While traditional news stories do a decent job in general of covering breaking news, mobile journalism (covered by “mobile journalists,” AKA “MOJOs”) is made for the job. With just a smartphone, camera and/or laptop, one MOJO can effectively cover news in the field as it evolves in real time.
One highly-publicized breaking news story being covered by a MOJO is the ongoing Greek bailout crisis, specifically the Eurozone bailout negotiations which began Monday and are now underway in Brussels, Belgium.With just a few weeks to go before Greece must strike a new bailout deal with the European Union or risk the European Central Bank’s withdrawal of about €60 billion in guarantees and assistance to struggling Greek banks, all eyes are on the Eurozone.
The Guardian‘s business and finance MOJO Graeme Wearden provides live, up-to-the-minute coverage of the Greek bailout crisis by live tweeting and blogging regular–and at times, constant–updates from the Brussels summit. His posts are rich with embedded tweets, photos and screenshots that help tell the story of the negotiations.
While the hard-data posts like the former provide his audience with a peek into the Greek bailout negotiations’ real-time implications on the Eurozone economy, lighter posts like the latter up the entertainment factor of Wearden’s piece. When it comes to MOJO, a mix of these two types of blog post styles–heavy and light–can help keep an audience hooked on a story.
Who’d want to follow a blow-by-blow, fact-only rundown of government officials’ discussions on financial policies? The answer is NO ONE, because that would be boring. Though the Eurozone talks are incredibly important in that they impact virtually everyone participating in the global economy, the public won’t tune into live coverage on the topic unless it’s easy to understand, energetic and appealing to look at.
There is a lot to look at in Wearden’s live coverage besides tweets and screenshots. His use of photography in particular is a tad prolific, but it does this story good. Seeing photos of the prominent officials involved in the negotiations allows his audience to put faces to names, helping to humanize their likenesses. The audience can see moments the officials’ emotions: anxiety, disappointment, anger, disappointment…. Though already newsworthy, this story becomes more relevant to the public with its visual human element.
Another benefit to covering breaking news events via mobile journalism is that the medium facilitates immediate audience engagement–which is something traditional print journalism can’t do. In his story on the Greek bailout negotiations, Wearden makes use of sharing “buttons” below each post that, with the simple click of a mouse or tap of a finger, allow people to distribute his coverage via Facebook, Twitter, email, LinkedIn and Google+. Further, below the live blog is a comment box in which Wearden’s audience may voice their reactions to his work. Below the comment box is a running list of others’ comments.
The ability to post comments allows a MOJO’s audience to interact with one another and the MOJO him/herself. This further boosts the relevancy of a MOJO’s work in their audience’s lives, as those that share and/or comment on a live blog insert themselves in the story. Suddenly, they have a stake in what happens…and this keeps them hooked.