Over the last 10 years, MOJO, or “mobile journalism”, has taken off and revolutionized the way media sources work. The term refers to when journalists report on the go using their mobile devices and a kit of tools to ensure quick yet professional results. But since the start of the term in 2005, it’s turned into so much more than that. By looking at the work of three mobile journalists, it’s easy to see the clear benefits our highly connected, technological world can have.
- Alissa Richardson
Alissa Richardson was a coordinator of Morgan State University’s journalism program in 2010, when she launched her MOJO Lab project. The project included teaching students to use mobile devices to report news, and made Morgan State the first black college to offer mobile journalism courses. But in 2011, Richardson expanded her MOJO Lab to global contexts with GlobalGirl Media, and brought the mobile knowledge to girls in South Africa with HIV and Muslim women in Morocco dealing with nation wide revolts. Richardson gave the girls iPods and tablets and got to witness them write poetry about famine, film community riots live, and get to understand their community and neighboring areas better. Not only did Richardson give these less than fortunate girls a chance to report, but she gave them a way to empower themselves in times of oppression.
2. Geoffrey Roth
Geoffrey Roth was the managing editor of a Fox-owned television station before he started a mobile journalism training and production company in North Carolina, called Mojo Navigator. In 2016, Roth built the first newroom for Fox to be completely IP-based. All reporters there work as MOJOs by using iPhones, small cameras, and laptops or iPhones for editing. Roth realized this allowed his team to be time-efficient, save money and beat their competitors to getting stories, making for an all around better newsroom.
3. Sandra Sperber
Sandra Sperber is a video reporter for Spiegel Online, a German news website. Sperber launched a mobile video project for Spiegel about the refugee crisis in Germany in 2015, where she and 14 other journalists used only smart phones to videotape every aspect of the crisis in one day. The team was able to cover “the situation at the border, German classes, refugee camps, and neo-nazi protests” all in the course of a day. The project was a learning experience for the journalists, and Sperber realized how quickly they were able to gather material, while still having professional quality.
From educating others on how to be mobile journalists, to setting up completely mobile newsrooms, to accurately depicting a complex crisis in the course of a day, mobile journalism has streamlined the reporting process and allowed it to flourish in places where it was once kept under wraps.