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MoJo meet Twitter, you were meant for each other
The field of journalism continues to change and evolve more rapidly than ever before, thanks to new technologies which seem to spring up almost daily and a flawed business model that has been in need of adjustment for many years.
These changes have forced reporters to learn and utilize new avenues of reporting as well as take on new duties like those of a photographer and videographer. With budgets tight for everyone these days and without knowing the date of the economy’s rebound, who knows what else will come about.
Many reporters I’ve talked to have a fear and loathing of the new expectations and technologies. It is human nature to despise change. It is human nature to become comfortable with the way things have always been done. I will admit I had my doubts about the latest item being thrust upon us, Twitter.
As for the added expectations, I was ready for those. My professor, Michael Prince from Olympic College, taught us about mobile-journalism, MoJo. Mobile-journalism means I can write a story, shoot photos, shoot video and, if I have an Internet connection, I can upload that story, video and photos directly to the Web from my laptop, immediately. MoJo is what I was taught to do. It is what I think journalism should be. I have a desk at the office, but I sit on the toilet more than at my desk. Office? I don’t need no stinking office. I am writing this on my laptop, sitting in my car in a parking lot. I will drive into downtown Bremerton soon and send this via the one-hour free wireless provided there. With a wireless card for my laptop, coming soon, I will be able to send it from anywhere. No problems with any of that, but with this new thing called Twitter, I had my doubts.
This Twitter thing was, simultaneously, the dumbest and most ingenious thing I had ever heard of. The idea is to post 140 character messages to update others on not “how” you are doing but “what” you are doing. My first thought was of people updating their Twitter pages with things like “I am reading,” or “I am going to the bathroom.” And while those kinds of things will occur (depending on who you follow), looking at it from a news perspective, I can see the MoJo value of this tool.
I can “tweet” (that means to post something on my Twitter page) a little text about the story I am working on and a picture as well, right from my cell phone. If you follow me on Twitter, you will get those updates in real time. That means that as print journalists, we can get you breaking news, in real time and keep you updated! That gets me excited. I’d like to take it even further though. Perhaps a little communication with the new media department of our company could lead to the ability to show live video via our site, which I have done before on other projects. How cool would that be?!
I guess we aren’t the biggest paper, but these technologies are leveling the playing field more, so we can still be the best paper. Now we just need you. We have always brought the news to the public, but now, the public has more access to us than ever before. Come get involved. It is your paper. Tell us what you want to know.
I invite you to check out our Web site to see video and/or more images of the stories you see in the paper. I also invite you to e-mail me, follow me on Twitter and check out my blog. Keep up with the news as it happens, leave comments on stories you see, post story ideas or even share video and images. Help me do a better job for you.