Citizen Journalists: The Mainstream Media Are Catching Up!

Recently a BBC Northampton radio reporter filmed a five-part “mini documentary” using just his iPhone – a first for BBC local or network radio.

Photography by Simon Yeo

Rob Adcock used his phone instead of his Sony video camera to create two-minute videos for the drivetime shows Facebook page, “to see how it would work.”

Using an additional microphone for better audio quality, a key factor in great documentary making, he chose not to use a tripod.

“The microphone on an iPhone isn’t very good so we miked the interviewees up separately,” he explained,

“What I did was use a lapel mike from an old online kit and sync the audio with the pictures afterwards”.

He said it “didn’t take a long time by any stretch of the imagination,” and although he has some basic video editing skills – he believes that anyone can produce professional looking video’s with an iPhone.

Using everyday equipment such as smartphones and tablets to document and report is still a relatively new phenomenon in the mainstream media world – but has been used by citizen journalists for almost a decade.

Journalists reporting on events such as terrorist attacks, riots, floods and mega events such as the Olympics and Commonwealth Games have increasingly been featuring content from the public – getting videos, pictures and audio from hard to reach areas and when their are too many events going on at the one time.

Photography By Cameron J King

These citizen journalists brought a new type of quality into the news – adding that human touch to the story and bringing a new variety of multimedia.

Picking up your smartphone, snapping a picture, taking a short video or even interviewing someone very quickly on apps such as audioboo has become so simple that it looks like the mainstream are finally following suit – only a few years behind….

However, radio stations such as Real Radio are already training politicians to use audioboo to save time sending a reporters out to chat to them – a step in the right direction.

Citizen journalists watch out, the mainstream media are catching up.

And Rob’s advice to his fellow journalists: “Patience and a steady hand!”

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