ideas / Tech Talk

Radio reporting with the iPhone

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Neil Augenstein has a good post up at the PBS MediaShift blog about using his iPhone 4 for radio reporting. It’s worth a read because Augenstein is producing professional radio news with his phone, and it works.

So is it worth it? A year in, iPhone-only reporting isn’t perfect. While audio editing works great, with the phone’s built-in microphone I’d estimate the sound quality of my field reports is 92% as good as when I use bulky broadcast equipment. Getting better audio for my video is a real challenge. And if I ever have to cover a story from a subway tunnel or location where there’s no WiFi or cell coverage, I won’t be able to file until I resurface.

As digital equipment continues to morph I’m sure my tools will be substantially different within a few years. Every day, new applications open new opportunities for a reporter who’s willing to work around the limitations of iPhone-only reporting while maximizing the benefits.

This semester, we’ve been looking at using smaller equipment in our multimedia reporting class precisely because of the miniaturization of the news gathering equipment. I’ll talk more about the changes we’re making soon.

Is anyone out there in college media using mobile phones or iPod Touches (for instance) for gathering news on a consistent basis?

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