Friday, December 10, 2010

Final Presentation

On Wednesday, December 8th, at 12 noon the mobile journalism team showed off our research in an hour long presentation to the students and faculty of the University of Missouri. We discussed our objectives, best practices and the research our group conducted. We also discussed our recommendations for how to best continue on our research in the capstone group that follows and how the university can best incorporate our research into some of the reporting classes next semester. On Monday we will meet with some key players at all of the newsrooms affiliated with the university and give them our recommendations and work with them on a plan for the semesters to come (including our team coming in as journalism consultants next semester!).

Our final paper is nearly completed in which we will detail our entire process and our findings. Here's an excerpt from our RJI Fellow Will Sullivan's foreword to our final paper.
"Welcome to the revolution. It will be mobilized.

The cultural shift that will take place over the next 5 years is going to rattle and recreate the media and Internet as we know it. It'll come in fits and shifts and multiple, quick iterations. It will challenge our perceptions of privacy, speed, collaboration and community.

While the rush to the future is exciting and often overwhelming, most media organizations don’t have the resources or knowledge to test all the different leading-edge mobile hardware, app software and web tools out there, so we were hoping to expedite the mobile evolution and shed some guidance and best practices on what works and what doesn’t."
We were planning on live-streaming our event on UStream, but due to technical difficulties it didn't happen. We did, however, tape the event and I will be figuring out a way to put up some clips on here.

Thank you to everyone for your support!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Testing the best practices guide on reporters

This week we visited the NBC affiliate in Columbia, Mo., KOMU, to test out our best mobile journalism practices guide. The plan was to see if MU broadcast students could return from their stories with an extra interview, photos or video collected on an iPhone 4, 3G or Droid 2. We had four students take the equipment on a test drive, each with prior knowledge of editing on a desk or laptop. We gave them a little spiel about how to use the built in camera to take videos and photos and told them basically how to use our recommended application, 1stVideo, and sent them on their way.

Granted, they had a story to gather and edit before the news aired later that evening, so we couldn't expect them to devote too much time to testing our gear. They returned with a couple photos, a short video and an edited video between three of them. Not too shabby for our first test group. Unfortunately, the edited video ended up on one of the iPhone 4s, and it has since stopped working. Apparently this happens sometimes, and AT&T can replace it, but we haven't gotten a chance to watch the video.

The reporters told us the reason they didn't play around was mostly because of their time constraints. They all said they didn't read our guide, which was apparent when one video was taken vertically. I feel like this is just a product of our generation though. No one wants to read guides, we'd rather just figure it out. They all said the process was time consuming, but that if they knew more about the technology it wouldn't have been difficult to get extras to at least put on the website.

We don't pretend to think mobile tools should be used if a more professional camera and editing programs are available. Breaking news and small addons to stories are your best bets, but if nothing else is available mobile devices are a good option. Print reporters could add more multimedia elements without dragging around heavy equipment most wouldn't know how to use anyway. Teaching a reporter mobile devices isn't difficult, the few we taught seemed to understand the concept and the one that edited said it was easy enough. Our general guidelines gaurd against common mistakes and give helpful tips it might take a while to discover, and simply playing around helps you get the feel of the applications. If we get to perform this again, we'll need to send reporters out with only the task of collecting small reports with solely their smart phone. Then we can really see what they think without distractions.

Anyway, students at the University of Missouri are now required to have either an iPhone or an iPod Touch, so we might as well try to teach them ways to incorporate them into their reporting.