In 2007 the world changed forever. The way that people communicated, listened to music, received information, created and shared content was revolutionized by the release of the iPhone. Smartphones today can do pretty amazing things. The cameras are so good that in some cases they can even replace fancy, hundred-dollar studio equipment. This is how Mobile Journalism began, Mojo for short. Mojo allows anyone with a smartphone to become a journalist, reporter, and vlogger. It is a digital form of storytelling where stories are filmed and edited on a smartphone. Many mobile journalists use other equipment to enhance their video and audio such as tripods to stabilize video and a microphone that can be plugged back into the audio jack on the phone, but the smartphone I still the heart of the operation.
So why go Mojo? Well, there are a lot of benefits to using smartphones to capture and tell stories. First off, it is extremely cost efficient. In today’s day and age just about everyone has a smartphone, so there is no need to buy an expensive camera. The only other equipment needed (which is optional) is a camera stand, microphone, and extra light, all which can be found for under a hundred dollars. Second, Mojo is super easy to travel with and transport. Since its just on your smartphone you’ll most likely be taking that wherever you go anyway. Whether you’re chasing a story or just happen to be out and stumble upon something that would be great to record, you are ready for action. For planned travel for stories, most equipment can easily fit in a backpack and is lightweight. Ideal for walking or air travel.
A lot of times Mojo can be more discreet and mobile, which is key as a good journalist. Filming events such as protests, private or personal situations, or even events when bulky cameras aren’t permitted can draw unwanted attention and compromise a story. So many people film on their phones every day that no one will even give you a second look while capturing a story. Interviewees may also get intimidated by high-tech camera and sound equipment. Being filmed on an iPhone is more inviting and casual, making for a better interview. The mobility of smartphones allows for video where big film equipment may not fit, like in the depths of a cave, in a thick jungle or other small, cramped areas.
Marc Settle, former BBC Journalist and current trainer at the BBC College of Journalism, offers some advice on how to be a successful mobile journalist, he writes, “an external battery is a must, and maybe a mobile hotspot, too.” While Mojo has a lot of benefits there are still some things journalists must be aware of. Connectivity is vital. Without WIFI or some sort of internet connection live broadcasts cannot work. Phone battery life is also a matter to consider. While the iPhone batteries are improving with every model, there is still possibilities of a phone dying during an interview or while filming. Mojo is a great tool for anyone who wants to be a journalist. If works for amateurs who work independently and cannot afford lots of equipment or professionals who want the benefits of a small, mobile, and discreet way of filming.
If you want to learn more about Mobile Journalism check out this video: