iPhone reporting mobile
Credit: Image by Mark Hakansson

The BBC is likely to feature an increasing amount of video produced on mobile in the near future, according to smartphone trainer Marc Settle.

Speaking at an Online News Association (ONA) event in London last week, Settle, a trainer at the BBC College of Journalism, drew a correlation between the amount of video filmed using smartphones and a growing appetite from audiences for viewing video on mobile.

"Much more content, particularly for online, would be delivered from iPhones and other smartphones in the months and years to come simply because the demand and the consumption on mobile devices of video is going through the roof as well," he said.

Settle has trained around 800 BBC journalists to film and edit on smartphones, and said mobile reporting is having a big impact on the organisation's journalism.

"It means that we can get content at a much smaller cost to the license fee payer," he said.

In the case of breaking news, having journalists trained in mobile reporting can "mean the difference between getting content on air and it not appearing at all", he added, explaining that the smartphone is "the next best thing" when a TV camera is not available.

As an example of where smartphone training at the BBC has really paid off, Settle highlighted a court case the outlet had covered with only one camera crew at the scene.

The team did not know which exit the defendant would use to leave the building, and so put the camera crew at one exit and a producer with an iPhone outside another.

[Mobile] certainly changes all kinds of elements of journalism and part of that is absolutely newsgathering.Kate Day, The Telegraph
"The iPhone got the footage which meant it was able to be broadcast," he said.

However, the majority of news packages broadcast for main news bulletins will still be filmed by dedicated camera crews "for quite some time", Settle said.

Speaking at the same event, The Telegraph's director of digital content Kate Day said it was important for newsrooms to also think about how mobile could affect context in which readers and viewers experience the news.

Unlike reading a newspaper or watching television, where the audience has little control over what the next story or video package will be, getting news online means "you have to have chosen to click and you can click away at any point", Day said.

The content itself has to grab you. It has to be 'that moment'.Kate Day, The Telegraph
While The Telegraph has trained its reporters to film with smartphones, the outlet has also been trying to get to the bottom of what people want to see online, and particularly on their phones.

"The text around the content has to be incredibly motivational," said Day.

"The content itself has to grab you. It has to be 'that moment', so now our focus with reporters is much more around getting those clips."

She said the most-watched clips filmed on a mobile phone at The Telegraph were not "particularly polished" but showed a part of the story audiences wanted to see.

Instead of filming and editing a TV package on their smartphones, Telegraph reporters are advised not to worry about scene setting, but about capturing a moment of action.

So what can help a reporter know when to get their smartphone out of their pocket and start filming to get "that moment"?

When considering what footage might be of interest to audiences, journalists should ask themselves 'why would I share this?', said Day, and also think about what they might say in a tweet about the video.

With more than half of traffic to most major news sites now coming from mobile, Day also said it is important for newsrooms to keep mobile in mind "at the point of commission rather than at the end of the process".
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