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04 May, 2017

#MOJO: A school built completely around mobile journalism

This student newsroom and media lab serves six journalism schools in Georgia.

What would happen if you built your student newsroom completely around #MOJO mobile journalism?

That was the question I asked in 2010 when I was brought in to design a new media lab for IREX.

In 2017, we now know the answer. I think you'll like this story.

When I designed this student media lab space around mobile journalism, I thought others would quickly copy cat my approach.

After all, every detail was built for the mobile reporting lifestyle with the modular technology package, the pre-configured pool equipment kits, the built-in charging stations and universal and easy access for any student or teacher to be able to reconfigure any part of the facility on the fly.

It's simple looking back. Here is the pitch deck from the opening ceremony

Mobile journalism is much more than having reportera using smartphones. MOJO is also a galvanizing concept to rally a design project around.

In this case: A multipurpose video studio and multimedia classroom space designed to serve an international broadcaster and several journalism schools for 18 hours a day.

Everything moves here: The walls, the chairs, the rooms, the TV studio, the recording booths, the stages, sets and event spaces. Everything is mobile.

There are only a few desktop computers tucked into an edit suite corner.

Everything else is a mobile reporting tool - ready to go.

A brief history

- Concept preso and funding pitch 2010

- Construction in 2011

- Opening in 2012

Journalism Co UK featured the Smart Media Lab in 2013

The latest IREX case study about the project

- And in 2017 the concept is heralded a wild success

I love this bit from the latest IREX report.
Last year alone, the center hosted 371 students—almost a 17% increase from the prior year. Students, teachers, and administrators said they consider the center an indispensable resource for the journalism education sector in Georgia and beyond.  

“The MEC is an absolutely crucial resource for us. It gives an opportunity to our students to work both independently and collectively,” said Nina Ivanishvili, dean of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management (CSJMM).

“We consider the MEC our right hand in providing education in journalism. It is an integral part of our university, which we cherish as much as we do our own school.”
“Students who have undergone practical training at the MEC show tremendous potential,” said Caroline Sutcliffe, founder of Chai Khana, an NGO that provides cross-border journalism training and online publishing for issue-based multimedia outlets in the South Caucasus. 

“The high-tech facilities of the MEC and outstanding trainers give these journalists a 360-degree view of the field, as well as a competitive advantage in their careers.” 

Their success says everything we had hoped for when building this project.

How about you? Are you ready to build a Smart Media Lab. 

I have some proven ideas and some fresh experiences with combining design thinking and mobile journalism that would make me interested in doing a big project like this again.

Reach out to Nicole Frankenhauser at WAN-IFRA to discuss a consulting agreement to design your MOJO lab. 

Nicole Frankenhauser. Advisory Coordinator. 
Frankfurt am Main, Germany. 
+49 69240063275.

03 May, 2017

#MOJO: Is THIS the best mobile journalist kit?

Robb Montgomery tests the latest rigs for filming smooth video for #MOJO reports.

Below is a video I streamed live to Facebook using three old iPhones and an iPad Pro as a video switcher.

We test three ways to film incredible video footage with a smartphone. One of the live cams is an Osmo mobile.

Gear list for configurations shown:

  • iPhone 6S+ (128GB)
  • IK-Multimedia iClip Kase for iPhone 6+


Full disclosure: My gear links are affiliate links. You won't pay any extra,  but the referrals support me. 

#MOJO: Turn your old iPhones into a TV Studio for Facebook Lives, YouTube and Periscope

SMART FILM SCHOOL: At the heart of the system is an iPad Pro running the Live: Air app.

Caution. This 'free' app features several expensive in-app purchases for unlocking advanced features. (I paid $49.99 to remove the Teradek watermark, for example.)

The studio cameras are iPhones that have been retired from #MOJO field work. Camera One is an iPhone 6+ that made MOJO reports from over 20 countries over two years. I attached a small lens from Olloclip to frame the shot for a presenter.

Camera Two is my current #Mojo cam - an iPhone 6S+ - placed into an Osmo Mobile rig. The microphone is not really needed in this configuration as I explain the video.

The iPhone 4s in the teleprompter was rescued from the disabled list to pair up with the $120 Parrot teleprompter.

This gear - plus a versatile studio design - allows me to quickly produce event videos for Webinars, Live Shows for social streams, and video tutorials for e-learning courses.

Bonus: It's awesome for making Skype calls to your mom.

Now that we have built this studio from top to bottom and tested it with three live platforms, I plan to film a comprehensive course for the Smart Film School.

Those tutorials will go into more details and highlight all the working parts of building a low-cost video studio that delivers high-end results without requiring a big crew or typical TV budget.

29 April, 2017

#MOJO: This is what Mobile Journalism looks like today

Mobile Journalism has come a long way in 30 years

Smartphones today are more powerful, their cameras ever sharper, and the apps for filming, editing and transmitting visual reports are allowing journalists to produce professional results from the field in near real-time.

A VRT broadcast reporter getting hands-on #MOJO training in the streets of Brussels.

Today, a fully trained mobile journalist can be extremely productive and serve a variety of roles for daily film, video and audio reporting.

Almost everywhere you look, there is a new #MOJO workshop, group, bookchat, filmwalk, gadget, or online course.

Mid-career journalists can even skill up and earn a certificate in mobile journalism.

MOJO is mandatory 
In the journalism schools where I teach in Europe; Mobile Reporting is a compulsory course for every first year student. 

Three years ago I wrote the syllabus and started training journalism students at a university in Vienna, Austria.

All first year journalism students at FH Wien in Austria are required to pass an immersive Mojo training course.
Last week, we once again produced an intensive workshop for the entire class and the dean is happy to see evidence that mastering the Mojo skill set early in the process is building a strong foundation for the next generation of visual-first journalists.

Actually, a generation of truly versatile journalists: Reporters who can quickly report and edit non-fiction narratives in pictures, sequences and sound bites with video-led stories.

Every one of them now has experience using their smartphone camera as a powerful reporter's notebook.

What kind of MOJO are you?

There is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach for mobile journalism.

MOJO is both a basic reporting skill and also an advanced concept used to re-orient the culture of your newsroom with a common language.

MOJO can bring enterprise-wide literacy for advancing visual story forms that connect reporters, specialists and solo VJ's to their story coverage.

VJ'S are the James Bond's of the Mojo pecking order.

For example, crisis reporters like Class Weinmann of Bild report from war zones and natural disasters with a range of cameras and techniques.

Claas is a VJ. He can shoot, edit, interview, produce, and file footage, sequences, bites, rushes, and finished mini-documentary packages with any gear he happens to have on him.

That's the James Bond stuff. Very few people will ever be that good, and that is OK.

The good news is that you don't need a newsroom full of just these VJs to reap the benefits of improving mojo literacy with your teams.

#MOJO Live streams

Some media organizations and broadcasters that I work with are intensely focused on having their Mojo reporters produce live streaming video reports.

That's the case with MTV 3 in Helsinki.

MYV has been a client of mine for the last three years and a former political reporter has seen the potential, made her prototypes and today is the first full-time Mojo reporter for her country.

Together we are training the rest of her colleagues in Mojo reporting techniques.

#MOJO Social

Other clients are using Mojo reporting to produce video content for social media platforms and even broadcasting on air with high quality footage that was completely produced with smartphones.

With the debut of new small 360° video cameras that can attach to smartphones; the range of stories, assignments and innovation strategies for MOJO reporting is rapidly expanding.

February 2017:  Filming a double rainbow in the Valley of Death, on a 30-day #MoJoTrek across the Atacama Desert in Chile.

Today’s opportunities for mobile reporting in real-time are a far cry from 1987 when I was transmitting my first digital pictures from news events as a student photojournalist for the AP and UPI.

In 1987 I digitally transmitted this news photo to the Associated Press who then sent it to members around the world. As a photo reporter covering military exercises over the USA, I was able to get next to the man who pumping fuel into a fighter jet and take a photo through the tiny window he uses to view an approaching jet. GEAR: Nikon F3, Nikkor 28mm ƒ2 lens, Tri-X film, Ilford paper, typewriter, label paper.

I would take assignments for the UPI and AP and send news photos from the location using a machine like this. It took eight minutes to digitize and transmit one black and white photo over the phone lines.

I wish that you could see the look on the faces of my first year journalism students when I show them these pictures.

But that is simply what 'mobile journalism' looked like when I was in journalism school.

This is what #MOJO looks like today. 

Below is a video I streamed live to Facebook using three old iPhones and an iPad Pro as a video switcher.

I self-produced this live stream video as a ‘proof-of-concept’ last week. 

It is truly amazing what one fully-trained Mojo reporter can produce with small mobile devices these days.

And while newsrooms and classrooms have come a long way over the last 30 years, there is still a lot more work to be done to realize the full potential of what MOJO workflows can bring to your news organization.

20 April, 2017

#MOJO: Can Mobile Video and Design Thinking save your newsroom?

This post is for the people who have been asking for slides after my recent lectures on this topic in Italy, Cairo, Chicago, Paris, Vienna, Warsaw, and Zagreb.

Here you go: I am posting these handout slides from my keynote presentation: A Revolution in Storytelling - Can Mobile Video and Design Thinking can save your newsroom? 

TIP: Join me at the Lviv Media Forum in May for the next presentation.

BTW, This talk is always updated and started out seven years ago with the title "Your Smartphone is your newsroom" after I had built the MOJO app and mobile video training for RFE/RL broadcast reporters and the S.M.A.R.T. Media Lab.

The lecture has been updated after The New York Times said it was rethinking their reporting to allow them to be led by visual-first journalism, which is a pretty big deal for some.

As you can see, my strategic partners and I have been ready for this for quite a while . . .

Reach out to Nicole Frankenhauser at WAN-IFRA to discuss consulting and coaching offers related to these topics. 

Nicole Frankenhauser. Advisory Coordinator. 
Frankfurt am Main, Germany. 
+49 69240063275.