For Patrik Qvicker, video and mobile journalist at Sveriges Television (SVT), a phone and a professional wind cover over the microphone of a standard pair of headphones is all you need to tell a good story.
But he had trouble convincing his colleagues, who were used to working with camera crews and traditional equipment, and who were naturally very proud of their final video packages produced in this way.
In 2015, SVT broadcast only five clips produced on a mobile phone a month, but last year, they ran 1,000 a month. How did Qvicker change people’s minds about mobile journalism?
"For years I tried to convince people that you should use mobile because it’s a good toy," he said, speaking at RTE’s Mojocon event in Ireland yesterday (4 May).
"I have full respect for them because they want good pictures, good audio – they want perfect pictures.
"But you had 800 professional storytellers in a big media company who don’t tell stories, because they waited for the big cameras."
Qvicker was inspired by other mobile journalists to film everything on mobile and edit on the device.
He decided to produce stories that showed the advantages of mobile journalism, getting close to the subject and getting the materials out fast.
One story in particular, which included many close-ups, convinced other video journalists that they could get quality pictures from a smartphone. So SVT started changing its strategy to incorporate mobile journalism and teach the staff to see the smartphone as more than just a toy.
Masterclasses were organised to challenge journalists to learn how to film broadcast-quality pictures with a phone.
"This was the only way to convince people to come to the course," said Qvicker. "They had in mind that every shot is going to be broadcast."
SVT also created mobile journalism kits for the reporters, featuring all the essential equipment. Their set up includes room for hand warmers behind the phone, as devices can freeze after about four minutes in Sweden’s cold temperatures.
After the masterclasses, 115 mobile journalists became ambassadors for the new practice. "Now we have reached the geeks, but the other 800 people?"
To make mobile journalism more accessible to staff, SVT built an app called Starling that simplifies the process of filming and sending materials back to the newsroom straight from mobile.
The training was also expanded to include all journalists, in three phases: training inside individual stations, educating all editors, and masterclasses for reporters who are producing stories from the field.
Emergency station kits were also created to make “toys for everyone” available.
In 2016, 1,000 clips broadcast every month were filmed on mobile, but Qviker’s drive to promote mobile journalism in the newsroom has not ended.
“We have much to do with the storytelling. We can get even closer to the subject. So I still continue the mission that this [the mobile device] is the only thing you actually need to tell a good story.”
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