Wednesday, September 22, 2010

30 day update: “Having reporters and photographers go mobile”

When we first set our ideaLab goals, I wanted to tackle having all of our reporters (news and sports) file their content from the field. My goal in this, besides just getting everyone familiar with the technology, was to help everyone realize that adjusting their work flow in this way could actually save them a fair amount of time and be more productive in their day-to-day schedules.

With our new reporters, this was a slow process due to the limited number of devices we have. I loaned out the netbook and iPad to reporters who were covering various court cases, town meetings, press conferences, and election parties – anything where they were out of the office and could take advantage of filing from the field while working on most of their articles remotely.

All of them have done this at least once now and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. They loved being able to use the netbook to take notes and write their articles as they went, rather than having to transcribe and try to read their own messy handwriting. They also like the immediacy of the process and how that especially helpful when reporting on deadline.

Sports reporters have been doing this for a while now and understand the benefits, as they spend most of every week out of the office covering their games, practices, and other events. Sometimes, such as when they're at high school games, they do not have traditional WI-FI to take advantage of or a real press box, so I'm lending them my ideaLab tools to help conquer that challenge.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

What is a digital-first newsroom?

Many have that question today, across the news industry as well as at Journal Register Company.

I don't have the exact answer myself, but as I've watched our progress in recent weeks, I can safely say that I am witnessing its creation.

Thanks to the addition of high tech tools in the newsroom, we at The Record have made the digital side of news more a part of our everyday routines, as opposed to the former thinking that it was just extra work on top of print preparation.

Take this morning for example. We had an editorial board meeting scheduled with Steve McLaughlin, a Republican candidate for state Assembly, at 10 a.m. In addition to the usual group of bodies (editors, a reporter, photographer, and myself to handle social media/web updates), we were recording video from two different setups.

We had our traditional Sony HD camera on a tripod with a microphone on the table close to the candidate to record the meeting so that we could edit down and upload a video later in the day. But, for the first time locally, we also gave live-streaming a try using my ideaLab iPhone.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

How mobile journalism is progressing

Update: Thoughts on the experience added from reporters Dave Canfield and Cecelia Martinez below.

Time for an update on how the first of the mobile journalism experiments went this week.

On Wednesday, cops and courts reporter Dave Canfield took the netbook over to Rensselaer County Court in order to transmit his articles from out of the office. He sent back an article on a robbery, as well as one on opening arguments in the murder trial.

However, the court doesn't allow use of computers, cell phones, or cameras in the courtroom without permission from the judge. When the court broke for lunch, Canfield opted to go to walk to his nearby apartment rather than use the netbook to file the stories, which was fine because there wasn't really a delay in his getting information back to the office.

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Blogging from my iPhone

Writing this quick update from the Wordpress app on the new iPhone 4 from JRC, which I am now fully addicted to.

Here's a quick photo of the morning sun hitting the back of our building this morning around 7:30 a.m. I like the camera quality and already have a few apps for camera affects.

I plan to post more later today on updates for how the first few mobile journalism experiments worked out.