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July 29 2011


Reporting from Your Mobile Phone? The Mobile Media Toolkit Can Help

Drumroll, please! MobileActive.org is pleased to introduce the Mobile Media Toolkit, the newest project that's all about Making Media Mobile.


The Mobile Media Toolkit helps you make sense of the growing role of mobile tech in media. The Toolkit provides how-to guides, wireless tools, and case studies on how mobile phones can (and are) being used for reporting, news broadcasting, and citizen media. We cover it all, from basic feature phones to the latest smartphone applications.

It's an exciting week for us here at MobileActive.org as we launch the Mobile Media Toolkit. We have been interviewing people, researching projects, and testing tools to bring you this free resource. It's designed to help you evaluate and effectively deploy the right tools for reporting and sharing content on and to mobile devices.

The Mobile Media Toolkit is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. We won an award in 2009 from the Knight News Challenge in the area of Journalism and Media Innovation. We have been working hard ever since to develop, test and share with you this free resource that's all about Making Media Mobile.

Please visit the Toolkit here. Share it with others. Add to it! It's available in English, Spanish and Arabic.

So, please join us and say welcome, bienvenidos, and مرحبا to the Mobile Media Toolkit!


July 23 2010


#cnnfrontline Mobile and journalism: Part one- some clarification

Big cameras at the Frontline

Big cameras at the Frontline

Last night I found myself at the infamous (and very pleasant) Frontline club to sit on a panel talking about Mobile technology in newsgathering and journalism (Disclosure: It was an invite from CNN and Edleman who bought me tea and put me up in a hotel, which was very nice of them).
The event was a chance for CNNi to launch their new iphone app and, if the chat on twitter was anything to go by, the audience to be a bit frustrated.
One commentator noted the white, male flavour of the panel. I agree and I’ll not go next time. But for many the problem was we didn’t really get round to what a lot of people wanted to know – what are the business models for mobile?
@thevideoreport report tweeted that it was all “a bit 2002” and @adamwestbrook noted that, lovely though the panel was, nothing new was learned.
I understand the frustration. The conversation ranged round some of the usual subjects – citizen journalism vs. journalism, big cameras vs. little cameras (a subject I’ve blogged in repeatedly) – and it seemed only vaguely touched on mobile itself.
I suppose I should apologise for that, I was on the panel when all is said and done. But I just wanted to clarify some points and maybe develop the conversation a little more in to the areas people felt we missed. As I was drafting this post it started to get a little long so I’m going to do it in a couple of parts.  So,to start, some clarification.
One point I wanted to pick up was the brief kick around of the ‘attitude’ of students to news and opinion. I was quoted as saying that “journalism students come in thinking everything they think is news” It’s not quite what I said but the point is worth amplifying.
Students do come in with very strong opinions and ideas. Opinions about what journalism is, what they will be as journalists, right and wrong etc. As they should and, as I always say, that’s brilliant – not that they need my permission or approval. I love opinionated people and I love the passion that brings. But the reality is that for most jobbing journalists expressing their opinion is a luxury. It isn’t what journalism is about. It’s my job to help them understand that framework perhaps to frame expectations. But it doesn’t mean I don’t thing they should have opinions or that they are wrong (or that journalism is wrong or right for that matter). It’s just there is a time, place and form.
What takes time is building a professional identity that separates that opinion and journalism in a visible and transparent way. I suppose the web blurs that slightly as we still labour under the distinctions of journalists and bloggers for example. But the truth is journalism works a certain way and if you want to be ‘in journalism’ its worth learning how to bend to that when required.
The issue of citizen journalists also came up. I said that I kind of liked the term because it described what the person was and what they did. They were a citizen, concerned and motivated by what was happening around them and they wanted to tell the world about that. The discussion prompted a question from the floor asking why, if it was so good,  it hadn’t taken over from traditional news sources?
For me that isn’t it’s job. It’s there to amplyfy the concerens and interests of a collection of people; hyperlocal, niche, whatever. In that sense it doesn’t aim to replace the mainstream media, just live in the gaps. And, I might add, there is a nice opportunity for a business model there. Not, as I have said before, for the big guys. But big enough to support the  community it amplifies.
That’s a challenge for mainstream media. Not the threat itself but the fact that it’s happening because of them as they seemingly ignore or having only a passing interest in those communities.
I’m going to stop there because I’ve blogged on all of these areas at length before.

July 20 2010


Listening Post – Citizen journalism – 01 August 08 Part 2

This week, we have put together a special broadcast focusing on what’s possibly one of the most debated news trends and one of the most well-known, citizen journalism. Critics call it journalism on the cheap, unskilled hacks putting out stories that are heavy on opinion and light on fact. According to those championing amateur reporters, it is a way to keep mainstream media honest and in some cases, it’s just about the only way to get a story out.
Video Rating: 4 / 5

June 30 2010


Behind the Citizen Journalism Revolution

Citizen Journalism is still a relatively new medium, with a few key players dominating the playing field. Sites like DigitalJournal.com, NowPublic, OhMyNews and Newsvine are carving a niche in the world of citizen-powered news media.

June 14 2010


Citizen Journalism – What Is It ?

www.MasterNewMedia.org Cambridge Community Television (http has just published a very interesting short video explaining what grassroots, citizen journalism is. The video includes some interesting contributions and examples of what citizen reporting may be all about. Here is a shorter, edited version of the original (15 mins). See the full original version at: blip.tv See more new media video clips and news about independent use of communication technologies at: www.masternewmedia.org
Video Rating: 4 / 5

(July 10, 2009) Len Downie, Vice President at Large, The Washington Post, evaluates the hurdles confronting print journalism’s transition to the web – including mass layoffs and buyouts and falling advertising revenues. He also proposed several innovative models for the industry, including institutional or philanthropic support, micropayment systems and new media formats. Stanford University: www.stanford.edu John S. Knight Fellowships Reunion & Conference knight.stanford.edu Stanford University Channel on YouTube: www.youtube.com
Video Rating: 4 / 5

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