Mobile Journalism Changes Reporting and Reading Experience

Mobile web devices are revolutionizing journalism in two ways: the tools journalists use to report the news and the tools the public uses to get the news.

With the huge advance in technology in the past 10 years, things that were once difficult, costly and time consuming can now be done in a matter of seconds. You can interview someone face-to-face halfway across the world with video chat tools. You can upload video of an event from your phone moments after violence breaks out or a storm hits. You can sit at a speech or rally or fundraiser and report with text and pictures directly from your smartphone.

Instead of spending an hour over a cup of coffee to read the Sunday paper (my father still does this and I admit it’s extremely relaxing on a lazy Sunday to read the paper together), more and more news consumers access the news directly from their phone. You can sign up for AP Alerts to be sent directly to it and be the first to know when something big happens. You can use an app to browse the top stories and save interesting ones to read for later. You can watch videos of exotic animals running through the streets and revolutions unfolding hundreds of thousands of miles away – on a device that fits in the palm of your hand.

The dual nature of the impact technology is having make going into this business right now even more exciting. There are opportunities to come up with a better, faster, more interactive and intuitive way for consumers to receive the information they want and need. There are new technologies and tools to master practically daily for reporters – which, admittedly, means a lot more work, but also more fun.

There’s some things that won’t and can’t be changed by the new technological advances. Journalism is still about storytelling. You can’t create an app to ask the tough questions and the right questions, to negotiate the complexities of human interactions and motivations, to make your subject comfortable with letting them into their most private, painful, intimate moments. No app can do your background research for you – Google certainly makes it easier, but they haven’t hardwired that information directly into the brain yet (I don’t think so, anyway).

The tools that can be used to convey the story are constantly changing and will require an endless updating and recalibrating for the foreseeable future. Understanding how to tell a story and find that story is a long-term skill that technology can enhance but not usurp.

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