Wolfgang Blau: What Is Mobile Journalism?

May 20, 2015 • Short stories, Specialist Journalism • by

Mobile Journalism ToolkitWhile I love checking out the production gear of ‘mobile journalists’, I wish the words ‘mobile journalism’ would primarily refer to journalism that is being read/viewed on mobile devices, instead of referring to ‘journalism that has been produced via mobile production gear’.

Defining a whole genre of journalism – especially the fastest growing genre there is – by its means of production instead of its means of consumption, might be one reason why so much of today’s ‘mobile journalism’ is not optimised for mobile consumption yet.

As an industry and a profession, we know far too little about how to produce mobile-optimised journalism on an item-by-item basis as well as how to create overall editorial propositions that pay tribute to smartphone readers’ needs and to the technical capabilities of smartphones.

When you google ‘mobile journalism’, the majority of results lead you to mobile production gear and conferences about mobile production. This is understandable, but simultaneously it is as absurd as defining print journalism as ‘journalism that has been gathered, edited and created on sheets of paper before distributing it via web, print or broadcast’.

Print journalism is journalism that is being optimised for and distributed on paper. Mobile journalism should be understood as journalism that is being optimised for and consumed on mobile devices.

Now let’s hope there will be more conferences soon about how to produce journalism specifically for mobile devices. Affordable mobile production gear is not the issue anymore and never was a prerequisite for producing more mobile-friendly journalism.

 

Photo Credit: Erik (Hash) Hersman

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