The Mobile Security Survival Guide for Journalists from SaferMobile helps reporters better understand the risks inherent in the use of mobile technology. The guide covers both local journalists and those on assignment in another country. As someone working with sensitive information, mobile communications are inherently insecure and expose journalists working in sensitive environments to risks that aren't easy to detect or overcome. This guide is designed to help navigate these challenges. (It should be noted that this guide does not guarantee safety. Rather, it's a foundational resource to understand and minimize the risks of mobile communication in the field.) The...more »
Idea Lab is a group blog by innovators who are reinventing community news for the Digital Age.
Each Idea Lab blogger is a winner of the Knight News Challenge grant to reshape community news.Learn more about the Knight News Challenge »
In Syria, many activists and citizen journalists fill a media void and contribute to the global conversation on the uprising there by capturing and sharing their own footage. They're organized, trained, smart, strategic, and promote media -- much of it mobile -- with a purpose. Mass demonstrations and state violence continue in Syria. Authorities are largely banning foreign reporters and have arrested Syrian journalists and bloggers. Outside of the country, many news outlets that report on the major events there cite "Syrian activists" as the source of information. Day-to-day events in cities around the country come to our attention largely...more »
In the Horn of Africa, Somalia makes headlines, but often only because of drought, famine, crisis and insecurity. Al Jazeera launched Somalia Speaks to help amplify stories from people and their everyday lives in the region -- all via SMS. Somalia Speaks is a collaboration between Souktel, a Palestinian-based organization providing SMS messaging services, Ushahidi, Al Jazeera, Crowdflower, and the African Diaspora Institute. "We wanted to find out the perspective of normal Somali citizens to tell us how the crisis has affected them and the Somali diaspora," Al Jazeera's Soud Hyder said in an interview. Added Souktel's Jacob Korenblum: "The...more »
MobileActive recently posted a call for guest posts on its site. A version of this guest post, which was written by Janet Gunter, originally appeared on MobileActive.org's Mobile Media Toolkit blog. MobileActive chose to highlight this piece because it demonstrates how a free newspaper in Mozambique is using mobile tech to inform and engage readers, and help shape the paper's identity. For three years, the @Verdade newspaper in Mozambique has been delivering the news for free to Maputo's outer neighborhoods, mostly large, informal settlements. The idea, according the paper's founder, social entrepreneur Erik Charas, is to bring information to those...more »
In Uganda, where many lack access to the Internet, people can engage with local radio stations to make informed choices and hold their leaders accountable. Using SMS and a new tool, TRAC FM, listeners can respond to poll questions such as: What service delivery should be a priority: health care, education, security, sanitation or transport? TRAC FM was the focus of a larger case study we did for the Mobile Media Toolkit. The Mobile Media Toolkit is a project of MobileActive.org. The Toolkit provides how-to guides, wireless tools, and case studies on how mobile phones can (and are) being used...more »
Drumroll, please! MobileActive.org is pleased to introduce the Mobile Media Toolkit, the newest project that's all about Making Media Mobile. The Mobile Media Toolkit helps you make sense of the growing role of mobile tech in media. The Toolkit provides how-to guides, wireless tools, and case studies on how mobile phones can (and are) being used for reporting, news broadcasting, and citizen media. We cover it all, from basic feature phones to the latest smartphone applications. It's an exciting week for us here at MobileActive.org as we launch the Mobile Media Toolkit. We have been interviewing people, researching projects, and...more »
For the largest civil society media platform in Tanzania, back talk is good. In fact, talking back is the objective of a new service at Femina HIP called Speak Up! The service aims to increase access of marginalized youth and rural communities and promote a participatory, user-driven media scene in Tanzania. Femina HIP is the largest civil society media platform in the country, outside of commercial mainstream media. Products include print magazines, television shows, a radio program, and an interactive website. Fema magazine, for example, has a print run of over 170,000 copies and is distributed to every rural...more »
Activists, rights defenders and journalists use mobile devices and communications for reporting, organizing, mobilizing and documenting. Mobile gadgets provide countless benefits -- relatively low cost, increased efficiencies, vast reach -- but they also present specific risks. Mobile communication is inherently insecure and exposes you to risks that aren't easy to detect or overcome. SaferMobile is a project that aims to help people, including journalists and citizen reporters, assess and better protect themselves from mobile threats. The project launched with content and announced tools (currently in beta) in April, and development began in January. SaferMobile is a project of MobileActive.org. Understand...more »
Armed with a few Kodak Zi8 cameras, six HTC Wildfire mobile phones and expertise in training citizen journalists, Small World News is working to share stories from embattled Libya with the larger world. Small World News is on the ground in Benghazi training Libyans to capture and tell video stories of events in this volatile region. Along the way, the team has also captured footage that no other mainstream media outlet has been able to get, such as this video of opposition forces heading out to the front lines: MobileActive.org chatted late Wednesday night with Brian Conley, founder of Small...more »
Prabhas Pokharel contributed research and writing to this post. In a previous Idea Lab post, we described how to add location information to mobile content, including images and stories. For some reports, location information adds value, context, and interest to venue-specific reports. But today, we talk about how to remove that same location information. This is also detailed, step by step, in the screencast below. There are many reasons why one would not want to include location information on content or images, but at the top of the list is the need for security and privacy. For journalists, citizen reporters,...more »
The radio station WNYC is creating on-air and online stories using two things that are very familiar to people in the Northeastern United States: mobile phones and snow. A snowstorm over the holidays was the heaviest December snowfall in six decades. It dumped up to 20 inches in many parts of New York City. The story quickly became one of snow removal and how the city was not removing the snow as quickly as people had hoped. Jim Colgan and the WNYC newsroom wanted to get a sense of what was happening on the streets. Problem was, there was no...more »
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is three months into an interactive SMS service with its Radio Azadi service in Afghanistan that allows listeners to access content and participate in the program via mobile phone. Through the interactive SMS service, Radio Azadi is now able to send and receive SMS messages from subscribers. As a news organization, the main goal of RFE/RL is reaching an audience, according to Julian Knapp, RFE/RL's deputy communications director. "We want to make sure our content is available on whatever platform Afghans want to consume it on," Knapp said. The service allows listeners to become texters,...more »
Prabhas Pokharel contributed research and writing to this post. If you're a journalist or blogger, adding location information to your content can add value to your work. This kind of data can be of particular help to journalists who report on specific communities, reporters who create venue-specific multimedia, or citizen journalists who cover events in which location is relevant. Adding location information has many advantages. It provides more context. It also helps journalists and publishers find an interested audience because makes content more accessible for users searching for information regarding specific locations. Location information lends itself to aggregation, and content...more »
Prabhas Pokharel contributed research and writing to this article. For this post, we'd like to detail the different ways people and organizations are delivering audio content to mobile phones. Distributing audio content in this manner can help you reach new and increasingly mobile audiences. It can also be a great way to reach illiterate populations or others for whom written content is not suitable. There are many ways to deliver audio content to mobiles: Calling listeners, providing numbers for them to call, having mobile web- or app-accessible radio, or leveraging the radios that are included in many mobiles. This...more »
Prabhas Pokharel contributed research and writing to this article Many of today's mobile phones can capture video footage. This has enabled both trained journalists and citizen reporters to more easily capture footage and images that would have otherwise rarely been seen. The Polk Journalism Award in 2009, for example, was awarded to a video from Iran that was captured on a mobile phone. Today, more and more journalists are using mobile phones to record video and quickly transfer content to their newsrooms via mobile data connections. The good news for all of us is that you don't need a...more »
In Afghanistan, a documentary media company and an independent news agency have teamed up to integrate mobile phones and SMS into news reports. From election-day text messages to stories of homemade airplanes, they're demonstrating how a willingness to adapt mobile platforms to the landscape can contribute to a successful intersection of technology and media. Small World News is a documentary and new media company that provides tools to journalists and citizens around the world to tell stories about their lives. Pajhwok Afghan News is an independent news agency headquartered in Kabul with eight regional bureaus and a nationwide network of...more »
If a large truck illegally barrels through a neighborhood and no reporters are around to see it, does it make the news? It does if local residents with mobile phones can text truck sightings to a local public radio station. This is the premise behind a new pilot project called Sourcing Through Texting from a team at "The Takeaway" radio program. Sourcing Through Texting provides a way to connect citizens with journalists via mobile phones. The Takeaway is a co-production of Public Radio International and public radio station WNYC in collaboration with the BBC World Service, the New York Times,...more »
The devastating floods in Pakistan have been covered by trained reporters and mainstream media outlets around the world. Citizens, often on the front lines of the flood, have also been contributing thousands of reports though mobile phones, in part enabled by the citizen journalism service SeenReport.com. SeenReport (a name derived from "see 'n report") is a citizen journalism service through which users can submit photos, videos, and text accounts of news as it is happening via SMS, MMS, or email. SeenReport won a 2010 mBillionth award, a first-ever contest which recognizes mobile content in South Asia. (This YouTube video...more »
Two years ago, Bev Clark, the co-founder of Kubatana.net, was awarded a large grant in the Knight News Challenge for Freedom Fone, an open-source software platform for distributing news and information through interactive voice response (IVR) technology. Freedom Fone was officially launched (version 1.5) in late February of this year and has since been downloaded about 200 times, according Amy Saunderson-Meyer of Freedom Fone. (She blogs for Idea Lab and her most recent post, about Freedom Fone version 1.6, is here.) Freedom Fone leverages audio as a mobile function using IVR, a technology that allows a system to detect voice...more »
I think newspapers, blogs, and magazines should all be doing audio versions. I grew up enjoying and listening to audiobooks and now I don't have the same option for the short form content that I prefer to consume.
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