and try to see if it was easy to use, and it was! My friend sent me a video file to view, and I could view it from my phone accessing it from Dropbox very easily. It was also easy sending him the a file of my own.

The only thing is, using Dropbox will use up a LOT of data. If you are not connected to wifi while out in the field, I would recommend looking for a nearby Dunkin Donuts or McDonalds before trying to send a large video file, and connecting to their internet. If that is not possible, make sure you have the final video with all the edits made all set to go, and make it as small of a file as possible beforehand.

App 3: Horizon

If you are shooting off of your phone, live streaming a crazy event, your hand might not remain as steady as it should. That’s where Horizon comes in.

I tried shooting with it in the newsroom, and it kept framing my videos in a steady, horizontal frame that moved with my hand, no matter how I turned the camera. Even if you shoot vertically, it will edit your shot so it is captured horizontally. You can also upload photos and edit a sequence together in this app, and even attach your location for when you upload it to social media.

This would be a great app to have for journalists at marches, rallies, or big events where being jostled around could mess up your footage. It makes it easy to capture and to post your video online quickly, so your following will see what you see as you go.

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