Friday, March 11, 2005

Next generation (TV) reporters?

We all saw the satellite phone images from Iraq. Jerky and expensive -- but we all were riveted.

Now, Norwegian state broadcaster NRK has upped the ante a bit for domestic transmissions -- last weekend it broadcast video reports of a ski race from a mobile phone.

The AP reports that NRK outfitted a reporter with a third-generation (3G) mobile phone "and sent him off with 15,000 skiers who started the race. He stopped six times to provide commentary and images from his perspective of the world's oldest, longest and biggest ski race."

But here's what reporters of all kinds (with the move toward convergence, not just TV) need to pay attention to:

NRK said images were as good as those transmitted by satellite telephone from conflict or catastrophe areas but that 3G was cheaper and easier to use.

The broadcaster said it will consider using the technology, especially for fast-breaking news and sports, when there is a reporter or witness at the scene but no camera crew.

The era of the "techno journalist," "backpack journalist," or whatever we want to call it may be growing closer more quickly than we think.
For more on the multiskilled journalist, see this from the Convergence Newsletter, this from OJR, and this counterpoint from OJR (written by Newsplex trainer Martha Stone). (Our point at Newsplex has always been that the concept of a backpack journalist as master of all trades is misguided, but that journalists will also have to be familiar with a much broader array of ways to do their jobs and present their material.)

(See this earlier about a local TV station advertising for a "backpack journalist.")


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