Smartphone Journalism: The Changing Face of News Gathering and Delivery

Photo Courtesy of Digital Journal

Gathering and delivering headline stories has massively improved since the early days of journalism thanks to the proliferation of mobile technologies and social media. News consumption on smartphone and tablet has become the second most popular activity on mobile next to checking emails. Handhelds have encouraged journalists to capture instant photographs of live events, record happenings on the go, and present live broadcasts in faraway places. Apart from the mainstream journalists, ordinary citizens are also given the opportunity to participate in publicizing news via sites that accept citizen journalism. For this entry, we’ll discuss the changing face of journalism brought about by the innovations of mobile tech.

Photo Courtesy of Digital Journal
Photo Courtesy of Digital Journal

Immediate way of filing copies to meet deadlines

Word-processing apps available for mobile devices are most especially handy for journalists. TC McCarthy, an award-winning journalist of NewsDay Media Group in New York, used his mobile phone during his unexpected coverage of last year’s NYC Penn Station’s train outage. As highlighted by Genevieve Belmaker of, McCarthy solely used his phone’s built-in notes app to take quick notes of the incident and Google Docs for mobile to draft the story. He had three interviews on-location and started writing his article while on a train. He had managed to file his story to his editor before reaching his next stop.

Email is now the most convenient way of filing a copy for print publication according to Tap! Magazine’s games editor Craig Grannell on Contently. Grannell uses his iPhone as his ‘mobile office’ on a daily basis, taking down notes during interviews with his iPhone and email photos and stories to his editor-in-chief.

A tool for remembering everything

One of the many blessings and curses of being a journalist, apart from a writer’s block, is “the constant stream of ideas coming into, and the immediately out of your head,” wrote David Pierce, assistant managing editor of The Verge. The urge to write these details wouldn’t be impossible if people carry around a pen and paper all the time. Unfortunately, only a few traditional journalists are practicing the habit of bringing these items to take down notes.

With today’s smartgadgets, journalists wouldn’t have to worry about forgetting their stream of ideas. They can simply reach for their phone and scribble down their thoughts using apps such as Evernote. Unlike paper, information that’s written on a smartphone is highly accessible because it syncs all content to a user’s other devices.

Handy device for navigation

Soliciting opinions from citizens and bystanders on the street is one of the most time consuming parts of news gathering. With a smartphone, reporters and correspondents can now get into the action faster with the help of mobile mapping applications. Apart from its turn-by-turn navigation feature, mobile devices these days have Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, which allows users to pinpoint real-time location when commuting.

Smartphones for taking long-distance shots and recording discreetly

Journalists aren’t allowed to be too close to crime scenes and this is one of the many challenges that they face every day. However, with today’s supercomputers that literally fit into a user’s palm, journalists are now able to take shots from a long distance. Smartphones have also become an essential tool for investigative journalists since they can easily fit inside small slits and record conversations quietly.

This is how the mobile technology is changing the face of news gathering and delivery. Can you imagine a world where news is still delivered in an old-fashioned way while the consumers are already high-tech users? Can you imagine if today’s headlines are yesterday’s talk-of-the-town?


myMINIavyAbout the Author

Jenni Birch is a tech-savvy blogger who is always on the lookout for the best gadgets to assist her every activity. She hopes to be an official journalist someday—a really techy one. Follow her on Twitter.

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