iPhone 5
Credit: Image by Alexander Kirch, Dreamtime.com
Ireland's national broadcaster RTE is to issue 'grab bags' of kit for iPhone reporting, containing iPhone accessories such as a tripod, lenses and microphones.

The TV and radio broadcaster has already issued 120 iPhones to reporters, and will now hand out 15 kit bags to help journalists use the smartphones to shoot and edit broadcast-quality video audio and images, plus livestream footage, Glen Mulcahy, production development manager for news at RTE, told Journalism.co.uk.

Mulcahy, who trains and blogs about mobile journalism, has selected the kit for the "grab bags".

"It is a solution that will allow someone to shoot some video content that's stable, edit it within the phone and send pictures from the phone by FTP so they are not compressed as they are if you send them by email," he said.

By February or March next year we should have 15 journalists in the field who are full MoJos Glen Mulcahy, RTE
The equipment will also enable reporters to livestream video, with return sound so they can hear the studio, and use Luci Live, which turns a smartphone into a broadcasting device feeding quality audio directly into a radio studio.

The cost of the equipment in each bag is around €1,000 (£800) and "does pretty much the full suite of what a journalist needs to be able to do in the field", Mulcahy said, explaining that it will help RTE cover more stories.

RTE has between 30 and 40 journalists in the field every day, with 10 based in the regions. The broadcaster has 15 camera crews who "can't be in two places at once", Mulcahy said.

"We are missing stories and the online news outlets here are beating us in spite of the fact we have an awful lot more resources than them."

The aim is therefore to "empower" all journalists with the skills that enable them "to shoot, at the very least, a short 30-second sequence of pictures that can be used with a voiceover on air or put up online as effectively a teaser for the news package that will be broadcast later in the day".

Mulcahy also wants to ensure that all reporters "have the ability to go live into any radio show or, if it's a breaking news story, into any TV show – all from their iPhone".

Ireland is also due to get 4G mobile coverage. "Once that comes on stream, I think that will be very achievable," Mulcahy said.

"By February or March next year we should have 15 journalists in the field who are full MoJos [mobile journalists]. They may not adopt the title but certainly their workflow system should allow them to send edited pictures into us and live video.

"It's pretty exciting times, right at the cusp of technology meeting the requirements that we have."

Each kit bag includes:
  • Lens adaptor
  • Tripod and bag
  • Lapel microphone
  • Hand held mic
  • Shot gun mic
  • XLR mic adaptors
  • Rechargeable battery case
  • Mifi mobile broadband
  • Lighting

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