Archive by Author

Live tweeting from the TUC march

29 Mar

I caught up with budding journalist Joe Dyke, who was live tweeting from Central London covering the TUC’s March for the Alternative, as well as the improvised protests staged by UK Uncut.

How was your smart phone helpful on the day?

“I obviously had it to live tweet, but I had Twitter up all the time and was following all the main figures in the movement, such as

The Fortnum and Mason protest at which Joe was present

people from UK Uncut. There were about 5 or 6  of them posting all the time so I could see where they were going. I also knew some contacts so was able to mix it up with ringing them to stay on top of it.”

Any examples of how you used your smart phone?

“I heard about Fortnum on Mason on my phone and I was somewhere north of Regent Street at the time. I was able to use the map function on my phone to work out a quick way of getting there without having to go through the crowds, which cut about 20 minutes off the journey. I ended up getting there about two minutes after the invasion so was able to see some of the really interesting stuff, such as the police getting attacked with paint. I then tweeted about this.” Continue reading

City University’s Newspaper class and mobile journalism

28 Mar

What phones do City University's Newspaper Journalism class have?

We spoke to City University’s Newspaper Journalism class to find out what mobile phones are most popular among tomorrow’s journalists. Unsurprisingly, Blackberry and iPhone were the most popular brands, however there were still a few older, traditional models flying around, most impressively a Nokia 3310. Continue reading

Guardian appoint first mobile editor

22 Mar

The Guardian has announced the appointment of their first dedicated mobile editor, spelling out the significance of mobile journalism for the future of the industry.

Subhajit Banerjee, the Guardian's first mobile editor

The role has been awarded to Subhajit Banerjee, who moved to the paper from the the Daily Telegraph, where he blogged about technology and overseen the launch of their ipad app.

Speaking to yesterday, Janine Gibson the Guardian online editor, said that as well as fine tailoring their mobile output, Banarjee would also be “championing mobile practises”. This revelation should excite mobile journalism junkies. The Guardian has already been one of the forerunners in mobile journalism, consistantly running live blogs and live tweet streams. If Banerjee is to further develop these practises, exciting times lay ahead.

The Times also has a dedicated mobile editor, having been appointed in Brigid Callaghan to the role in 2008.



Five useful apps for your Blackberry

18 Mar

Blackberry smartphones may be the phone of choice for many journalists, largely due to their emailing functionality, but they fail to garner much recognition for the mobile app capabilities. The iphone, on the other hand, is renowned for the ease with which users can download and use applications.

Blackberry models can be more clunky (think the popular Bold and Curve models) and most lack the touch-screen capabilities of the iPhone (barring the less popular, but growing, Torch and Storm models) so many feel the iPhone lends itself to app use more

Blackberry Curve


But the Blackberry App World is a treasure trove, where many of the apps are free.

Here, we look at 5 apps that Blackberry-wielding journalists shouldn’t do without.

(1)    Vlingo

The app is a voice recognition programme that ‘turns your voice into actions’. You can send messages, open applications, search the web and update your Twitter and Facebook status using the app, but its greatest feature doesn’t use voice recognition at all.

Using the programme’s SafeReader software, you can choose to have your emails or text messages read out loud by your Blackberry. As journalists we obviously rely on the Blackberry email service but in certain circumstances reading them is either a nuisance or unsafe. While driving, for example, the function can be particularly useful. Or, if bashing out a word article 1000 in your office due in two hours time, you can still keep an ear to your communications without needing to be distracted by a screen. Continue reading

Questions over how police treat photographers under the Terrorism Act

28 Feb

On the first post on this blog we looked at the issue of police confiscation of mobile video footage. Complaints of this practise have continued to rumble, although recent

One of the pictures that the student was taking, prompting officers to search him.

operations at the student protests have shown a willingness by police to allow people the right to video. This though could be down to the huge media presence keeping an eye on them and the sheer number of people with their mobile devices out, waiting to catch a police officer acting inapropriately.

An equally contentious issue for mobile journalists is the continuing behaviour of certain police forces to use legislation to confiscate equipment from photographs. What is shocking though is that anti-terrorism legislation is used to justify this. Continue reading

A beginners attempt at capturing video footage: Flip camera

5 Dec

What you are about to see will hardly blow you away with its quality or technique, but what it does show you is the ease with which anybody (not just a journalist) can now gather video footage on the move.



To gather my video footage I chose to use a Flip camera; a light-weight camera that is no bigger than a mobile phone. The appeal of the camera is its simplicity: one button to begin capturing footage and to end, and a easy-to-use menu for reviewing captured footage.

The camera records on to an internal hard drive and files can then be uploaded to a computer via the camera’s attached USB stick.

I then used Windows Movie Maker to edit the footage. There can be an issue with file conversion to suit this programme, which my more technologically advanced friend helped me with.  Some useful advice can be found here.

The file conversion was fairly straight forward and once completed I dragged the files into the timeline at the bottom of the programme, using their simplistic editing tools, such as cross-fading and adding an intro (albeit a very plastic one). I then uploaded the video to Flickr.

Obviously the quality isn’t amazing, nor my shoddy camera work, but what the Flip offers you is the chance to capture video footage quickly and with ease. Coupled with the simplicity of Windows Movie Maker, the process is (dare I say it) fool proof.

Give it go. I don’t think mine looks too bad for a second attempt.

Some further tips on using Flip cameras can be found here.

No quiet riot as mobiles help showcase protest to the world

12 Nov

Yesterday’s student demonstration in London made clear precisely how pivotal mobile technology now is for modern journalism.

In days gone by we would have heard real-time information about the protest and the ensuing rioting via the radio. Whatever the presenter told us was exactly what we would have believed. For a visual handle you’d have to wait until the evening news, whereby you’d see some footage and hear a reporter explaining the event based either on what they had witnessed, or the sources they chose to speak to. Essentially the coverage of an event involving hoards of people over a vast space would have been conveyed via very limited pairs of eyes and ears.

Images were uploaded onto Flickr by mobile journalists such as Sarah Noorbakhsh

Nowadays this form of reporting has taken a kick to the teeth. We, as the absorbing public, demand speed, efficiency, accuracy and engagement as prerequisites. Yesterday we were able to watch a new breed of reporting in perfect motion, as eyewitnesses posted minute-by-minute information on Twitter, and photographers uploaded via Flickr. Sky News’ Kay Burley, who made several slapdash reporting bloopers, could have learned a thing or two from the would-be journalists on the streets. Continue reading

WordPress announce Nokia compatibility as they pass 1m mobile users

12 Nov

Nothing irks journalism traditionalists more than the incarnation of the blog and the bloggers behind them.

Andrew Marr publicly described bloggers as “socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed young men sitting in their mother’s basements and ranting”.

Andrew Marr: Apparently not a fan of bloggers

But today a statement from leading blog-host WordPress quashed Marr’s visualisation of bloggers as basement dwelling losers, announcing that they now accommodate over one million mobile users: that’s people on the move, not underground, Andrew. The announcement came as WordPress confirmed that Nokia phones will now be able to avail of their mobile services, joining the likes of Blackberry, Android and Apple’s iPhone. Continue reading

Journalism nightmare: Mobile broadband ‘not-spots’

5 Nov

You’ve travelled to an estranged and forgotten part of the world at your editor’s bequest. You interview several enraged locals who, in typical small town manner, know absolutely everything about the story. Dashing to the nearest coffee-selling establishment, you fire up your laptop to bash out 800 words. As you pound the keys in pursuit of deadline you can nearly feel the editor’s warm cigarette-stained breath on the back of your neck. Nearing caffeine overdose and with a patchwork story on you’re hands you hurriedly try to log on to your email account. Then comes the fail: No Network Connection.

As a working journalist in London this scenario isn’t all that common: the area has 100% mobile Internet coverage. Be it using your smart phone, or plugging a dongle into your laptop, ever-present wireless access is now an expected necessity. ‘Not-spots’ are unacceptable, unless, of course, you’re using the tube.

But life outside of London is often anti-parallel for journalists, as an Ofcom report into UK mobile broadband coverage today reveals. The report shows that 87% of the population is served with 3G coverage, whilst there is only 76% coverage geographically. The figures are remarkably lower for the UK’s smaller states, with N. Ireland served by 40% population and geographical coverage.

Continue reading

Should mobile phone videos of police be illegal?

31 Oct

Mobile phones have changed the way we communicate, but they’ve also changed the way we document.

It’s more difficult to find a phone without a video camera these days. A photo or video is never more than a few buttons away, which has made the world and all its intricacies a much more visible being. Soaring ballads at gigs are no longer welcomed with a sea of lighters, but a mass of battery-lit screens recording material to later share on the web. Eagle-eyed grammar junkies who prey on public notice typos need only wait minutes before spotting a comedic mistake and sharing the idiocy with the world. To many people this practice is seen as a social disease. But to journalists the advent of mobile video and photography has been monumental, because now nearly everybody can be a reporter.

Ian Tomlinson before being pushed by a policeman

Just think of the number of mobile phone videos that now take comfortable residence in the primetime news programmes, or the increasing number of stills taken from mobile phones that end up in our newspapers and magazines. There is often no need for a media organisation to call on their stringer, or to send out a reporter, as the Internet often provides the story for them. But more important  is the fact that mobile recording has meant a change in the type of stories we cover, and offers a fresh perspective to those consuming the story. Continue reading