Can smartphones help journalists getting closer to the story?

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The Finnish journalist, reporter and news editor Panu Karhunen has just published his research on mobile journalism for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University. His question: Can journalists get closer to the story and subject by using mobile devices? Download the paper here.

To promote and back up his insightful study, a 58 pages paper, Karhunen also organised a field experiment. In a shopping mall in Helsinki, he tried to find out who would get more interviews from passer-bys: a mobile journalist with a smartphone and a tiny lavalier microphone or a two person tv crew. Here’s what he found out:

My research on mobile journalism is now published. It shows that in many situations mobile journalism can be much more efficient method to get interviews than traditional TV journalism. In the research, I tried to find out, if mobile journalists can get closer to the story and the subject than traditional TV crews. As a part of the research, I organised a field experiment in a shopping centre in Helsinki. The aim was to discover whether a mobile journalist gets more vox pop interviews than a two-person TV crew. The video shows, how the experiment was carried out. The results were interesting: when the mobile journalist approached people, 33,50% gave an interview and when the two-person TV crew approached people, 21% gave an interview.In the research paper, you can see more detailed results and read interviews of 11 talented journalists. I would like to thank Yusuf, Eva, Nick, Eleanor, Dougal, Montaser, Robb, Ivo, Francesco, Wytse and Geertje for your time. I also wish to thank Marc, who supervised me patiently through this research project. And this group is great – you're doing amazing job!I hope that the research is useful for you. If you have any comments or questions, I'd be happy to answer. If you want to contact me more privately, you can find me from Twitter: @panukarhunen or by email: here is the link to the research paper (just scroll down on the site and download the pdf):

Posted by Panu Karhunen on Freitag, 14. Juli 2017

Bottom line in numbers: When the mobile journalist approached people, 33,50% gave an interview. But when the two-person TV crew approached them, only 21% passer-bys stopped and gave an interview.

Video © by Panu Karhunen