Citizen Journalist Guide to Mobile Video

This guide will cover topics that range from principles of using mobiles for citizen journalism to available applications for distributing videos via mobiles.

This guide is available in Arabic and Burmese. The Arabic version can be found here. The Burmese version of this chapter can be downloaded here: Introduction (Burmese)

Introduction

Equipped with a mobile phone and some basic tools and guidelines, anyone can be a citizen journalist and contribute to effective, high-quality video storytelling across the globe. Citizen journalism has often been defined as public individuals collecting, reporting, analysing, and disseminating news and information. Often citizen journalism is needed to fill a media void or to shed light on events not being captured by mainstream media.

One of the greatest and most adaptable tools available to both novice and experienced citizen video journalists is the mobile phone. In recent years, we see examples of mobiles phones being used to live stream Occupy events around the world, as part of a training at a conference in Santiago, Chile, and to help fill a media void and capture footage from Syria. Often, the citizen journalism video content we see is high quality, effective and strategic. And just as often, much of it is produced, edited and disseminated solely on mobile phones.

You’re a citizen journalist interested in video storytelling, so you likely already understand the potential you wield. Here, we’ll share best practices on how to do it safely and effectively on a mobile device.

Why Mobile?

Video is a very powerful medium for storytelling and mobile technology is a great equaliser, allowing for even greater participation in the process.

The advantages of mobile journalism are many. Mobile phones are always with you. Knowing how to act quickly with the proper tools will allow you to create and share video, often in real time. Mobile phones are everywhere. It has been speculated that by 2014, the number of mobile phone subscriptions will exceed the world population.

Mobile phones are light, portable and ever-present recording tools. Recording interviews on mobile devices often helps subjects feel more comfortable than if they were faced with other more bulky equipment.

Mobile phones are relatively cheap compared with professional recording kits. They are connected to a network, allowing for live streaming and uploading to the internet over mobile data connection.

We should also note that there are serious security issues to consider when using your mobile phone for video storytelling. While the advantages of mobile journalism are numerous, please be sure to read the section in this guide on mobile security issues before you hit the field.

Tips and Techniques for Shooting and Storytelling
For extensive technical and artistic tips on shooting and storytelling, see the following guides:

This guide is available in Arabic and Burmese. The Arabic version can be found here. The Burmese version of this chapter can be downloaded here: Introduction (Burmese)

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