Prothom Daily
Credit: Image by Jamil Khan

Journalists at daily Banglasdeshi newspaper Prothom Alo have been using Android devices to introduce mobile journalism (mojo) skills into their workflow in a bid to increase the amount of video coverage they produce, while improving the speed at which they report on stories for their online daily audience of seven million readers.

Tarek Mahmud, special correspondent, Prothom Alo, explained that reporters wanted to stay ahead of the curve and ensure they were up to date with new ways to tell stories in the digital age.

"It's a great way to make our coverage more interesting and authentic, Mahmud said.

"For example, our sports desk are currently covering the English v Bangladesh test series, and we have been able to use our smartphones to provide video footage from press conferences and matches, so that our online audience can connect with the events."

The journalists, who work across different desks in the print publication and website, are mainly concentrating on producing news packages and behind the scenes footage from events for the website, but have also been producing Facebook Lives in a bid to engage with wider audiences.

In July this year, 27 Prothom Alo reporters undertook a three-day mobile journalism course with Jamil Khan, journalism lecturer and founder of the Mobile Journalism Institute, where they were taught the basic skills of shooting, editing and publishing content with a smartphone.

"We had a range of ages in the class, but they were all excited to learn, which was refreshing to see as there are still many people that don't understand that professional footage and high-quality journalism can be produced with your smartphone," Khan, Moscow correspondent at Prothom Alo, said.

"The majority of reporters used Android devices to shoot as they are a more affordable option in Bangladesh, so although we looked at iMovie, I put a particular focus on how to edit with Kinemaster.

"I wasn't surprised that some of them found the editing of news packages difficult at the beginning because the devices are so small – but it takes time."

Indeed, Mahmud explained that print journalists at the publication have struggled with the editing, finding it too time-consuming to produce video packaged while taking notes and filing copy for the paper.

"I have found that if a journalist is working to produce content solely for the website or social media, it is great. But when you are there to write news stories for the paper, it is more difficult as you have so much more to think about, such as the framing of your shot, the battery life, the audio, and of course the time to put the video together," Mahmud said.

"It's so new to us, and we are trying to do as much of it as we can. I've been doing more and more mobile journalism myself, and have even been practising with different editing and filming apps at home with my family."

Mahmud noted that in order for Prothom Alo reporters to continue to use their mojo skills in the future, the publisher will have to develop an organisational strategy to integrate it into their workflow.

"We are doing our best, and we are starting to see the benefit of it, so I hope more and more reporters will look to do this in their work."

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