I have long been a healthy skeptic in the idea of mobile phones being the future of convergent newsrooms. I say healthy because my argument, as other nay-sayers before, often rests solely on the quality. I’m unconvinced smart phones can replace the sensors and glass of DSLRs.
Living in Mongolia where countryside assignments can leave you without mobile reception for weeks, 3G was rather useless. I owned assorted paraphernalia for professional grade multimedia gathering. I am not a breaking-news reporter but focus on features.
I clung to the why go smart affront.
Then I got me an iPhone. For emails only I said. Then, not too bad these shots in good light. And wow it’s discreet. I’d never try shoving my 24-70mm f2.8 there. And what more, a visit to a manual textile-weaving workshop in Spain minus gear-bag resulted in an impromptu inspired video (see below).
In today’s world of instant news where Twitter is the new newswire, smart phones are essential for news gathering as much as for news dissemination and digestion. They are handy for clandestine shots and when essential gear gets left behind when absent-mindedness attacks, as in the case of WBUR Public Radio’s Bianca Toness.
I doubt smart phones will ever truly replace mirrors and lenses for antiquity romantics just embracing digital. But in todays’ nano tech world, practicality will dominate for a majority. As Mobile Journalism Pundit Stephen Quinn spells in his book – “A revolution is happening in the way journalists gather and deliver news using only a mobile phone.”
The smart phone is here to stay and can only evolve to something better. DSLR sound saviors Rhode are already testing an iPhone equivalent. But till then, there’s still room for the gear-lugging-loving field journalist.