Journalist employed in a modern editorial office must be a very good specialist with quite extensive knowledge. Experience in the profession does not count here, but above all knowledge and familiarity with technology. It often happens that newly hired people have much more knowledge in the field of the Internet, various tricks related to it, than most people in the editorial office.
Publishers and editors-in-chief were initially distrustful of such employees because they did not fully understand what their job was. At the beginning of changes in editorial offices, media owners began to place greater emphasis on online editors. These specialists were perceived by their colleagues as people that do nothing, sitting all day and “playing games” on social networks instead of working. When the first successes of sites, such as awards or a high number of readers, appeared, the editors became interested in the work of popularly known as “onliners”. It happened mainly through regular audits and meetings of the most important people from individual editorial offices at symposia. In order to brag about, bosses had to understand what and why they could. Then the role of online editors and community managers increased dramatically. In this article, I will describe the first three tools. I will add more in the next posts.
A mobile phone for a journalist
One of the most important, almost mandatory items for journalists is a mobile phone. This is for a very simple reason. A professional camera or a camera with a microphone take up a lot of space, and the phone is almost always with us. If we come across a sudden event, we do not have to go for the equipment, and we can quickly record what is happening around. However, it cannot be an ordinary, traditional telephone. For several years, editorial offices have been using equipment from various brands with a good camera and filming function. Now it may seem obvious, but in my editorial office in 2008, we had one better phone – Nokia N82 with a 5 megapixel camera. In those days it was something and quite expensive equipment.
There are situations where photos taken with the phone end up in the newspaper, and films are almost always published on portals. Professional photojournalists are also more and more willing to use this type of equipment in their work. It is true that they did not replace expensive cameras with phones, but when going to a given event, the first thing they do is take and send a photo to the editorial office so that they can quickly publish it on their website. In mid-2009, the Regional Media Group designed and put to use a special application called Mobilny Dziennik Obywatelski (Mobile Citizen Journalist).
MODO allowed you to create news using a mobile phone. The application was initially intended to serve civic journalists associated with MM Moje Miasto (Regional news portals with social modules). It turned out, however, that the new technology worked best only with the most expensive phone models at the time, which even editorial offices did not have. With time, when cheaper and better mobile phones appeared on the market, the MoDO project became popular, but among journalists and photojournalists. After installing the application on your device, you could quickly attach one or more photos, a video, or even a sound and write the appropriate comment or the entire text. After pressing a few keys, multimedia were transferred to a special page, which local editorial offices had access to, and they themselves received an e-mail notification. It was a very convenient and, above all, a very quick way to publish news in front of the competition.
Journalists used company servers and payed nothing for data transmission. Readers were billed by the operator, unless they used the Wi-Fi network. The next versions of the program were available for smartphones and tablets. In addition to their basic function, they allowed you to view news on the website and send the material as an MMS or e-mail. They were much more advanced than the original MoDO.
It is also worth paying attention to the fact that cell phone technology is developing very quickly. Only a few years ago, in order to take a picture with a quality that is terrible for the present times, additional equipment had to be attached. Today, the editorial office has smartphones at its disposal, which more and more people use. Thanks to generally available applications, which can also be created by users, you can quickly record a movie in 4k quality, take a photo not much worse than that from the camera, and mark the place of the photo on a map, or even record and edit audio, or write a blog. Almost every person now has the tools of many professions, and they are in their own pockets.
An amateur camera for a journalist
Another item that can be found in a modern editorial office is a camera, or rather a few cameras. In addition, there is additional equipment, such as microphones, a special cube for a microphone with the editorial logo, stands, and programs for processing the recorded video. Most often, however, the equipment is very amateur, equipped with basic functions and of poor quality. The editorial office of Dziennik Wschodni has a modern HD camera and a good-quality microphone. The editorial office of Radio Lublin uses a digital camera to record the film. At the event, the reporter takes photos and a short film, which then goes to the website of Radio Lublin without editing. Gazeta Wyborcza Lublin does not have a camera, it uses mobile phones and private digital SLRs with filming function for recordings. In turn, “Kurier Lubelski” invested in equipment in 2010. The editorial office purchased a professional digital camera, high-quality microphone and stands. I myself use Sony a7S3 for shooting.
Most often, in order to relieve the editorial servers, the movies are uploaded to external websites such as YouTube. Editors that have their own players have to compress the recordings strongly, which significantly worsens their quality. According to the report “Audio and video on the web 2011” prepared for Onet by Gemius, it is the image and sound quality, functionality and convenience of the website that are the most important for Internet users. More than half of the respondents think so. On the other hand, the least important features include contests, the ability to rate and comment on watched films, and other elements that require the viewer’s interaction .
It is also worth mentioning that most of the people who “produce” videos in editorial offices are journalists or online editors who have never dealt with this technology before. The training and learning itself consists in the fact that the editors receive the equipment, and then the goals for which, among others, the number of films to be made and such a journalist has to learn everything for himself. From using the language of the film, through the method of shooting, composition of shots, editing or post-production. There is not enough time and money for training. That is why it is very rare on local newspaper portals to hear an off-screen reporter’s voice (sound from behind the frame) known from almost every TV news. In the Lubelskie Voivodeship, out of over several hundred films posted on the Internet by all editorial offices of newspapers, only a few of them had off-voice. Stand-ups known from television are also rare.
Google webmaster tools for journalists
All website developers make every effort to ensure that their sites are ranked as high as possible in the world’s most popular search engine. This is because Internet users, when looking for specific information, focus on the first ten results that appeared after entering a specific password. If we want to find information on a topic of interest to us and we do not specify the entered password properly, we will see millions of pages on which a given word has ever been used. The trick of webmasters and website positioning specialists is to predict the mindset of Internet users and optimize a given website so that Google recognizes it as a value.
This way it will reward a particular website against billions of others. The higher our website is under a given keyword in the ranking, the more Internet users will go to it and will be added to the website statistics. There is something to fight for, because, according to a report by Technorati, a billion people used Google in May 2011 alone. Therefore, entire websites, articles, photos are built and created, in a way, not for the readers, but for the search engine, which is why, for example, headlines in newspapers differ from those posted on portals. Google has prepared several tools that, if used well, can be very helpful in the work of modern editorial offices.