In our Throwback Thursday series, we take a look at what the key figures in media were thinking in the past, based on the Journalism.co.uk archive, and how those issues can be related to the current challenges and opportunities that dominate the conversation about the digital media landscape.
Read the rest of the series here, including a special on quotes from the first two newsrewired digital journalism events organised by Journalism.co.uk in 2010.
This week, we go back to November 2007, when Reuters began experimenting with mobile journalism, BBC News unveiled its integrated newsroom, and a survey from University of Central Lancashire looked at the state of online video production at newspapers.
Reuters was gearing up for HD video in mobile journalism
A decade ago, Reuters was exploring the possibility of partnering with Nokia to develop equipment specifically for mobile journalists.
The organisation had started introducing mobile journalism ('mojo') by equipping reporters with a 'lightweight videophone kit' to produce and file stories in the field. Reuters saw mobile technology as a way to add to its traditional reporting capabilities, as opposed to replacing them.
"(...) We can see a time, probably not that far out, I'm sure less than five maybe even three years out, when mobile phones could have HD video capability and they could have extremely powerful VPUs and keyboards," Nic Fulton, then chief scientist at Reuters and now principal research engineer at CISRA, said about the organisation's plans at the time.
Mobile journalism has since become common practice for many news organisations, some of which use it to shoot footage that airs on TV. For example in 2016, RTÉ broadcast The Collectors, a documentary shot entirely on an iPhone in 4K resolution, and some BBC journalists have used mobile devices to produce packages for BBC London's 6pm and 10pm news bulletins.
A revamped multimedia newsroom for BBC News
The BBC unveiled a new multimedia newsroom, which brought production of news for radio, TV and online under the same umbrella.
The aim was to invest more in on-demand news, produce more video and audio content for the web, as well as for mobile platforms, and avoid 'duplication in newsgathering and production' across the broadcaster's different mediums.
Peter Horrocks, then head of the multimedia newsroom and now the vice-chancellor of The Open University, explained the changes in a post on the BBC Editors blog, asking readers for their opinion on whether BBC output online should overlap with than on the radio or TV.
"We could concentrate resources on developing the most significant and original stories in greater depth. However the downside could be a narrowing of the range of stories we cover, with less coverage that is distinctive and tailored for each medium," he wrote.
The BBC has been making efforts to diversify its coverage by enabling readers to shape what topics are being reported, and involving them in the process. Using a tool called Hearken, the broadcaster's UGC hub invites the audience to ask questions about the issues they want to find out more about, that the BBC is not tackling or covering enough.
'Newspapers should not hold back the pace of change online'
At a Society of Editors conference in November 2007, the editor of Timesonline discussed the importance of newspapers keeping up with the changes in technology and the behaviour of news consumers.
Anne Spackman, who is now chief executive at Career Ready, said Google was "the number one topic of conversation at News Corp" and that the technology company was the "biggest influence on the news business".
"Digital evolves extremely fast, it wasn't that long ago that our websites represented our newspapers on the computer screen," she told delegates at the conference.
"We have to be careful that in our rush to integrate, which is driven as much by business reasons as by reasons of journalism, that we don't hold back the pace of change."
Online video slowed down by 'lack of production experience'
In 2007, Andy Dickinson, senior lecturer in digital and online journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, surveyed more than 50 newspaper journalists about online video production.
He found that the amount of time taken to edit a video varied between one and eight hours depending on the producer's level of experience, which seemed to "slow things down" for newspapers.
The study also showed video roles in newsrooms were not clearly defined, with shooting and editing often assigned to the same person. Furthermore, the format was mostly used for features, as opposed to breaking news reporting.
The video strategies employed by news organisations have changed considerably since. In the US, several outlets have 'pivoted to video', driven in part by the inclination of platforms to favour this format, and livestreaming has become more widespread in breaking news scenarios, bring its own set of challenges and ethical considerations.
See you next week for more Throwback Thursday! Do you remember any predictions that never came to pass, or any quotes that were spot on from 'back in the day'? Tweet us at @journalismnews.
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