Reuters has been experimenting with mobile journalism, testing out a way for reporters to file stories from the field using videophones. The news service has given reporters a Mobile Journalism Toolkit, including a Nokia N95, a fold-up keyboard and directional microphones. The idea is that reporters could do video, photo, audio and text reports without having to use a laptop. This effort mirrors an initiative by Ganett to outfit “mojos” with gear to report in multiple media from the field.
But if you peruse Reuters’ special website to see the early reports from Reuters mojos, they are uneven, with blurry photos and choppy videos with poor sound quality. Does this mean that Reuters reporters need more time to work out the kinks, or that we as online news readers will accept poorer quality if it comes from an important breaking news event? The problem is that the events they cover — Fashion Week and the U.S. presidential campaign trail — are not hard news and we expect soft features to have a better production quality.
What do you think about Reuters’ mobile efforts? Do you think this is the wave of the future, with journalists reporting using handheld devices more than laptops? Could news organizations outfit their pro journalists as well as top amateurs to report neighborhood-level hyper-local news online? Share your thoughts in the comments below.