Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Pocket journalism

[Keyword: , , , ]. Normally in internet journalism, the world looks to the US to see how the medium is likely to take shape, but Clyde Bentley's piece about mobile phone journalism (cellphones to the Americans) on the Online Journalism Review shows one area where European news operations could pioneer:

"We are still installing a 3G network in the United States and it will be some time until it is ubiquitous. Japan and Korea are so far ahead they are looking at 4G and the European cell system upgraded to that level some time ago.

"People here can buy 3G telephones at any of the Orange, Carphone Warehouse, O2 or T-mobile shops that occupy every other doorway on High Street. As you watch the world go by from the second deck of a bus, the people around you check their e-mail or text messages, share photos, find a map to a restaurant or listen to music."

So why hasn't it happened already? In a way, it has, as the public have taken advantage of the multimedia devices in their pockets to film, photograph and text news events. September 11 was the first major news event where those involved were able to use mobile phones to call while it happened; July 7 and Buncefield introduced mobile phone images and video; while the hanging of Saddam Hussein has already thrown up footage apparently filmed by mobile phone. Sadly, news operations have been slow to do the same - really, every journalist should be given a cutting edge mobile phone as part of the job, but how likely is it that that is going to happen?

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Paul Bradshaw lectures on the Journalism degree at UCE Birmingham media department. He writes a number of blogs including the Online Journalism Blog, Interactive PR and Web and New Media

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