Juan Andres Muñoz, digital and social media director for CNN en Español, CNN's Spanish language operations, first came up with the concept a year ago: he wanted a portable production and editing studio, but one that had social media at its core.
His idea came to fruition under the name of CNN en Marcha (CNN on the move), and the project launched officially on Monday, unveiling two state-of-the-art vehicles equipped for social and mobile storytelling – "like a huge iPhone on wheels," Muñoz said.
"We believe in mobile reporting and doing this with consumer technology," he told Journalism.co.uk.
"We could have used our broadcast quality equipment, but we decided on purpose to use gadgets and products that people can actually buy themselves to prove you don't need super high quality things to do this kind of work."
The two vehicles – the larger one will be based on the East coast while the other will be on the West coast – were built in partnership with CNN en Español's sponsor for this project, car manufacturer Ram Promaster.
The larger of the two vehicles has space for three people: a producer, a reporter and the driver, who can also help out with the coverage.
Everything from filming to editing and the post-production process is to be done using the equipment and technology available in the vehicle, without requiring an actual full-scale studio.
The mobile studio has: a green screen; a large monitor that Muñoz called the "social media war room," for monitoring conversations trending on social platforms through Google Trends, Chartbeat and Twitter; and a work station powered by a Mac mini.
There is also an iPad stand to use as a Twitter Mirror, which will allow the team to engage with bystanders and their audience wherever they are.
CNN en Marcha also has a website and a social media presence, and the aim is to cover planned events such as the Latin Grammys, sports, political conventions and election night. The studio on wheels may also be used for breaking news events later on.
"It's not just the news makers or main characters of a story that we interview, but also the people who gather around.
"We want to do more of the story behind the story."
CNN en Marcha mobile reporters can use the main Sony camera from the van to film, as well as iPhones and three GoPro cameras, to record timelapses or livestream.
"The control room is essentially an iPad Pro and we use Teradek technology for livestreaming, as it's compatible with Facebook Live.
"But everything in the truck can be detached from where it's currently installed and we can take out everything to do mobile reporting outside."
Muñoz said most of the content produced is tailored for CNN en Español's audience on social media, although there will be some crossover with TV broadcasts too once a solution is found for streaming live signal for TV from the vehicle.
"People ask me where the vehicle will live, permanently, but I want it to be on the move at all times.
"The idea is to use our social media presence to let people know where we will be and create events around the places we go to, to encourage them to show up and talk about it."
Free daily newsletter
- Mobile journalism training helps Sudanese citizen journalists tell their own stories
- IJF 2019: Driving deep-change and fuelling mobile journalism
- Lessons in newsroom innovation from Perugia
- CNN provides a window into life under Taliban rule for the first time in 17 years
- Mobile-first mag Frame helps younger audiences engage with the news