Backpack journalism/mojo

WTOP reporter Neal Augenstein is donating this iPhone and a custom microphone stand he designed to hold it at press conferences.

WTOP ‘mojo’ pioneer donates iPhone to the Newseum

WTOP radio’s mobile-journalism pioneer Neal Augenstein covers D.C.-area news using only his iPhone. Today, Augenstein and WTOP are donating his iPhone 4S to the Newseum, which welcomes it as an artifact of the new era of mobile-empowered reporting.

“I’m delighted the Newseum is recognizing that mobile journalism is taking its place along legacy reporting tools,” Augenstein told me via email. “Being able to record and edit audio and video, take and edit pictures, write Web stories, and do social networking on a single device has revolutionized my job.” Read more

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BBC develops iPhone app for its reporters
BBC’s reporters in the field will soon be able to file video, photos and audio directly to the network’s production system from an iPhone or iPad. Developers are adapting a special app to handle those functions. The BBC also is seeking to license an existing app, Luci Live, to enable reporters to broadcast live from a phone. “It is beginning to be a realistic possibility to use iPhones and other devices for live reporting, and in the end if you’ve got someone on the scene then you want to be able to use them,” Martin Turner, BBC’s head of operations for newsgathering, told || Earlier: 8 must-have iPhone & Android apps for covering breaking news; iPhone 4 offers new tools for journalists Read more


Stelter: In Joplin, ‘my best reporting was on Twitter’

…the Deadline
The New York Times’ Brian Stelter has blogged about his experience covering the tornado destruction in Joplin, Mo. — the first time he’s reported on a natural disaster. Expecting to go to Chicago to interview Oprah Winfrey, he arrived ill-prepared, without boots, maps, or a pen for his notebook. “What I learned: always carry extra pens.” Stelter ended up tweeting much of what he saw; he used Instagram to send photos, which helped him remember scenes for his stories. At his suggestion, the Times linked to his tweets on its home page. “It was, after all, the place where my latest reporting was being posted. … Looking back, I think my best reporting was on Twitter. … People later told me that they thought I was processing what I was seeing in real-time on Twitter. Read more


Twitpic changes reveal conflict as users, journalists, photo sharing services have competing goals

The popular photo-sharing service Twitpic this month took more control over the photos that millions of Twitter users upload to its site each month.

Although it provoked an outcry from people who said Twitpic was infringing on users’ copyright, the changes highlight conflicts between users, professional journalists and online sharing services in a muddled system of online news and information.

“We’re at a stage where this conversation is inevitable,” said David Ardia, director of the Citizen Media Law Project at Harvard University. “We’re no longer puzzling over whether people will produce this work — we know they do and they have been — we’re now at a stage where we’re asking what is the right way for a business built on that type of work to generate revenue and potentially share that revenue with those that produce the work.”

Twitpic changed its terms of service to crack down on media republication of images, even telling users they couldn’t grant a license for reuse of their own Twitpic photos (though the company retreated from that position under criticism). Read more


Ex-newspaper photographer helps amateurs undercut the pros

After taking a buyout from The Baltimore Sun, David Hobby started teaching amateurs cheap, effective lighting techniques. Steven Weiss writes, “Undercutting professionals by arming hordes of well-trained amateurs, just as the media companies have slashed photography budgets across the board, Hobby has helped changed the face of the photography business.” Hobby says there will still be jobs for professional photographers: “You’ll have fewer rock stars, and a much larger middle class.” Read more

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Damon Winter explains process, philosophy behind award-winning Hipstamatic photos

When I heard about the controversy surrounding Damon Winter’s award-winning series of photos that were captured with the Hipstamatic iPhone app, I contacted him to see if he would participate in a live chat on

He told me he couldn’t participate because he’s on assignment in Afghanistan. But he offered to write a statement describing the role of aesthetics in photojournalism, explaining his process in capturing these images, and reacting to the controversy over these images.

We are publishing his complete statement, edited for grammar and clarity. If you want to participate in the live chat Friday at 3 p.m. ET with Kenny Irby and Ben Lowy regarding the use of Hipstamatic in photojournalism, scroll down below the statement.

I have stayed away from much of the online discussion of the use of camera phones and apps in photojournalism largely because I have not wanted to be seen as an advocate for their use and to avoid any appearance of endorsing any particular product or technique, which I absolutely do not. Read more
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Tackable works with San Jose Mercury News on crowdsourced photojournalism app

A private company is working in close collaboration with The San Jose Mercury News to build a smart phone app that could put newspapers at the center of a social network focused on photography.

The app, called Tackable, enables people to share photographs tagged with their location and gives editors a way to solicit photos in connection with news events and assignments.

Spartan Daily Tackable app

An early version of the Tackable app is being tested by the Spartan Daily at San Jose State University.

Tackable’s developers are sharing offices with the Mercury News interactive group as they work on features and figure out how the app would fit into the paper’s workflow.

In return, Tackable is building a modified version of the app for the 20 papers of MediaNews’ Bay Area News Group, which includes the Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune. Read more


Chat replay: What role do image apps like Hipstamatic have in photojournalism?

New York Times photographer Damon Winter’s third place award in the Pictures of the Year International contest has caused some controversy among photojournalists — not because of the images, but because he captured them with the Hipstamatic app on his iPhone.

The company that makes Hipstamatic says it “brings back the look, feel, unpredictable beauty, and fun of plastic toy cameras of the past. … Characterized by vignettes, blurring, over saturation, discolored images, Hipstaprints have a casual and seemingly accidental snapshot feel.”

Some of those effects are evident in Winter’s series of photographs, called “A Grunt’s Life,” which was part of an ongoing Times series.

Hipstamatic is the second-most paid popular photography app on iTunes. But does it belong in a photojournalist’s camera bag? Read more


RJI project tests and rates mobile journalism tools, from apps to hardware

The mobile landscape is changing fast, says Will Sullivan, and journalists need help keeping up.

Figuring out which apps to use can be a challenge, not to mention picking a phone. Aside from deciding between two iPhones (Verizon or AT&T) there are also dozens of Android models across multiple wireless carriers.

This environment demands that editors and managers become more informed and able to respond more quickly to new mobile technologies.

From his time as the interactive director of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sullivan understands the challenges of mobile reporting first-hand. He spent part of last summer visiting other newspapers in the Lee Enterprises chain and training staffers on mobile tools.

While working with those newsrooms, Sullivan said, he could not find a good, one-stop resource for journalists focused on mobile gear and apps. Read more


Lack of concurrent voice, data connections on Verizon an issue for journalists

The iPhone 4 will be available on Verizon Wireless within weeks, but what does that mean for media companies?

With many newsrooms using smart phones to gather news and report live from the field, the iPhone’s availability on Verizon may make it a more attractive choice than in the past. But, a few variables need to be factored into that decision.

In terms of technology, the two phones — on AT&T and Verizon — are almost identical. Verizon uses a different cellular technology, CDMA, which is probably of little note to the average consumer but of importance to journalists (more on that in a bit).

Cost is always an issue, and the phone itself starts at $199 with a two-year contract on either carrier. Individual voice plans are also identical at $70 a month for unlimited calling. Read more

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