University Fair 2015. – Mobile Journalism Storytelling Project

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As a student cable television channel, the annual University Fair represents both a massive challenge and an opportunity to reach a wider audience for Televizija Student. The Fair is an annual event where faculties of the University of Zagreb get to present themselves to high school students and give them all the information needed to enroll at a certain faculty.

It is also an opportunity for our small TV channel to advertise its activities to future students and enhance its influence as a news outlet for all Croatian students. Every year TV Student team covers the Fair – on television by making a TV special, but also on social media which is a more direct and faster way to provide information about the Fair as it is being held. We provide information in real time using different types of content – from simple textual information with added photos to quickly edited soundbites and footage of the Fair.

We use text, photographs, graphics and audiovisual material to get our content online as swiftly as possible. In order to do so, traditional TV equipment such as cameras and microphones are not enough. Also required is – mobile journalism equipment. The most important component of our MoJo equipment is a smartphone – in our case an iPhone. Additional equipment includes iPhone audio equipment such as microphones and audio bugs, a tripod or a monopod, lighting etc. A laptop is not a must in every situation, but it can be useful when editing more complicated videos (which will be shown in upcoming examples).

Covering the University Fair, as previously mentioned, includes two dimensions – social media and traditional TV. To film elaborate events such as the fair, MoJo equipment is still not completely adequate, when speaking in terms of a traditional TV broadcaster. Even though the quality of video on iPhones is impressive, cameras are still the number one recording device when it comes to covering sophisticated events because of certain smartphone limitations. As seen in the slideshow above, zoom feature on iPhone is in poor quality so in order to get closer shots, the camera person has to stand extremely close to the filmed object But, that doesn’t mean that iPhones cannot be used to film TV stories. Contrary, smartphones can be used to develop compelling stories, not just for the web, but also TV.

Editing on iPhones is not practical, but its software allows for simple editing techniques such as cropping and cutting such as in this case – where a journalist used an iPhone and a selfie stick (demonstrating its journalistic usefulness) to do a standup and give basic information about the Fair, immediately publishing it online (no editing needed).

iPhones can also be useful when you want to publish footage from the event as soon as possible – when it comes to web, this format is called raw material; and it’s basically just shots (possibly with soundbites) pieced together without complicated editing techniques.

Even though it is possible to edit on iPhones, experience while covering news on TV Student has thought us that it is still impractical so we prefer to use laptops when editing on site. It’s faster and it is definitely easier to edit on a laptop rather than on a smartphones, especially when it comes to more sophisticated stories.

This is an example of a short story we did about a student programmed robot at the fair which we shoot with an iPhone, quickly edited on a laptop and rapidly published it directly onto our Facebook page.

Screenshot of TVS facebook page

Screenshot of TVS facebook page

 

We also shoot one similar story about a student beekeeper, but this time we used both an iPhone and a DSLR. When it comes to video (especially one meant for web content), there is no big difference in quality of the video when comparing a smartphone and a DSLR.

 

Combining these two recording device, we also made a few of quick video packages about interesting experiments conducted by students on the fair such as this one (short web format).

Using an iPhones we were able to develop different story formats – which can also be shown on television, and which are perfect for the web such as time lapses (shown above) or short interesting videos (with music).

 

 

 

Smartphones also proved useful when doing a vox populi.

 

But when talking about mobile journalism – we shouldn’t limit the concept to simply shooting and editing using MoJo equipment, smartphones and tablets; but it should also be applied to practical work done on site which is becoming more and more developed. Journalist shoot and edit packages while still on the field – such was our case as we even edited an entire TV special entirely on site. We were shooting, transferring the raw material on laptops and instantly editing it – all the while being active on social media.

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