Posts Tagged ‘Mobile’
Kristofor Lawson is a young, Melbourne-based freelance journalist who is trying to change the way people think about media.
During 2010, Kristofor has been researching ways to try and re-invent the journalism industry using current technology. He is vocal about the need for media companies to evolve through the use of innovation and is interested in ensuring that journalism has a stable and profitable future. Previously, he has been published as a journalist, worked as a web master, and even been trained as an animator.
Many have called it the saviour of journalism. It’s creator, Steve Jobs, has often called it “magical“. Rupert Murdoch just called it a “game-changer“. But even with all these positive reviews, the iPad is not the future of news media.
Don’t get the wrong idea, the world’s media has come a very long way in a short space of time. Just 12 months ago it was hard to see a future for traditional media companies who were struggling to make any substantial money. Many companies folded, others were on the edge of an inevitable collapse, and it appeared like there was no way for the world’s media to recover. Innovation was lacklustre at best. Companies were far too interested in trying to revive their print offerings then to worry about where the market might head in a few years time. Public broadcasters, like the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, were the only news organisations unphased by the global news market. In fact they were eagerly waiting like vultures for the others to fall so that they could easily use their position to dominate the dwindling marketplace.
Come August, 2010, and a lot has changed. Apple’s announcement of the iPad in January this year almost instantly sparked a wave of new innovation in media companies. Wired, Sports Illustrated, and Time Magazine, lead the charge with new interactive digital versions of their print publications. News Corporation made successful iPad versions of many popular mastheads including The Wall Street Journal, The Times, and The Australian. Other popular papers such as The New York Times have seen their free iPad application downloaded over 400,000 times. There has been a lot to celebrate in 2010 for traditional media companies.
Murdoch’s iPad publications have seen so much success that recent reports even indicate that he is planning on producing an iPad and mobile phone specific publication. The publication would focus on providing short, snappy, news content to portable devices for a regular monthly fee. There is no doubt that News Corporation now sees the iPad as a potential saviour for journalism. Murdoch is clearly placing a lot of faith into the iPad to provide much needed revenue. Such a move towards a platform specific publication is a smart, albeit misguided, move.
However not everyone is so optimistic. Leading technology blog, Techcrunch, have said that such a publication will never make any serious money, and that Murdoch is a “crazy old lunatic“. While it is easy to agree with that statement, if these rumours are true, the move to an iPad centric publication is uncharacteristically forward thinking for News Corporation. It is hard to remember the last time they really made the first move into an industry, let alone a move into a market which doesn’t even exist yet. Currently there is no major news organisation which offers news specifically for portable devices even though they should.
While Murdoch is clearly trying to think about the future, the iPad itself is no “game-changer”. The real revolution will need to be a truly mobile phone centric one. The iPad is in reality just a small device in the global mobile device network. Mobile phones need to be the focus of every news companies efforts because globally mobile phone usage far outweighs personal computers. There are over 5 billion mobile phones in global circulation, but there is not even 2 billion computers. That is a massive market which continues to be untaped by media companies.
While many organisations would argue that they already provide ‘mobile’ versions of their news offerings, the big issue is that these don’t provide specialised content optimised for delivery on portable devices. All the current content is merely a rehash of what is offered online. Take The New York Times as an example. Their iPhone application provides much of the same content as their online website. If you read the news on your phone then you have no reason to go to Nytimes.com and read the same content you have already read on your phone. To make it worse, the iPhone version is a rather dull table layout which doesn’t even make use of many of the cool features on the device which could make news incredibly interactive. No serious effort went into making the application interactive, engaging, and different. If news companies want to make serious money from portable devices then they need to start utilising the full capabilities of the device. Sometimes the easiest way of creating an application is not always the best way.
Murdoch’s move into the portable device space is really just one of the first in what will be a truly Mobile News Revolution. Clearly someone at News Corporation can see the value in providing platform specific news content, even if the focus of such a publication is on the wrong device. If other organisations are to make money, and substantial money at that, they also need to differentiate their portable offerings from their online offerings. By differentiating content they re-create a viable market for using your mobile phone, iPad, and your computer. The idea that people might want to read the same story online as they have just read on their phones, or on their iPad’s is a poor one. However, if the content is different and engaging then there is a reason to access news in more than one format.
Soon enough, news organisations around the world will realise the need to provide platform specific, optimised, and globally accessible, news publications. Mobile news is where the journalism industry will need to head, so watch out, a revolution in news production and delivery is about to begin.
Many of you reading this post will have watched some of the World Cup from the comfort of your own home or with friends in a local bar, but many of us sometimes forget the townships which surround Cape Town and the challenges they face.
Valerio Veo takes us ‘Behind the Scenes’ with his Flip camera into Mfuleni, a relatively new township about 40 kilometres from Cape Town, South Africa.
With a population of around 7000 people and with unemployment, HIV/AIDS and crime being some of their most pressing problems this poor township face, the spirit of the World Cup is helping uplift this community. However, mobile technology is allowing journalists like Valerio to get a real insight into how South Africans watch the ‘Bafana Bafana‘ play.
Duration: 4mins 43sec
Valerio Veo, Head of SBS News and Current Affairs Online in Australia and avid football fan is spending 6 weeks in football heaven at the World Cup in South Africa. With a backpack full of kit that would make your credit card weep at excess baggage, he is taking a bird’s eye view of life in and around the games in Cape Town for media140. Over the next 6 weeks you can follow his exploits on the media140 blog as he provides some exclusive insight into the World Cup.
With a backpack full of kit that would make your credit card weep at excess baggage, he is taking a bird’s eye view of life in and around the games in Cape Town for media140.
Over the next 6 weeks you can follow his exploits on the media140 blog as he provides some exclusive insight into the World Cup.
I’m not really sure how I ended up in Cape Town. By day I run an online team of multimedia journalists at Australia’s SBS, producing all the content for the broadcaster’s news & current affairs sites.
But the opportunity to spend six weeks covering the World Cup came up thanks to my fellow Executive Producer of news, who needed someone to produce the on-air news segment from South Africa and produce multi-platform content on the side.
So I did what all good journos do – go shopping. I picked up the mother of all mobile journalist kits – a DSLR, professional video camera, my beloved 13” MacBook Pro and accessories and hit the road. You can see the full list here on my site.
The first thing you realise is all this gear weighs a tonne! Apart from being slugged $A100 excess luggage on the domestic leg to Cape Town, I’ve found it literally impossible to do everything at once. Despite investing in lightweight tripods, tiny video cameras and a small laptop, it takes just a couple of lugging it around in a backpack to realise its untenable.
It doesn’t help that South Africa has more than its fair share of challenges for the modern mobile journalist. The internet is woeful. The road closures hopeless. The media centre here in Cape Town is at the wrong end of the stadium and there’s only one entry with an x-ray machine so it’s usually a case of “going around all the way”, a common phrase from stewards and volunteers which we’ve adopted to describe the inevitable long way we need to walk to get anywhere.
So I’ve had to make the daily decision… pics or video? TV, radio or online? While the Canon 7D takes video shooting the craziness of central Cape Town on Match Day 1 requires gear that makes your life as easy as possible.
But I’m quickly finding my groove. In the last nine days I’ve shot and edited three video packages for the web, sent vision for use in TV packages, filed photo galleries for the SBS News & The World Game websites, filed audio for SBS radio, and written for three separate blogs, while goading family & friends via Facebook and Twitter. Oh then there’s the daily news segment I produce for TV each morning too.
It’s a great gig if your back is up to it and you increasingly see the world’s media go cross platform – tiny video cameras sit alongside professional TV cameras in press conferences, digital point-and-shoots pop up as journalists chase stories, and everyone, yes everyone, is writing a blog along the way.
For me it’s as much about not missing a thing at this amazing and uniquely African event, which has thrown together one part tournament spectacular, two parts passion of a nation and a dash of chaos in a heady recipe called South Africa 2010.
The passion of South Africans is infectious and this World Cup has a a thrilling unique feel to it – so it’s not unexpected that you want to capture every moment and share it with the world. Sleep can wait until mid-July…