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February 03 2012


#newsrw: Three pieces of advice for mobile reporting from Sky’s Nick Martin

Sky News correspondent Nick Martin gave three pieces of advice to those looking to get into mobile reporting at news:rewired – media in motion.

He identified how essential it is that journalists are engaging in mobile reporting and shared some of his experiences reporting from various stories using just an iPhone, including the London Riots.

Nick Martin also highlighted the importance of investigating accessories that can be added to enhance the quality of video and sound. One example he showed was an adapter to be able to plug in an XLR cable to record high quality audio.

Martin’s one big piece of advice is to practise. The key to getting better with mobile reporting is to “take the rough with the smooth”.

He also advised beginners not to panic. While it can seem daunting at times, Martin showcased examples where there was no choice but for reporters to get involved with recording video from their mobiles, such as when reporting from numerous locations on one story with only one cameraman. Martin told a story of how he was covering the deportation of two buses of illegal immigrants in America with one cameraman. They each went on one bus and it was his bus that gave the more interesting story – “like a scene from Scarface”. Martin was left with no choice but to use his iphone footage.

Martin’s final piece of advice was to use mobile reporting only when it was appropriate. He said it is not worth setting up a tripod and XLR cables for an iPhone when the cameraman is just five minutes away and time could be much better spent working out the story and what has happened.


LIVE: Session 2A – Mobile reporting

Most journalists today carry on them a tool which can not only record interviews, capture video or images and file reports, but carry out many more advanced tasks, including tracking social media, editing audio and video packages, and searching for contacts geographically. It is, of course, a mobile phone and this session will provide delegates with examples of the key tools and skills journalists can use to make the most of their mobile when reporting.

With: Paul Gallagher, head of online content, the Manchester Evening News; Nick Martin, Sky News correspondent; Ben Fawkes, audio content manager, SoundCloud; and Christian Payne, social technologist, mobile story maker.


“record is the new QWERTY!”


Sound Cloud integrates with Storify – some journalists curated collections of audio ‘notes’ and clips of Occupy Wall Street which went viral.


He’s showing us how Sound Cloud allows users to add meta data, such as images, text and geotag, to audio.


We’re now hearing from Ben Fawkes, audio content manager from Sound Cloud.


Uses Report-It and Bambuser for live broadcasting audio and video.


He’s showing off a nifty iPhone tripod. Provides stability and a base to clip on microphones, etc.

But he says even these were inappropriate during the riots, when he saw cameramen assaulted and their equipment stolen. Sky cameramen were told to stay slightly outside while the reporters went into the action, armed only with inconspicuous mobile phones.


He encourages journalists to PRACTISsymbolise reportage – practice makes perfect! – but also to use equipment that will enable better reporting, such as an iPhone tripod and add-on microphones/XLRs.

But, he says, you need to “take the rough with the smooth” when it comes to mobile reportage. Telling the story is the most important thing and, for Sky News’s rolling news, to tell the story AS it happens.


He’s showing us footage shot during the riots using only an iPhone.


Now we’re hearing from Nick Martin, Sky News correspondent. He’s talking about using apps such as Skype as a way to get material back to the newsroom as fast as possible.


MEN has used Bambuser for live streaming mobile video.



MEN offered a prize to the journalist who could produce the most-watched video. One offering included a “virtual bumpy ride along Oldham’s most potholed ride” with thecombine camera strapped to the bottom of his car!
Another reporter captured the arrest of a protestor at the student fees protest. A commenter on YouTube identified the arrestee as a lecturer in political violence, providing a great follow up story.
During the August riots, journalists and TV crew vans were attacked. Mobile phones were a great way to capture footage while blending into the crowd.


The Evening News has used geotagging to tol news stories such as road accidents and congestion, as well as following coach loads of City fans on their way to the Manchester United v City clash – helped to build up the atmosphere!



Journalists can curate liveblogs which include video and photos. Has enabled the Evening News to capture breaking stories such as protestors storming a council meeting.



Paul Gallagher, head of online content at the Manchester Evening News, is appearing via Skype thanks to the train cancellations!

He says it’s impossible for journalists to do their job properly without a smartphone. The Manchester Evening News uses mobile-shot photos from its journalists even in the print edition. They are also used to continuously update online galleries of events such as the public sector strike.

July 22 2010


Some other online innovators for some other list

Journalism.co.uk have a list of this year’s “leading innovators in journalism and media”. I have some additions. You may too.

Nick Booth

I brought Nick in to work with me on Help Me Investigate, a project for which he doesn’t get nearly enough credit. It’s his understanding of and connections with local communities that lie behind most of the successful investigations on the site. In addition, Nick helped spread the idea of the social media surgery, where social media savvy citizens help others find their online voice. The idea has spread as far as Australia and Africa.

Matt Buck and Alex Hughes

Matt and Alex have been busily reinventing news cartoons for a digital age with a number of projects, including Drawnalism (event drawing), animated illustrations, and socially networked characters such as Tobias Grubbe.

Pete Cashmore


Tony Hirst

Tony has been blogging about mashups for longer than most at OUseful.info, providing essential help for journalists getting to grips with Yahoo! Pipes, Google spreadsheets, scraping, and – this week – Google App Inventor.

Adrian Holovaty and Simon Willison

I’m unfairly bunching these two together because they were responsible – with others – for the Django web framework, which has been the basis for some very important data journalism projects including The Guardian’s experiment in crowdsourcing analysis of MPs’ redacted expenses, and Holovaty’s Everyblock.

Philip John

Behind the Lichfield Blog but equally importantly, Journal Local, the platform for hyperlocal publishers which comes with a raft of useful plugins pre-installed, and he runs the West Midlands Future of News Group.

Christian Payne

Documentally has been innovating and experimenting with mobile journalism for years in the UK, with a relaxed-but-excitable on-screen/on-audio presence that suits the medium perfectly. And he really, really knows his kit.

Meg Pickard

Meg is an anthropologist by training, a perfect background for community management, especially when combined with blogging experience that pre-dates most of the UK. The practices she has established on the community management front at The Guardian’s online operations are an exemplar for any news organisation – and she takes lovely photos too.

Chris Taggart

Chris has been working so hard on open data in 2010 I expect steam to pour from the soles of his shoes every time I see him. His ambition to free up local government data is laudable and, until recently, unfashionable. And he deserves all the support and recognition he gets.

Rick Waghorn

One of the first regional newspaper reporters to take the payoff and try to go it alone online – first with his Norwich City website, then the MyFootballWriter network, and more recently with the Addiply self-serve ad platform. Rick is still adapting and innovating in 2010 with some promising plans in the pipeline.

I freely admit that these are based on my personal perspective and knowledge. And yes, lists are pointless, and linkbait.

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