Mobile Journalism

Mo Krochmal (@krochmal)
Asst. Prof., Journalism

-atColumbia University Teachers’ College August 6, 2009

Everybody has it – or will

Magic of Mobile
“It's the only device that you have next to you -- three feet away at any point in time. It's not the next huge thing; it's huge right now.”
Bonin Bough, head of the social media effort for PepsiCo [ ]

Forward-Looking Statements
• This talk is based on my research and opinions and on my experience of creating and organizing innovative student-run news operations at Hofstra University. Your mileage may vary. • See my students work at
Proudly serving the communities surrounding Hofstra university since February 2009.

Financial Restraint, Responsibility
• It still about the journalism, not the toys. • Hardware is expensive, but, oh my, what you can get these days for your $ • “How much did it cost to do that? Is it worth it? Are there ways to do it cheaper, better?” • I’m not a Mac expert. I’m a PC, cause I’m cheap.

Looking Forward
• What does the future of journalism look like?

The Frontier of Multimedia Journalism
• Mobile Video
– Proliferation of small handheld devices using Internet cloud-based services and not held to broadcast standards of production.

• Livestreaming Video
– Using Internet-based software, individuals and small organizations can create highly sophisticated broadcaststyle and interactive operations with

Entry-Level Tool Kit
To enter the future, you need these tools:
– Phone/Mobile Internet connectivity – Lightweight Computer – Webcam/Mic


Social Media as the Operating System
The single most important piece of software for mobile learning currently is social network web sites. Educational institutions already have Learning Management Systems (i.e. WebCT, Moodle, and Blackboard). However, these tend to force students to conform to the institution’s idea of how they should learn. Enter the concept of social networking which allows students to connect to each other, instructors, and course content on their own terms.

Social Media

Social Media

And, One More


Equipment Costs
• Laptop (~$600) with a webcam • Or Netbook ($400)
+Upgraded Webcam ($100)

• Video capable 3G Mobile phone ($200-$700) -- Contract=~$1,400/2 years unl text/data
Investment over 2 years (Approximately $2,100)

Getting Connected
• Broadband Internet access WiFi – Cheap, but not everywhere. 3G – Not cheap, more access, portable.

3G Mobile Internet Access
• Tethered Phone
Use your phone to connect your laptop to the Internet.

• Phone-as-Modem Hacks PDANet – for Windows OS, Treo, Centro • USB Modem
Buy a USB modem, and a $ plan.

• Hotspot Modem for Sharing
Mifi – A device that lets you create a hotspot, with password.

Tethered Phone
• If you have a smartphone, i.e. an iPhone, a Palm Pre, or a Nokia, the technology exists for using that phone as your broadband modem. • Now, you have to convince the carriers to offer it, or do it outside your TOS:
• AT&T – no tethering right now, but soon. • Sprint – no tethering right now, but soon. • Verizon – no tethering right now, but soon.

USB Modem
• You can buy a little popsicle stick that attaches to your computer’s USB port and allows you to access the carrier’s network. • 2-year plan.

Sprint, Verizon Hotspot Modem “Mifi” works with A relatively new gadget called
any WiFi device, connecting to mobile net, creating WiFi cloud.

Verizon -- $100 w 2-year service agreement ($50 rebate). *Monthly: $40 [250 megabytes|$0.10/megabyte overage] *$60 [5 gigabytes / $0.05 per megabyte overage]. *DayPass -- $400 for device and $15 per 24-hour access period. Sprint -- $100 after $50 rebate, with a two-year contract.

Broadband-only for $60; or $150 monthly Simply Everything

Pay as you Go 3G
• Virgin Mobile USA Broadband2Go on Sprint's Network • Novatel USB broadband modem $149 from Best Buy
– $10 / month for 100MB of data usage for 10 days – $20 / month 250MB – $40 / 600MB – $60 / 1GB of data usage
**--Bandwidth expires in 30 days

Pay as You Go

3G Coverage Atlantic States, NE US



Standard Computers
Allow you to perform more complex editing tasks, and keyboard allows texting using off-the-shelf or cloudbased software/services. Good for the Mojo.

• What is a netbook?
7- to 12-inch notebooks powered by an Intel Atom processor, capable of running a full operating system such as Windows XP. Let’s you do simple editing. MovieMaker. archive.
IDC forecasts manufacturers will ship 26.5 million “mini notebooks” by the end of 2009, or more than double the 11.6 million units shipped in 2008.

• On the Horizon: Smartbooks -- netbook-like devices that run smartphonechips and use operating systems such as Android. Can play back HD video.

Best Netbook, For Now

Experts say:
ASUS Eee PC 1000HE (EPC1000HEBLK005X) ~$400

Via Hardware Central Review

Data Plans
Netbook with built-in 3G • Verizon offers HP Mini for $199 with 2-year plan and costs $40 to $60 per month with caps on data. Smartbooks and netbooks with integrated 3G also don’t make much sense if you also own a laptop. In this case, it’s better to have a USB broadband modem so you can use one wireless account with both mobile devices (unfortunately there aren’t many laptops or netbooks in the U.S. with a SIM card slot).

• Simple technology that can be bundled to do some sophisticated switching using cloud-based software.


• Low-end
Microsoft LifeCam VX-5000 ~$25-$35
640-by-480-pixel resolution for video, 1.3-megapixel sensor, performs in low light than other cameras in its price class. It has an integrated microphone and a unique, flexible base that can clip on to more surfaces than some other webcam mounts.http

Not Mac compatible

High End
Logitech's QuickCam Pro 9000 “A top-quality webcam with outstanding optics, user-friendly software and excellent audio.” $73.38 from Amazon, $99 from Dell * -- not Mac-compatible

Software as Service

• Livestreaming Ability to stream video in real time. Watch: WNYW/Fox 5 [] Console

Livestream Interface

Ustream Dashboard

Other players
Mobile clients: Stikam, Kyte, Qik, Video Social Networking: • Seesmic • 12seconds • Paltalk • Oovoo • Google Talk/Voice • Skype

Top 3
– Iphone – new edition is out, has video – Nokia N97 – new. Pricey – Palm Pre – new. Cool

For me, video and a QWERTY keyboard are the critical factor in a purchase decision.

Smartphone Costs
• Smartphone costs: “If you follow the rules, service for an unlocked Nokia N97 or any other smart phone will cost you as much as service for any subsidized smart phone, BlackBerry or iPhone that AT&T sells. These plans cost $30 a month for unlimited data and if you want a texting plan you can choose from plans that range in price from $5 a month to $20 a month for unlimited texting.”

• Average iPhone user eats up around 400 megabytes of capacity each month. • Average smartphoneusage is 40 to 80 megabytes.
• Roger Entner, head of telecom research for Nielsen

Mobile Video Services


• Flixwagon

Nokia N97

• Outbound information

Write once, distribute.


Collecting Your Streams



• Nokia says that 100M of the 1B mobile phones sold last year were smart phones, with perhaps 200M smart phones to be sold in 2009. Netbooks are also selling very well.

• Smartphones are still a small part of the overall market — about 27 percent of mobile phone shipments

The Phone: It’s the tool most of the world will use to see the
Cell phone adoption exceeds 100% in many economies (Intel)

“By 2013, 90 percent of web traffic will be [for] the distribution of video."
Mozilla's Mark Surman

Networks, Reliability
• Grrrrrrrrrrrrr

3G Reliability, Availability

The Teaching
Presentation of Materials I’ll present this in class Students will find examples Hands-on practice Students will be required to identify and share news-worthy content in practice, then live. Written Test Students will be graded on a basic knowledge of best practices in mobile journalism Practicum Students will report and produce using the

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