RTE Mobile Journalism – Where it began, where we are now and where we are going…(potentially)

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Back in late 2010 I was working in the Technology Division of News in RTE and I had bought an iPhone 4 for myself, which I had, like every other iNewbie loaded with Apps to try out. I started investigating accessories for the iPhone beginning with the Owle Bubo which was one of the first iPhone Tripod mounts. After a few months of testing things and seeing what worked or didn’t I had created-by accident- a small production kit and I showed it to the then Director of News Technology: Ray Purser. After a bit of experimentation he suggested I create a presentation and that we pitch a pilot project to the then Director of News and Current Affairs: Ed Mulhall. A few days later we delivered the pitch and Ed asked us to show it to some other RTE management and the general consensus was – there was definite potential and it merited further exploration..and so began my mojo project.

Within 6 months I had tested thousands of Apps- seriously! But the end game was I had assembled a selection of Apps which allowed you to improve the quality of the video above the standard iOS Camera and also allowed basic editing on the device. I had been training video journalists in RTE for a number of years at this stage and I was also sent annually to assist with the Circom Regional VJ training course. It was on this course in 2011 that I showed the gear and Apps to the trainers: Karol Cioma, Tony O’Shaughnessy and Darko Flajpan on the VJ course.

While in Budapest I shot a short tutorial video on the iPhone and edited in my iPad then sent the finished edit back via FTP. I subsequently posted the video online (9/10/2011) and its been viewed well over 5,000 times:

After sharing this proof of concept I was asked to present the project at the next Circom Conference which was held in Malmo Sweden in May 2012. The one hour presentation was well attended and the response was overwhelmingly positive. With the result that the Circom executive asked me to develop a mobile journalism course for them. That November (2012) I led the first of the RTE mojo courses for Circom and I was joined by John Inge Johansen from NRK, and Karol Cioma who had championed the idea and Darko Flajpan whom I had worked with previously for VJ training.

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Since then I’ve led three Mojo courses for Circom and I’ve blogged about them here and here but Mojo training has taken me beyond Circom to working with AlJazeera and elsewhere.

Its odd to look back now after just four years of development but at the same time its been a very interesting journey. Watching what BBC, NRK, Aljazeera, Skynews, and other are doing in the space is really exciting.

This May I missed the Circom Mojo course which was held in Dubrovnik, Croatia but Philip Bromwell, a colleague from RTE and someone I admire hugely as a storyteller, took my place.

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Interestingly on the course a lot of energy was spent testing Microsoft Lumia devices versus the iPhone. I’ve had a Lumia 1020 on loan from Microsoft for months now and I do think it has an absolutely exceptional camera: 41Mpx! which puts the 8Mpx iPhone camera in the shade. However the current weakness for the Windows Phone/Lumia range is not hardware but software, there simply aren’t as many pro grade production Apps as there are for iOS. What is interesting about the Windows Phone/Lumia is that, like Apple, Microsoft have a limited range of phones but they now control the Nokia hardware so they can, unlike Google’s Android platform, guarantee performance on their devices, this will, in time, give Microsoft a genuine advantage and hopefully secure market share for them where, for example, they currently hold just 3% of the US Smartphone Market Share.

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Source: http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2014/smartphone-milestone-half-of-americans-ages-55-own-smartphones.html

As of writing a new Circom Mobile journalism course is in the planning with an associated competition called the “Mojo Challenge” which will take place in October. The project is being led by Karol Cioma.

I’ve chosen to not be involved as I have invested a huge amount of time in developing the iOS training programme and though I am interested in both the development of both Windows Phone and Android I still believe that iOS offers the best, most diverse and powerful solution for mobile journalism at this point in time. Windows Phone is not mature enough yet, it needs more Apps and greater penetration and the recent announcement by Microsoft that they would be shedding 18,000 jobs from their global workforce, 2/3 of which will be from their newly acquired Nokia division shows that Microsoft are going through a refocusing period where lots of things can, and will, change.

Meanwhile it is widely rumoured that Apple will release their next iPhone model(s) in September which may see a new bigger class of iPhone 6. This I think could be revolutionary for Mojo- an iOS Phablet may very well be the ultimate mojo solution. Small enough to still be discreet and portable, yet big enough to allow proper video editing and processing. The Apps are already mature and the workflows proven.

In fact today I decided to pull together the stories that my colleagues and alumni of the RTE Mojo courses have produced and I think it pretty impressive – but I would say that wouldn’t I. I have to give credit to Philip Bromwell also as he and I are now training staff together and the combination of our skills, his storytelling and journalism, my technology and workflows is proving very effective.

For me, the emphasis now shifts to what next…I’m trying to secure funding to organise the first (to the best of my knowledge) dedicated Mobile Journalism Conference. The idea behind @MojoConIRL is to bring together the global community of mojo trainers, practitioners, evangelists and storytellers so we can share our knowledge and bounce or other like minded creatives. The problem is I had planned to do this at the end of October 2014 and that is looking more and more unlikely as time passes. Securing funding to book the venue, marketing, flights and accommodation for the speakers and panelists is proving to be far more difficult that I anticipated.

Sure, I’ve been asked can I not just  launch the tickets and use the ticket revenue to cover the costs-if they sell fast enough but thats not viable for such a niche event. I will know by the end of this week if I can pull off MojoConIRL or if I will have to defer it to early 2015. The thing that disappoints me most is that so many incredibly talented people offered their support and participation and I was getting really excited at the prospect of bringing these people together in Dublin to interact and share.

Meanwhile, I have enquiries for me to join sessions at a number of pretty high profile conference engagements over the next few months including the World Economic Forum Global Shapers conference in August, the European Broadcasting Union News conference in Paris in September, the International Broadcasting Conference in Amsterdam in September and the EBU Training Academy conference in October. I will post updates (if/) as these events are confirmed.

In the meantime if you want to learn about Mojo then here are links to resources I’ve posted on the blog over the last few months all distilled into one list:

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Mojo Hardware options: here and here
Original Post: Mobile Journalist Gear: Mojo Tripods | Hahnel Triad Compact C5 Tripod/Monopod combo

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Mojo Applist: here
Original Post: Interactive Mojo App list for iOS via Thinglink

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Mojo Sequences deconstructed: here
Original Post: The Ultimate Mojo CheatSheet! Sequences Deconstructed, examples, apps – everything you need (except the gear)

Cheatsheets for:

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FilMicPro : here
Original post: FilMicPro “At a Glance” CheatSheet & Simple Tutorial

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Hokusai DOWNLOAD PAGE ONE   DOWNLOAD PAGE TWO  DOWNLOAD PAGE THREE
Original post: Hokusai – An advanced Multi Track Audio Editor for iOS (iPhone & iPad) FREE CheatSheets HT @wooji

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iMovie   Page1 Page2 Page3
Original post:New: iMovie CheatSheet PAGE3 – Advanced features. Free download for all #mojo

 

 

 

Participants on Circom Mojo Budapest gave 95.5% positive feedback to course.

So chuffed! The most recent Circom Mojo course in Budapest achieved a 95.5% positive reaction from the trainees. This is one of the highest feedback ratings we’ve ever had. I’d like to thank the team of trainers, Karol Cioma, Training Project Manager – Circom Regional, Darko Flajpan, Training Manager HRT Croatia and John Inge Johansen, VJ & Mojo Practitioner and Trainer NRK Norway for their fantastic support and contribution to the course. It was a great 5 days.

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The two RTE participants Patricia O’Callaghan and Aisling O’Riordan both of whom produced stories which will be broadcast on Morning Edition this week. Here’s a sneak preview….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jrff8UWb_I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FegC8f3uKtI

Remember these packages were shot entirely on iPhone using FilMIc Pro / iLapse / and Voice Record Pro and edited entirely on iPad using Pinnacle Studio

If you are interested in Mobile journalism or want to learn more about the course tweet me @glenbmulcahy

 

Upcoming Mobile Journalism Training courses – limited availability.

MOJO-MEMORIES

If you follow me on Twitter (@glenbmulcahy) you may have seen a tweet recently where I invited applications to take part in a Live Video Stream of an upcoming 1 Day mobile journalism course I will be running in RTE in late September. This is an experiment to all intents and purposes and Im really curious to see how the participants respond. The idea of this is to make it as interactive as possible for the remote participants.

So while the stream is Live the select 25 people will be able to interact with me in realtime via Twitter and Livestream chat. I have adapted my usual 1 day “in person/ face to face” training course for this experiment. There are 3 places left – tweet me if interested.

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A little history: I first started pushing mobile journalism with a group of fellow trainers when we were in Budapest for the Annual Circom Regional Video Journalism training course in 2011. While there I shot a short HOW TO video (all on the iPhone 4) and uploaded it to Vimeo. http://vimeo.com/30263550

I also shot an interview with Karol Cioma, Training Project Manager with Circom to highlight the quality and I FTP’d the finished edit back to RTE to get some feedback from our Ingest room on the quality. http://vimeo.com/35132184 The consensus was it was good enough for broadcast. (Note: the original quality was substantially better than SD on Vimeo)

Following on from that I shot some content to try out different gear and accessories. Including this story which was shot on the iPhone 4S and edited on iMovie on the iPad2

http://vimeo.com/40811091

I then gave the gear to one of our most talent Video Journalists: Sean MacAntSithigh (Twitter: @Buailtin)  and he produced a story about artists in Dingle which was nothing short of brilliant: http://vimeo.com/42390467

That led to my first MoJo (mobile journalism) presentation at the Circom conference in Malmo Sweden. Click here to view the presentation: http://livestre.am/3SUMj

During that session over 85 senior television executives listened to the proposition that this technology could revolutionise the way journalists produce content. As a result I was invited to speak at a number of other conferences and also to deliver training to some Circom member stations like NRK (Norway), Roos Network (Holland), HRT (Croatia), and more recently Aljazeera.

Myself, Karol, John Inge Johansen from NRK and Darko Flajpan from HRT all got together to deliver a one week intensive mobile journalism course for Circom that November – this was structured to run before the traditional one week VJ course. At the end of the MoJo course Darko interviewed the participants to capture feedback. These were the responses:

The thing that never ceases to amaze me is what I have christened “the Transition”. This is the moment when participants finally realise the full potential of their mobile device. Most users are aware that they can shoot HD video, substantially less are aware they can edit that in device and export it. Fewer again realise the sheer volume of accessories that are available to augment and improve the quality and potential of the device. Its only after the first couple of practical excercises that the “penny finally drops…”

When I was that the Roos Dagen conference in Holland I did an impromptu interview, at the end of the presentation, with Arthur Vierboom. This is a good starting point:

A few months later I was asked by the lovely Sarah Marshall from Journalism.co.uk to deliver a short presentation on Mojo at their News:Rewired conference. I have attended previous News:Rewired events and they are excellently organised with a really high profile bill of speakers (myself excluded) and its always a worthwhile day in London. This is the video of that presentation: (via journalism.co.uk) Please excuse the technical issue with audio at the beginning!

Sarah has asked me to deliver a one-day, face to face MoJo training day for the next News:rewired conference. That will be happening on 19th Sept. More info here

One of the key things I would say to someone considering paying for a mobile journalism course is check the references of the trainer and also look for examples of stories or feedback from former students. In the three years I have invested in mobile journalism I have seen the number of self-styled MoJo trainers mushroom to the point that now pretty much anyone with an iPhone and a bit of knowledge can advertise their services as a trainer.

My advice…If your going to spend your hard earned cash to learn these skills – look for someone with  a proven track record. I regularly share ideas with the following trainers/practitioners- each of these guys are at the top of their game and are open to sharing, debating and encouraging each other- a true collective.

-Marc Settle (London) from BBC College of Journalism @marcsettle
-Nick Garnett (Manchester) from BBC Radio 5 Live @nicholasgarnett
-Neal Augenstein (Washington) from WTOP Washington @augensteinWTOP
-Ivo Burum (Australia)  -Independent MoJo trainer @citizenmojo
-Charles Hodgson (Australia)  Editor of @viewnews / @CharlesRHodgson
-Michael Rosenblum (New York) “the godfather of video journalism” @rosenblumtv
-Jack Hollingsworth (Austin Texas)- master iPhone photographer @photojack

If I’ve forgotten someone DM me – apologies in advance!

The most recent Circom regional MoJo course was held just before the annual conference in Santiago De Compostella, Galicia, Spain in May this year. The usual trainers group, Karol, John Inge, Darko and I had participants drawn from TV stations all across Europe.

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We (as trainers) were blown away by the results of the stories – particularly as some of these journalists had never shot or edited previously and also as English was not the 1st language of many.

I blogged about the course at the time but here are a few of my favourites and a link to a playlist of all those stories.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDp3aNOa9dY&list=PLv-3VuGs_1JNpOV25lhUyiYNouEFa4oSI

Here finally is a list of gear that you can consider if you are thinking of producing multimedia content with your iOS device:

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If you want to learn the skills required to produce high end multi media content like the samples mentioned here then keep an eye out for training courses by any of the specialists mentioned above or even the occasional public one from me.

I’ll be back in Budapest again in October for another MoJo course with Karol Cioma (@KarolCioma) John Inge Johansen (@lonelyrider) and Darko Flajpan (@DFlaj) and I look forward to sharing the stories produced by the next group of Circom MoJos.