Twenty general reporters have been handed iPhones

Credit: Image by BeauGiles on Flickr. Some rights reserved

The Guardian has given 20 of its general reporters iPhones in a bid to "take advantage" of the latest mobile photography and video technology to "supplement" the news outlet's existing video output.

The trial saw Guardian reporters handed iPhones a few weeks ago, and since then around eight or nine pieces of output have resulted from this, according to national editor Dan Roberts.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk he said the Guardian has been talking about "trying to equip more of our news reporters with iPhones" for a while, and is using this trial to decide whether it is something they want to roll out more widely.

Roberts added that the Guardian wants "to take advantage of technology that exists now, not just for still pictures but also video quality on iPhones is increasingly high".
He said that while the Guardian has its own multimedia team and specialist video producers, when it comes to the ability to send out camera crews it is "never going to be the BBC or rival broadcasters".

But with reporters often the first on the scene at news events, the Guardian decided to trial giving iPhones to 20 of its reporters, and also trained them in how to use the phones most effectively.

Roberts said the news outlet is "not aiming for broadcast quality in footage and editing" with the trial, but that "it's very much designed to supplement rather than replace what we already do with video".

This could range from "extended vox pops" through to footage that can be handed over to the multimedia team to "put in a more polished film", he added.

He does not ever imagine this form of multimedia reporting will replace stills photographers or video staff, but instead fit in "somewhere in between".

He also highlighted that there are some obstacles to overcome first, such as the cost of providing reporters with the device.

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