The tech age of storytelling through Mobile Journalism (MoJo)

The Times School of Media at Bennett University has adapted to changing technologies and offers students the experience of creating multimedia storytelling using smartphones, writes Prof (Dr) Sanjeev Ratna Singh

Prof (Dr) Sanjeev Ratna Singh

11/16/20211 min read

Technology has been the biggest disruptor, harbinger of the latest methods which have transformed the world, especially the media industry. “The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur,” Elon Musk’s famous words have proven correct when it comes to the evolution of 360-degree journalism or Mobile Journalism (MoJo) in today’s world. The time is ripe for specialising in ‘jack of all trades’ where a person can do the shoot, edit, and add catchy headlines to news videos ‘on the go’. Adopting the digital first approach, newsrooms are embracing technology like never before and MoJo has emerged as a key element in this digital shift. The pandemic has added to the digital surge in consumption patterns as The New York Times registered more than six million digital-only subscribers by the end of 2020, which was nearly three times of their number in 2016. The number of paid digital-only subscribers was approximately 8.83 million as of December 31, 2022.

Offering a level playing field to anyone who has a smartphone, MoJo has become even more attractive due to its low cost. Today’s smartphones are affordable, come with high quality cameras, are user-friendly and their small size makes them a convenient tool to carry in a pocket which is a huge advantage over the traditional and cumbersome equipment of the past. In today’s world, anyone can use their smartphones to record/shoot videos and share them on social media without having to involve big or traditional media organisations. Once a video or post goes viral, most news networks pick up the relevant news items and publish it on their sites as well.

Owing to the additional pressure, professional journalists have changed the way they collect data. Almost everyone in the business is busy taking photos, videos or screenshots of social media posts which are shared on office WhatsApp groups before they are converted into ‘breaking news’ items. In India, some TV companies changed the way their newsrooms functioned, they gave golden handshakes to employees and took a leap to bridge the digital divide. This signifies a digital shift away from conventional broadcasting which is now a global trend.

Print companies have also been moving in the digital direction. Integration of newsrooms between print and online through technology is a key area of focus. The current focus in several print companies is to bring all their journalists under a common platform and provide all possible tools for 360-degree journalism. They have also launched a mobile app that will help journalists to record videos, shoot photos, edit online, and send the final product to the newsroom. Empowering journalists with tools will also bridge the gap between input and output allowing everyone on the news floor to experiment and contribute to create original content.

There is no doubt that technology has changed the way we gather news, but the same is true for the audience as well. Today’s consumer is exposed to a lot of multimedia content and can easily make the distinction between good and bad content. Therefore, the new breed of journalists will not survive by just having a sound knowledge of current affairs, politics, and good scripting. They must also learn how to use smartphones, multitask, and create the entire story on their own and MoJo provides the flexibility to create and publish content much ahead of their competition

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