BBC develops custom iPhone app for live on-field journalism

| Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Within a matter of weeks, the BBC is set to roll out a new iOS app to its field journalists that will enable them to report live from the field using nothing but an iPhone. The app will allow reporters to use the iPhone to broadcast live video, audio, or other commentary in real time via a 3G connection on the field. This will make the iPhone even more useful to reporters, and marks a significant adoption of the device in a field typically requiring thousands of dollars worth of expensive video cameras and satellite transmission equipment.

Martin Turner, head of news gathering operations in the UK told Journalism.co.uk:

[quote]”Reporters have been using smartphones for a while now, but it was never good quality. You might do it when there was a really important story. Now it is beginning to be a realistic possibility to use iPhones and other devices for live reporting, and in the end, if you’ve got someone on the scene then you want to be able to use them. That capability is a really important one.”[/quote]

An amazing recent example of iPhone reporting came from the tornado disaster that hit Joplin, Missouri, in the United States. Brian Stelter, a reporter using his iPhone to record interviews, photos, videos, and tweets, produced some of the best-quality journalism coming out of that disaster. Stelter said the iPhone gave him a tremendous advantage over conventional reporting, and that it was in fact far less intrusive than traditional reporting methods. This is because people are used to seeing each other using smartphones, but tend to react in strange ways (sometimes violently) when a massive video setup and satellite gear is brought out with a big news truck. Brian said the iPhone allowed him to blend in and capture the surreal events while attracting very little attention. The 3G connection also allowed him to send his observations directly from his iPhone to the news room in New York City in real-time.

You can read a recap of his story here, Stelter’s blog post about it here, and read another reporter’s similar story here.

Brian Stelter’s blog post in particular is well worth reading. This is great news for mobile journalism.

Article Via TUAW

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