Thoughts on cell phone journalism

Clyde Bentley has invited me to his Solving Practical Problems class today. The goal of the class, as the name would suggest, is to tackle a current problem in journalism and solve it through research. This semester’s class is looking at the role of cell phones in journalism. I’m to participate in a focus group/discussion, so the students can see how it works.

Given Clyde’s record as a new media mind, I’m assuming the goal is to be a bit more than just “I use them to get calls from sources.” Although Clyde assures me that no preparation is necessary, just speculation, I’d like to be prepared for what might hit me.

Obviously, phones are a two-way method of communication, so they can both be used to push news to readers and get news from them. Smart phones and Twitter can help with coverage, as we saw in Mumbai and the Hudson plane crash. And The Guardian is among British newspapers that uses cell phone photos in print, as well as on its site.

But most of the population is still using some form of a phone that mostly just texts and makes calls. So the question is, to reach a mass audience, how can we creatively use that technology for news?


1 Comment

Filed under New media, Twitter

One response to “Thoughts on cell phone journalism

  1. Part of the equation for me is training journalists interested in programming to create apps for these phones that can deliver news in new and interesting ways.

    The more interesting bells and whistles these smart phones have, the more it’ll push them into the mainstream. Which in turn can drive audience to us via these apps.

    A good example is some of the Twitter apps. I know of two people who finally went iPhone because it had an app they loved that would make Twittering easier/more fun. They were leaning anyhow, but this shifted them.

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