Mobile journalism: 5 must-have skills for mobile journalists

More journalists are starting to use their phones as the holy grail of production tools. Many newsrooms are handing out smartphones to reporters to help them fuel conversation and ease the transition to the not-so-new “digital first” journalism. Granted, these reporters need to be well equipped, but what skills should they have to tell stories efficiently?

After curating news stories about mobile journalism, I decided to put together a quick guide to help outline what I believe are the five paramount skills any mobile reporter should have.

1. Liveblogging

Whether reporters are tweeting events unfolding before them or using a platform like ScribbleLive to cover events, they should we aware of some of the best liveblogging practices. As noted by Mu Lin, a web journalist, tweets or posts should adhere to a journalistic style. The important thing to remember is that clarity is the first priority when liveblogging.

How to Teach Live-Tweeting to Journalism Students

How to Teach Live-Tweeting to Journalism StudentsFebruary 21, 2013 · · How to Teach Live-Tweeting to Journalism Students Like it? 4 comments 0 Posted February 4, 2013 Keywords: Journalism, Twitter Guidelines for effective print news writing and web writing have been well-covered; however, guidelines for journalistic Twitter writing have not been well established. I developed some writing guidelines for a live-tweeting assignment in my digital journalism class, and these guidelines are everything that is taught in traditional journalism classes.News tweeting needs to follow a journalistic writing styleWhen a reporter is assigned...

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2. Photo composition

Most people know taking a good photo takes more than good lighting. Furthermore, taking photos with cellphones isn't always the easiest task when using applications native to the devices. The iPhone's camera app, for example, lacks locking features that can make it difficult to maintain a proper white balance. This is why it's important to invest in good apps. However, shooting images with your phone can yield incredible results.

Simple Tips That Will Make Your iPhone Photos 100 Times Better

Simple Tips That Will Make Your iPhone Photos 100 Times BetterJuly 20, 2012 · Business Insider · Daniel Goodman | Jul. 20, 2012, 12:54 PM | 115,032 | 2 Daniel Goodman / Business Insider These days, if you own a mobile phone (and 75% of the WORLD does) there is a decent chance you have the capacity to be a photographer. BUT you might not be a very good one and putting on an Instagram filter isn't the only way to try and make your pictures better. While plenty of apps abound and we do love Instagram,...

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3. Video editing

Shooting video on a mobile device, not unlike taking photos, can be a tad difficult if poorly equipped. Sure, no one really needs lenses for their iPhones or microphones, but I do recommend investing a little bit of money into a phone mount or tripod. Charles Hodgson put together a fairly comprehensive guide to shooting video on an iPhone using equipement like the OWLE Bubo kit.

How journalists can develop mobile video skills

April 23, 2013 · · by Joe Grimm Published Apr. 23, 2013 8:40 am Updated Apr. 23, 2013 4:16 pm There’s a good chance you already have the equipment you need to add video to your reporting skill set. In an increasingly visual and mobile news environment, that can be a job saver. During a live chat, experienced multimedia journalist and real-time mobile video trainer Val Hoeppner talked about the phones, software and experience you need to develop mobile video skills. She talked about how...

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4. Efficient sharing

The goal of mobile journalism is to conveniently share stories with a large audience almost instantly. To do this, reporters must know which app or platform to use in order share their content. For instance, as Lin wrote in a blog post, the time it takes to upload a short video to YouTube and Vimeo can differ. It's also important to be aware of what certain social networks are good for. Realistically, sharing videos on Twitter may not be as efficient as loading it to YouTube and sharing the link. Always keep in mind the platform's pacing and what it's really good at.

Mobile news reporting requires more than smartphone and tools

Mobile news reporting requires more than smartphone and toolsAugust 5, 2012 · · Posted on August 5, 2012 by mulinblog Effective mobile news reporting requires some essential journalism training – knowing how to use cookware does not make you a good cook; similarly, knowing how to use the mobile tools does not necessarily make you a good mobile reporter. This is an observation from my experiment producing an audio photo slideshow entirely on my iPhone, without any use of a computer. The finished slideshow is a 1’25” video for a street performance in...

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5. Knowing your phone's shortcuts

Finally, I think knowing your phone is quite possibly one of the most important things a reporter needs. Spend time with your gear and get to know how it works — this way, you won't have to fiddle around with your phone and miss out on events. Also remember that improvements to accessibility are made with most software upgrades. This means you should spend time on tech blogs learning about these changes and how they could potentially help you or impede on your work.

40 Secret iPhone Features and Shortcuts

40 Secret iPhone Features and ShortcutsMay 26, 2013 · · Kevin Whipps on January 26th 2012 ios, iOS 5, iphone, secret There are lots of things that you can do with your iPhone, sure, but we’re willing to be that there are a few more that you either don’t know about or haven’t used before, particularly with all of the additions in iOS 5. Did you know you can put in typing shortcuts similar to Text Expander? Or that you can make custom vibrations for each person? If you didn’t...

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  1. “40 Secret iPhone Features and Shortcuts” · Kevin Whipps · May 27, 2013 ·
  2. “Simple Tips That Will Make Your iPhone Photos 100 Times Better” · Daniel Goodman · July 20, 2012 · Business Insider
  3. “Mobile news reporting requires more than smartphone and tools” · mulinblog · Aug. 5, 2012 ·
  4. “How journalists can develop mobile video skills” · Joe Grimm · April 24, 2013 ·
  5. “Mobile Journalism - Lens and Zoom Combos - What's in Shot” · viewnews · March 16, 2013 · YouTube
  6. “How to Teach Live-Tweeting to Journalism Students” · Feb. 21, 2013 ·