Scouring the Media

Making media: two tools to make an on-the-go journalist successful.

Posted on: December 2, 2010

Mobile journalism, or “mojo,” should be an idea all journalism students understand and apply. Journalists must be prepared for news no matter where they are–journalists should know that news never stops. Here are two things that many journalists could use in order to find a lead and work from there.

Mashable writer Greg Ferenstein wrote an article and recommended a list of tools crucial for mobile journalism. Number one on that list: voice recorders.

One of the key elements of mojo, as Ferenstein noted, is a voice recorder. Voice recorders are important for journalists to have because, without them, a journalist’s story or quotes may not be 100 percent accurate. Many smartphones come with a recording application, or are able to download a recording application from the internet. Using a cell phone as a recorder also has an upside: they’re also familiar to people–as Ferenstein wrote, “cell phones are so ubiquitous that they seem less intrusive than bulky recording equipment”–and therefore not as frightening as typical recorders to the person or people being interviewed.

Mashable interviewed Frank Barth Nilsen of, who said he finds cell phones to be less menacing. “It’s not so frightening to be interviewed by a man or woman with only a cell phone,” Nilsen said. “It’s small and most people are used to being photographed by a cell phone.”

Not only is a recording device good for accuracy, but it’s also perfect for initial reactions. At the scene of the story, journalists with recorders can gather information, interview witnesses, and describe the surroundings immediately instead of waiting to write it all down. also suggested an iPhone app for all journalists called SpotCrime.

“Users enter an address and the app plots recent crimes, including burglary, theft, assault, on a Google map,” the article reads.

SpotCrime's map feature.

With SpotCrime, journalists know where crime is happening as it happens. Although professional journalists covering the police beat have police frequencies buzzing at them all day, SpotCrime is better for amateur journalists who want to know where to be and when to be there.

By using a recorder and SpotCrime, journalists can have the upper hand in knowing where something’s happening and by being prepared with a recorder to have a record of what happens next. Although there are many other tools crucial to being successful with mojo, a recorder and a map of crime in any city can give journalists an upper hand in getting any lead they seek out.


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