How mobile journalism makes breaking news better

Picture the scene –you’re cruising Facebook and notice a post about four manatees beached just off the campus of Jacksonville University in Florida.

Matt Augustine, of radio station WOKV, says he was the first member of Jacksonville’s media on scene for the story and was there a good hour or so before any of the other outlets showed up.

“That day, I did just about everything, except for write the scripts to my final on-air stories, on my smartphone,” Augustine said.

The ability to publish instantly through social media made a huge difference to Augustine.

“I used Facebook and Twitter almost immediately after I arrived on scene to blast out what I initially found out from the people there,” he said.  “I tweeted and Facebook-ed pictures and updates constantly, giving listeners a play-by-play of what was going on as the wildlife officials and volunteers lifted the manatees on to special stretchers, and then began the long process of carrying the 1200-pound animals back into the river.”

Augustine says he thinks some of the volunteers showed up because of what they saw on Facebook.

“I took video of volunteers carrying one of the manatees back into the St. Johns River and tweeted and Facebook-ed it immediately to give listeners several different mediums on which to follow the story,” said Augustine.

He points out that mobile journalism allowed him to overcome the limitations of radio.

“Smartphones have given radio journalists like me the ability to give some context to our stories that may not have been available before the ability to shoot and edit photos, video and sound and then share all of it via social media and email,” said Augustine.  “In the end, we not only ended up scooping the competition on a very memorable story that drummed up a lot of great feedback, but we delivered it to listeners so they could see it, hear it, read it and even interact with it through social media.”

Augustine is tech savvy, a true digital journalist, but he says most anyone can use a smartphone to be better at delivering content quickly.

In Part 2 of this post, we’ll share his best advice for anyone just getting into mobile journalism.