Mobile Reporting: What To Do Right, and What To Do Wrong

On February 10-12, Digital Entertainment World (DEW) held a three-day conference in Los Angeles that was “dedicated to the monetization of digital content” and included panel discussions, feature presentations, and over 300 keynote speakers . 

Saba Hamedy, a journalist for the Los Angeles Times, was there to cover the action. Through her use of Twitter, Hamedy’s coverage kept her readers informed.

What she did right as a mobile journalist –

1. She set the scene for her readers using photographs, not only of the venue (which provided an accurate visual of the event’s magnitude), but also of the itinerary – which beat trying to condense it into 140 characters. This took care of the “Who, What, Where, and When” of her story with only two Tweets.

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Hamedy then continued to fill in the “Why” by paraphrasing the notable speaker’s key points, pulling informative quotes, and updating readers on the event proceedings as they happened in real time. She also made sure to use #DEW2015 after each of her Tweets, encouraging the digital community to follow along.

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For more information on the #sonyhack check out this article in the New York Times, written by the late David Carr.

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What she did wrong as a mobile journalist –

  1. Transparency –

Where was the video? Photos of the keynotes? Conferences that revolve around lectures are understandably difficult to shoot, as photos of open mouthes and gesturing hands may not be the most compelling, but in this case videos are a must. Was Hamedy not allowed to take video? Perhaps she wasn’t even permitted to photograph the presentations? As readers, we don’t know. If taping/photographing was prohibited, Hamedy should have been transparent in her reporting.

  1. Consistency –

On the first day of the conference, Hamedy churned out 22 tweets that were informative enough to make the reader feel as if they were actually participating in the event. On the second day, she wrote three. On the third day, she wrote eight, including a poorly framed photo that added virtually nothing of value to the report. If a journalist is assigned to cover an event, they are required to do just that. A lack of consistency communicates to readers that if the reporter has a flippant attitude toward the subject they are instructed to cover, the reader shouldn’t care either.

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