Covering the news with your mobile device

Mobile video technology provides journalists (and citizen journalists) with opportunities to capture and share video quickly. With the help of apps, these videos can also be edited from the field.

Missouri School of Journalism professors Steve Rice and Judd Slivka, along with their students, have been experimenting and testing various mobile platforms and apps in their classes and have learned about the benefits and limitations of mobile and multimedia technologies.

“As a journalist, the smartphone and apps allow you to always be ready to record, edit and transmit a news situation. Training is the key to doing it quickly and professionally,” says Rice who shared insights from what they were learning with a crowd at the Mobile First conference held at the Reynolds Journalism Institute. According to the professors, one of the newest trends in mobile video journalism is shooting and editing video using only mobile devices. To demonstrate, they put together a three-minute news report that was shot on an iPhone 5 and edited on an iPad 3.

The visuals in the demonstration video were sharp because of picture-perfect weather conditions, says Rice. One weakness of mobile devices, he says, is poor picture quality in low-light and very bright situations.

Cost consideration

Extra equipment can be added to the mobile platforms to improve the quality of videos, audio or photos, says Rice. The catch? The attachments add weight and additional costs to the user’s small lightweight device.

  Nonetheless, even with add-on features, mobile video tools are less expensive than traditional DSLR cameras and professional video cameras, says Rice.

There’s an app for that

The proliferation of photo and video apps – more than 300 – now allow journalists to produce and edit visual news stories in the field, says Slivka.

  “They all do one thing very well and not a lot of things really well or well at all,” says Slivka.

Students experienced some software crashes as they experimented with various apps and platforms, says Rice.

Slivka and Rice told Mobile First attendees that today’s technology wouldn’t completely replace traditional equipment. For now, at least, mobile video is simply an additional resource in a journalist’s storytelling toolbox.

New RJI resource

RJI has debuted a new resource for mobile-video journalists: MobileVideoDIY.

“MobileVideoDIY will be a one-stop shop,” says Mike Wheeler of Westerly Partners, LLC, who is working with RJI on the project. “We are developing a platform of solutions so anyone with a mobile-connected device can learn and get coaching on the basics of how to shoot, edit, share and monetize their mobile video,” he says. Its website includes product descriptions, and best practices.

For more information, contact Steve Rice at 573-882-7222 or

Contact Judd Slivka at 573-882-1770 or Training videos, which provide insights from videographers in the field, and an online store will also soon be available on the MobileVideoDIY site.


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