Mobile journalism: a snapshot of current research and practice

David Cameron (Charles Sturt University, Australia)

Future journalistic practice is likely to be defined not just by the media forms in which news output is published, but also by the technological means by which it is produced. The last decade saw the take-up of terms such as ‘backpack journalism’ to describe how a journalist equipped with a laptop computer, digital camera and satellite uplink could report from almost anywhere in the world. The rapid convergence of handheld and wireless computing, digital photography and mobile telephony has recently seen attention turn to the newsgathering potential of even more compact – even pocket-sized – digital field reporting kits, and a practice increasingly dubbed ‘mobile journalism’ (‘MoJo’). This paper provides a snapshot of the current research and practice emerging from this latest newsgathering and media production approach. It outlines the potential for mobile journalism to free reporters from the technological tethers of the newsroom, while allowing eyewitness and citizen-generated content to flow more freely into the news production process. It also considers how journalism educators are reacting to the emergence of mobile journalism, and the means by which it might be integrated into the curriculum.

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