This is how early it is in the life cycle of mobile newsgathering: A post on Lifehacker yesterday afternoon focused simply on how to get photos from your camera to your iPhone or iPad.
Adam Dachis describes two different methods (it’s worth reading the item in full). In brief, he writes that all you need is an Eye-Fi SD card, which turns your camera into a Wi-Fi transmitter, and a new mobile app called ShutterSnitch, which communicates with the Eye-Fi card. With that system, you take a photo and within a few seconds it is transmitted to your phone or tablet over a shared Wi-Fi network.
This is good news for consumers and some journalists in the field who are looking for an easy way to transmit photos from their iPhones without having to rely strictly on the built-in camera. But it highlights some significant gaps that remain in the professional, mobile journalism toolkit.
Granted, a photojournalist can download the images from his camera to his laptop for viewing and editing. Then, if desired, he could sync the photos over to his mobile device for transmission (or send them directly using an aircard). And that process works if you have the requisite cables, not to mention the laptop, associated power supplies, and 10 minutes to waste.
But for journalists on the go, the smart phone is becoming the tool of choice, not the laptop. And the tablet may not be too far behind. Although Lifehacker’s “hack” is pretty good, what would a mobile “killer app” and workflow for photojournalism look like?
- An SD or CompactFlash card with Wi-Fi transmitter (The Eye-Fi card is SD-only.)
- A tablet or smart phone app to wirelessly receive, edit and transmit images (via FTP and photo-sharing sites), as well as save standard image metadata
- Priced under $20. OK, maybe $50.
All of those tools are available right now in various forms for both the iPhone and Android platforms, but it requires a fair amount of research and testing to find a combination that works. The first developer to put those features all together in one package will likely earn the undying gratitude of mojos everywhere.