Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What are the benefits of mobile journalism?

In line with my goal of getting our reporters and photographers to file their content from the field over the next month, I thought I'd take a few minutes to explain some of the benefits I see coming out of this at the local level for The Record.

First off, I'm not envisioning that we are going to be the ones who report every bit of local news faster than our competition. It'll be great when it happens that way and I certainly encourage our staff to strive for that when possible, but, being realistic, we won't be doing something new in the industry so much as catching up to the numerous other news outlets across our area and the country that have been doing this for years now. They've already developed mobile journalism as part of their normal reporting routines (something I hope to see happen over time locally as well).

That being said, I think it's a great benefit to be able to provide the news as we learn it at the office, whether it's some large breaking event like a shooting or bank robbery, or simpler events like the outcome of a city council vote on local legislation.

Our readers are the ones who determine when and how they want to consume their news and, by offering it as soon as possible, we help ensure the latest information is ready when they want/need it.

Additionally, mobile journalism will help our office become much more efficient in its daily operations. Reporters and photographers who file initial content from the field, and even proceed to polish and update said content from out of the office, will need to spend less time at their desks, if any, once they get back the newsroom. There could be days when they file all of their work from out of the office if that works better for what they are covering.

Regular filing in this manner can help stop photographers and reporters from having to work so many extra hours each week to keep up with their coverage and can also free up time for them to work on other projects, assignments, developing in-depth articles, and much, much more.

It's a first step for changing the newsroom routine locally and I'm excited to see how it will play out.

To start, Wednesday I'll send cops and court reporter Dave Canfield out with my ideaLab netbook as he covers the opening arguments and day-one testimony in a local murder trial.

Thursday evening, the same netbook will be used by Cecelia Martinez to cover a city council meeting.

As always, I'll update with the results of each experiment once I see them myself.

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