Pirkka Maksimainen, Media Management MA student, department of Culture and Media, Arcada UAS
Supervisor: Dr. Matteo Stocchetti Examiner: Dr. Mats Nylund
A few years ago, MTV started to replace their typical imagery in news stories with video clips. They also launched their first 24/7 web-based news channel, MTV Uutiset Live, in February 2019. These actions have immensely increased the need for video footage. Since reactivity and costs are essential elements of the ongoing editorial process, a large amount of the videos is produced practicing mobile journalism (mojo). During its first year on-air, the Live channel has proved to be very appealing to consumers. Ever since its launch, MTV News Live has been one of the most popular contents on MTV’s web service.
Mobile journalism is a form of digital storytelling where the primary device used for creating and editing images, audio, and video, is a smart phone. The need for mobile journalism has grown hand in hand with increased news consumption and a new kind of pressure on presenting news quickly. Compared to traditional heavy weighted video shooting equipment, mojo equipment has several benefits in terms of speed and cost.
The aim of the study was to examine the differences between mobile journalism and traditional TV broadcast journalism. I was curious to investigate if professional journalism can be acquired by using affordable tools, and how it alters the way the news story is told to the public.
The study was composed by using two methods, a literature review, and interviews. For my sample group, I tried to gather professionals from each step of a news workflow. Since I wanted to collect information concerning mojo as a developed phase of video journalism, I focused on MTV and YLE. The main theoretical framework of my study is the political economy of media (PEM), which studies the competition for control over media. The framework offered me well suited tools to analyze advantages and disadvantages of mobile journalism.
During the study, the true characteristics and possibilities of mojo became visible. What makes mobile journalism so intriguing, is that it is based on a commonly used tool, a smart phone, and its accessories and applications. It offers methods to create a finalized medium, covering the whole workflow from lens to screen. The low threshold of practicing mojo also has its side-effects, since all resulting end-products do not fill the steep criteria affiliated by journalistic media.
Since one of the key features of the media industry is the ability to take advantage of and to capitalize on technological advances, mobile journalism can be an appealing concept for companies to harness. The concept can offer very rapid ways to report current affairs. It requires less workforce and allows the creation of an extensive amount of media assets, which can easily be monetized.
The findings of the study conclude that while mobile journalism can improve reactivity and emotionality in news stories, it requires multi-skilling and -tasking from a journalist, which may reduce the costs but also overall quality. The reduced costs allow more people to participate in storytelling and can thus empower society. This however, may also lead into the creation of unnecessary videos and increased infotainment.
Using citizen-provided material in news broadcasts requires extra careful fact-checking. Therefore, practicing mojo emphasizes the significance of journalistic ethics. It is also worth noting, that currently practicing mobile journalism still has numerous issues in terms of reliability and operability.
I decided to pick my subject during a course named ’Knowledge creation and methodology’ and used the same topic in all of my writing assignments. This gave me a huge jump start even though the early drafts of my chapters were far from the finalized versions. I strongly encourage new students to bear in mind that an early start on your thesis allows you to further develop the goal of your study.
Another decision I made in the beginning was to get the time-consuming interview process going as soon as possible. During the study I learned the importance of choosing the right interviewees and especially the right interview questions. It also became clear to me that something that seems as simple as comparing two different types of equipment, is actually a scientific method that needs to follow certain guidelines. Therefore, I decided to discuss the relative differences of the two.
Personally, I learned a lot about scientific knowledge creation and how to implement study methods in practice. Concluding my study has given me the courage to help in developing mobile journalism in TV-broadcasting even further and has also allowed me to understand the possible disadvantages of mojo when it is pushed to its limits. Perhaps the main tenet could be that there is a rocky road leading from technological innovations to smooth hands-on practices and well-oiled workflows within newsrooms.
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