(C. Proxmire, May 7, 2013)
There is no question that technology is fueling the evolution of journalism. With online reporting capabilities now in the hands of the public, there is a growing wave of independent media and citizen involvement in news-gathering.
Being on top of what technology is available can help news organizations adapt more quickly. While major networks show up at events with satellite vans and bulky cameras, tech-savvy independents can get right in the middle of fast-moving, close-quartered events. With the right technology they can even do it live.
That’s why there was a session at the National Conference for Media Reform called “F*ck it, We’ll Do It Live,” named for the famous flip-out of Fox News host Bill O’Riley. While many in independent media can appreciate the reference, it also does express the pioneering attitude of those who are taking new technology and jumping in.
Journalist Tim Pool is an icon in the risk-taking journalism category. He gained worldwide fame by livestreaming the Occupy Wall Street protest in 2011, and has traveled to protests throughout the US and abroad. In 2012 he and his crew were surrounded by police in unmarked cars with their guns drawn and some of their video of NATO protests was deleted. Pool has also been injured and even attacked while doing his work.
But that doesn’t stop him. And when word that he’d be presenting at the National Conference for Media Reform in Denver on April 6, a room packed full of journalists and media supporters came to hear him talk about the gear he uses on the job.
He was joined by Daniel Schaefer of the University of Colorado Boulder and Steve Outing of the University of Colorado Boulder Digital News Test Kitchen.
Before getting into the technical presentation, Schaefer spoke to the audience about the ethical implications of Livestreaming. A couple of months before the conference, the NewYork Post had published a picture of man who had been pushed in front of a subway with the headline “This man is about to die.” Schefer encouraged the audience to consider if graphic images serve the interest of journalism, and he predicted that with more and more people posting online, the increase of graphic images was inevitable.
Incidentally, his prediction came true shortly after the conference, as the bombing of the Boston Marathon produced an unprecedented proliferation of photographs of blood and severed limbs.
Whatever the cameras see, certainly now has more of an audience. Outing and Pool spoke more about the tools that reporters can use to share events with the world as they happen. They talked about how services like Livestream and U Stream provide access, while tools like the Go Pro and drones make it possible.
Android and iphones have applications that can live stream directly from the phone, or reporters can buy special cameras for it. There are head mounts and chest mounts so they can keep their hands free as they move about gathering news footage. Livestreaming can be exciting and raw, and it can help protect footage in cases where cameras may get stolen, damaged or confiscated.
Another emerging trend is the use of drones to get aerial shots. No longer are news helicopters necessary if news outlets can use a smaller, remote controlled camera to fly above a scene. This does raise some legal and ethical questions, and Pool said someone should be aware of laws in their state before using one.
To hear more specifically what they had to recommend, watch the video below: