2020-04-05 04:01 KST  
Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?
Good 'Mojo' for Mobile Journos
Citizen journalism is going mainstream with the help of cheap, powerful technology
Stephen Quinn (squinn)     Print Article 
Published 2008-07-28 19:39 (KST)   
Reporters who carry nothing but a mobile phone -- known as mojos or mobile journalists -- are operating in Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe, as well as in the United States and even Africa.

In Norway, Frank Barth-Nilsen trains mojos for NRK, the national broadcaster. "A lot of other broadcasters and newspapers are interested in our findings," he said. Barth-Nilsen said NRK's various departments planned to use mojo content for mainstream platforms like television.

OMNI's New Approach to Citizen Journalism
[Opinion] Democracy's Downfall
Technology Can Save Money, Planet
[Opinion] Iran Defends Peaceful 'Right'
Couchsurfing in Gaza
[Opinion] 'Donating' Sperm Is 'Dark,' 'Shady'
eLearning Maturity Emerges From Middle Management
[Opinion] Twitter Is Politics In Venezuela
Internet Eldorado
The Story of China셲 First Email Link and How it Got Corrected
"We're building a toolkit for our journalists, focusing on speed and usability. We're also looking into how the new technology will change today's way of storytelling." He has established a blog for sharing ideas, called Mojo Evolution.

In London, the Reuters news agency equipped its journalists with a mobile journalism toolkit about a year ago. Ilicco Elia, product manager of mobile and emerging media at Reuters, said this was the start of a future form of journalism and a new way to tell stories. Darren Waters, technology editor of the BBC, has been filing mojo reports from various parts of Europe since late last year.

"Mobile phones allow journalists to change their heavy camera equipment to a smaller device," Elia said. Reuters' journalists tested the mobile toolkit at the New York fashion week last year and on the US presidential campaign trail. The company plans to give the mobile devices to citizen journalists.

Over the next few years, Nokia will produce mobile phones capable of taking images of the same quality as HD cameras, said Elia. "This will open huge possibilities for journalists." The Reuters toolkit includes the Nokia N95/N82, a Bluetooth keyboard, a digital microphone and a phone-adapted tripod.

Ruud Elmendorp, a Dutch mojo, operates out of Kenya in Africa. By mid-July his Web site offered 133 news video reports from 22 countries in Africa. Reporters at Inquirer.net, the online site of the Philippine Daily Inquirer in Manila, have been filing stories remotely via their Nokia mobiles for more than a year. Reporters at the German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle plan to introduce the mojo concept later this year.

Robert Scoble, based in California, has been broadcasting live video from his cell phone using a service provided by Qik since last year. "I'm the top [Qik] user," he wrote on his blog Scobleizer, noting he had produced more than 700 videos as of mid-July.

"Qik has put a TV studio in my pocket. I can get live video onto the Internet faster than I can make a phone call," he said. Audiences send text messages to his phone while he is filming. Scoble described this process as a kind of interactivity that the world had never seen before.

He has an unlimited data package for his mobile phones. Around the Western world, citizen journalists are using their mobile phones on fast 3G networks to surf the Internet and transmit video and images. 3G phone users are charged not for time but for the data transmitted or received. What Scoble and citizen journalists do can only happen in countries that offer unlimited data transfer at monthly rates.

The potential for mobile journalism remains limited in some developed nations because of the high cost of data charges. None of Australia's mobile companies offers an "all-you-can-eat" unlimited data package. People are reluctant to surf the Net with their phone because they fear high costs.

Oscar Westlund, a Ph.D. student at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, researches mobile media adoption in Sweden. Most Swedes own a mobile phone with Internet access but few surf the Web. He said nine in 10 Swedes make mobile phone calls each week but only 6 percent accessed news on the Web via their mobile. "One of the reasons Swedes don't use mobile news is that the price for Internet access on mobiles is high."

In the US, the fee for unlimited data is about $70 a month. It is about the same in Europe and the UK, and cheaper in Africa. Australians pay about $67 a month for 250 megabytes of data a month, or about 8 MB a day.

Web pages eat about 1 MB of data and a five-minute YouTube clip can gobble up about 3 MB. So a combination of Web video and surfing several times a day easily takes Australians over the 8 MB limit. Once individuals exceed the monthly limit, they pay 12 to 35 Australian cents for each extra megabit, depending on their plan. Costs easily escalate.

The growth of the mobile Web has occurred around the world because of rising numbers of user-friendly handsets like the iPhone, high-speed networks and unlimited data packages. Studies have shown that people choose a smartphone because they want mobile Internet. Analysts Nielsen Mobile reported this month that almost 40 million Americans (about 16 percent of mobile users) browsed the Internet while on the move, almost double the number in 2006. The U.K. and Italy came a close second and third in the Nielsen study of smartphone use.

A quarter of 18 to 25 year olds in the U.K. use their mobile to check social networking sites such as Facebook. Two in five U.K. mobile owners surf the Internet on their handsets, mainly via unlimited data plans.

For one in five mobile phone users in Japan, their handset has replaced the PC as the way they go online. Upward of a third of university students access the Internet via their mobile.

Nielsen found that four in five iPhone owners accessed the mobile Internet.

Not only is the iPhone the most popular phone for browsing the Internet, it is also the preferred phone for uploading pictures. Flickr, the world's largest gallery of online pictures, measures the number of pictures uploaded by each type of phone.

Over the past year, the iPhone has steadily pulled ahead of multimedia Nokia and Sony Ericsson phones, despite the fact the iPhone represents a mere 2 percent of smartphones worldwide, according to analysts IDC. Phones powered by the Symbian operating system such as Nokia and Sony Ericsson make up 63 percent of the worldwide smartphone market.
Stephen Quinn maintains a blog about mobile journalism at http://globalmojo.org/.
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Stephen Quinn

Add to :  Add to Del.icio.usDel.icio.us |  Add to Digg this Digg  |  Add to reddit reddit |  Add to Y! MyWeb Y! MyWeb

Ronda Hauben
Netizens Question Cause of Cheonan Tragedy
Michael Werbowski
[Opinion] Democracy's Downfall
Michael Solis
Arizona's Immigration Bill and Korea
Yehonathan Tommer
Assassination in Dubai
[ESL/EFL Podcast] Saying No
Seventeenth in a series of English language lessons from Jennifer Lebedev...
  [ESL/EFL] Talking About Change
  [ESL/ EFL Podcast] Personal Finances
  [ESL/EFL] Buying and Selling
How worried are you about the H1N1 influenza virus?
  Very worried
  Somewhat worried
  Not yet
  Not at all
    * Vote to see the result.   
  copyright 1999 - 2020 ohmynews all rights reserved. internews@ohmynews.com Tel:+82-2-733-5505,5595(ext.125) Fax:+82-2-733-5011,5077