The iTunes app store is teeming with applications ready to be taken advantage of by multimedia-obsessed journalists. This, obviously, is a good thing. But since there are a lot of complicated tools out there that might trip up a reporter on deadline, it’s probably best to stick to the good and simple applications iTunes has to offer.
I stumbled upon the Hindenburg Field Recorder while researching such easy-to-use applications.
The general gist of the app:
1. You record your interviews through its interface
2. You edit the recording from your phone with a system similar to Audacity (this includes being able to layer sound clips, if you’d like)
3. Once edited, you can share the file straight from your phone via email, SoundCloud, iTunes, or load it onto an FTP server.
The “lite” version of Hindenburg is free (through this you can edit and export a maximum of one minute of audio), but the full application is $29.99. A little steep for a reporter’s pocketbook– but you can’t put a price on convenience, right?
While perusing the Internet for good examples of multimedia journalism to model my upcoming projects after, I stumbled upon a package by the San Jose Mercury News that chronicles the lives of people living in a soon-to-be torn-down trailer park in Sunnyvale, Calif. in 2007.
Marilyn Baker takes a rest while one of her grandsons Eric moves her belongings onto an U-Hall truck on May 30, 2007 at Flick’s Mobile Home Park in Sunnyvale. (Dai Sugano / Mercury News)
There were several things about the package’s composition that kept me watching.
- Dynamic alternation between still photos and video.
- Tasteful use of black and white and shadowy that seemed to match the sadness of the trailer park residents. Slow, minor-key background music was also present throughout the videos, but it didn’t distract from the message of the story.
- Whenever a question of detail came to mind, the pace of the video slowed and text materialized that explained why exactly the trailer park was being torn down, how long the residents had to move out, etc. But the information wasn’t overburdening– it was concise.
- The video story’s sources showed contrast between the lives of a young family (even the family’s youngest daughter and how being uprooted from her area middle school and friends would be difficult at her age) and an elderly woman who didn’t have anywhere else to go. The conflict and strife illustrated in this project spanned generations.
To take a look at this great example of multimedia journalism, click here.
Smartphones are undoubtedly one of the greatest technological assets to modern-day journalism. They record audio, video, and those in the media have been taking advantage of the quality photos many mobile phones can produce.
For example, editors at the Tampa Bay Times have sent photographers on fun photo assignments where they document areas of the community with their iPhones.
The above photos are taken with the iPhone 4S by a professional photographer who is used to lugging around pounds and pounds of expensive camera equipment. Yet she was also able to take visually appealing photos with a device that she can carry around in her pocket.
The convenience of smartphone photography will inevitably lead to, and has already sparked a movement of reporters taking photos and video on scene with a lot less hassle, and probably more experimentation in photography among reporters who may have otherwise felt too intimidated to delve into the visual aspect of stories.