Hitting the mobile journalism weight room

I’m pretty happy Friday afternoons between the hours of 2 p.m.-3:15 p.m. I’m challenged. I’m engaged.  I’m laughing: My professor is hilarious. He awkwardly dances in front of the class if no one answers questions. This Friday though, I was struggling. It took me about two minutes to write twice as many words for a photo caption.

Judd, my professor, says with mobile you can go from finished product to published content in 90 seconds.  As I worked to write accurate and descriptive photo captions Friday afternoon, I realized it’ll take much, much more than just skimming a few papers a day to let good journalism sink in, let alone produce it from any platform.

I’m easily caught up in learning the technical aspect of mobile without focusing on the foundations I need to make a story great. Does it really matter if I can shoot on an iPad if what I’m shooting doesn’t bring something new to the viewer or reader? If their attention isn’t drawn to the facts and people that make the story compelling?

Well, I guess I wouldn’t be calling myself a journalist then, would I? I’ve realized that without the knowledge of what makes a good story and without the practice to put that knowledge to the test, I can’t put this great tool of mobile to use. I can’t fully be a mobileer.

While there are certain technical challenges I’ve already experienced  shooting with the iPad mini, the greatest challenge for me is still composing a story, and thinking of ways to capture the moments that will make the story authentic, powerful and interesting. I’m learning more about acknowledging my biases, how to ask better questions and looking at the big picture of what a story can do.

So even when it comes down to the “small” exercises during multimedia lab, I’m making my journalistic skills a little bit stronger.





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