Mobile Reporting: Which Tools Work Best?

9 October 2013 by Matt Shipman, posted in Uncategorized

Image: The Land (Chris Keating)

Mobile reporting is a catch-all term referring to reporting that uses mobile devices, such as smartphones, to create multimedia news stories that incorporate photos, video and/or audio components. And public information officers are also getting in on the act, to create multimedia packages to pitch to reporters. The idea is to turn your smartphone into a mobile studio. But what tools can make that studio most effective?

In 2012, the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism rolled out its “Mobile Reporting Field Guide,” essentially a Consumer Reports-style review of mobile reporting apps and accessories designed to address “how well these devices, apps and third-party accessories work in the creation of multimedia.”

The content ranges from video apps (they recommend FiLMiC Pro) to phone chargers (they recommend the Incase Combo Charger). And, if you’re interested in exploring mobile reporting, it would be a good place to look for ideas on what you may want to get started.

Given the rapidly changing suite of apps and gear related to audio/video reporting, you may also want to keep an eye out for a revised version of the guide. Richard Koci Hernandez, a UC Berkeley prof who was part of the field guide team, says they hope to update the field guide this year.

However, don’t be afraid to explore apps that aren’t featured in the field guide.

For example, I asked longtime NPR reporter Dave DeWitt which mobile tools he relies on for his reporting. His response: “Monle and ireport. Monle is a multitrack sound editing app for iPhone. And ireport is a really cool app/hardware package that allows radio reporters to sound like they are in the studio when they are out in the field. NPR uses it a lot in their international reporting. Both of these allow me to use my iPhone as a way to file quick reports or do 2-ways with hosts in the field during breaking news situations.”

It’s worth noting that neither Monle nor ireport got a review in the Berkeley field guide.

For those of you with mobile reporting experience, I’d like to know what apps and gear you rely on when you’re in the field. Please let us know which tools are great (and which tools to avoid) in the comments.


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