Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The reporter’s riot-coverage kit: the best social, mobile and multimedia tools for live broadcasting

Mobile phones and social media aren’t just perfect for organising riots, they’re pretty handy for covering them too

Here are some ideas on the best tools to use, with links to other suggestions and tutorials in how to operate with them

Video: Bambuser

First things first – you’ll want to broadcast live video from the scene

If you’re not in a wifi hotspot you’ll find most of the in-phone video apps struggle to broadcast.
Bambuser can still connect.
Here’s a technical explanation of how it does that, from the Shiny Shiny tech site: “Bambuser scales the quality of the broadcast to the strength of the connection. On fast connections it will push out high quality video at a full 35 frames per second, but on weaker connections it will drop frames but keep sending the video out resulting in jerkier but still continous broadcasting.
“One particularly smart feature is a recognition of key frames. So Bambuser won't drop just any frames when it's cutting quality to save the broadcast - it will try and drop ones it thinks are less important while keeping ones - keyframes - that it recognises as more significant. For example when the picture changes noticeably it will recognise the first shot of a new image as a key frame and make sure that is kept in.
"“Other video streaming apps don't have this capability."
And it can broadcast to your blog, facebook, to Twitter or to and RSS feed.
For more on video, audio and text reporting on the ground, go here:

Publishing platforms: Cover it Live

If you work for a media organisation or student publication, you’ll want your content on that platform, but how do you get it there instantly? 
The Cover It Live Live liveblog publishing platform can take content in all media, and the player can be embedded in any website or blog.
And with its app on your phone you can broadcast all media direct to it from the scene.

Others to consider

Posterous and more are covered here:
There’s an overview of live blogging here:

Curating the emerging story: Storify

Storytelling with Storify is something you need to learn to do well

They give this advice in their blog:
Organise, explain, and add context 
”Narration is the most important aspect of storytelling. As the author it is your job to guide the viewer from start to finish, just as you would if you were talking. Take full advantage of the Storify text feature to explain why elements appear where they do and what they mean.

”Without some kind of context, it’s easy for stories to become a jumble of Tweets, photos and videos. As the writer, think about how you can add context to the materials you’ve embedded inside your story.
Story flow 
”When you begin writing a story, think about what story you want to tell, and how many elements you need to communicate this. One tactic is to start off by writing an interesting lede,[intro] choosing a compelling visual element or tweet, and branching off from there.”
There's a full guide to using Storify here:

Other ideas: Bubbleby and Foursquare

Bubbleby allows you to create content round a spot on a map – so you could build a multi-location picture of a town and the incidents that are happening there. Updated over time, these create a record of the situation.
There's an overview of location-based content for local journalism here:


Now it’s easy to create a page for your journalism on Foursquare. On it you can post tips. While Foursquare is designed to recommend venues, you could use to to warn of danger at them.
There's more on using Foursquare for journalism here:

Creating timelines Dipity and Vuvox

Dipity is great for creating multimedia timelines fast

And you can embed them anywhere. There's a guide to doing that here:

Vuvox is great for more creative multimedia visualisations

And finally – don’t get hurt

There’s a lot of sage advice in this post, drawn from the NUJ and others

It's about how to prepare to cover a riot, and how to conduct yourself while you do so

For more on current topics for socila, mobile, multimedia journalism check out the free MMJ Journalism Summer school here

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