MoJo is a contraction of mobile journalism. In recent years Stephen Quinn has trained journalists, citizens and students in 19 countries to make high-quality videos with only an iOS device. Most courses are repeated each year. Clients have included China Daily in Hong Kong, the Philippines Daily Inquirer, The Age (Australia), the Foreign Press Association in London, Birmingham City University’s post-graduate journalism program (UK), Coventry University’s journalism course (UK), G.D. Goenka University (India), the Leon, Spain, campus of Washington University (USA), Beijing Foreign Studies University and Kristiania University (Norway).
Email Stephen Quinn if you would like to talk about mojo training: sraquinn (at) gmail (dot) com. Examples of Dr Quinn’s mojo work can be found at his YouTube site. Dr Quinn focuses on using only an iPhone and a handful of apps.
The photo below shows Dr Quinn’s full kit. It consists of a Manfrotto monopod (top of photo), with a collapsable tripod built into the base. The second row shows (from left) an iPhone 8+, a Rode SmartLav+ lapel microphone, a TelMe wireless mic, a Rode VideoMicro shotgun mic with deadcat, and two wireless storage devices: an AirStash (16Gb but you can insert an SD card up to 64Gb) and a SanDisk Connect Stick (128Gb).
The third row shows (from left) a CaseLogic case for holding bits and pieces. Items in the case include spare batteries, an extension cable for the Rode microphone, and a Rode SC6 plug for connecting headphones so I can monitor sound quality when doing interviews. Next to that is a Shoulderpod grip for connecting my iPhone to a tripod, and at bottom right a SmartGun tripod mount. Not shown: a recharge device for the iPhone.
More grips and cradles can be found at the ALM site. Their microphones section is most helpful. Cam Caddie makes a cool device called a Scorpion that helps you get stable images even when moving, such as on a skateboard. Here is a video about the device. I sometimes use an Feiyu SPG gimbal for getting stable shots when on the move.
With experience it is possible to be a mojo with a simple kit consisting of an iPhone, a microphone with a wind sock and a file storage device (SanDisk Connect Stick) for backup (total cost about £800; see the “essential mojo kit” photograph below).
Glen Mulcahy, formerly of the Irish national broadcaster RTE, offers a useful list of mojo equipment.
“Just wanted to convey our network’s sincere gratitude for your kind gesture and hope to witness more of your impressive performance in the future.” Hamed Naderian, news editor at PressTV in Tehran, Iran, August 2018.
“Stephen delivered a superb workshop, informative, useful and engaging. There was just the right balance of essential information and instruction without overloading students, delivered alongside plenty of practice to cement learning and make it fun for students – who were by the end of the day making some impressive first attempts at mobile video journalism. The perfect kick off to their own learning and exploration. In addition, Stephen is well versed not just in the latest equipment but also in terms of current industry trends and there was extra value in being able to have some discussion on these points, such as insights into the new Facebook ‘Watch’ platform. We’d love to have you back nest year!” Sharron Lovell, director, MA in Multi-Media Journalism, Beijing Foreign Studies University, October 2017.
“I have invited Stephen Quinn to deliver a special mobile journalism masterclass for the past three years at Birmingham City University. Dr Quinn is an acknowledged global expert in this field and the skills covered in his classes are important to a range of fields. Students from a range of disciplines including MA and BA courses in journalism, television production and radio were all invited to attend. Students who attended overwhelmingly commented on the transformatory and inspirational nature of the experience, with many choosing to continue working in the field afterwards. I would recommend Stephen highly.” Paul Bradshaw, Course leader, MA Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism, Birmingham City University, by email, November 2017.
“Professor Stephen Quinn presented a MOJO training course to my University of Washington (Seattle) journalism and political communications students on October 10, 2017 at the UW Study Center in León, Spain. http://depts.washington.edu/leonctr/ Dr. Quinn’s talk was inspirational, informational and practical. He illustrated the extraordinary power of the iPhone as tool of visual story-telling, but made learning how to use the tool easy and fun for the students. After Dr. Quinn’s presentation I gave my students a video assignment using their phones and his instructions, and they all produced surprisingly high-quality work. Our students found Dr. Quinn’s presentation style engaging and eloquent. We would be happy to have him return to give more classes any time.” Katie King, University of Washington, León, Spain.
“I would like to ask you for a short interview about [the] future of mobile journalism [in your capacity] as an expert on mobile journalism. Me and my colleagues are planning a debate about mobile journalism with students on 22 March 2017 in Skopje. Your books about Mojo are very useful for us as a journalists in Macedonia and it will be a great honour if you accept to participate in our debate through Skype.” Sanja Vasik, Editor TV Telma, Skopje, March 2017.
“I thought your session was insightful … despite knowing the iPhone well, I actually hadn’t considered it a tool for producing content as much as a mobile office for contacting people and writing content.” Samuel Gould, post-graduate journalism student, Birmingham City University, February 2017.
“You were a great hit … participants found your workshop extremely rewarding.” Professor Sunil Saxena, Dean, School of Communication, G.D. Goenka University, Gurgaon in India. I taught a course for 21 newspaper journalists in April 2016.
“I found the course’s strength was the hands-on aspect – getting to grips with iMovie early on, and then the gradually introduction of different elements and skills.” Joe Norman, freelance journalist based in Birmingham, April 2016.
Mojo master Dr Ivo Burum’s SmartMojo site is one of the best single places to discover more about about mojo. Here is a video he made about selecting the best microphone; the choice depends on what you are aiming to do. And here is a link to an excellent all-purpose Rode mic. We have written a book together, published by Focal Press in Boston in September 2015. Here is a link to Amazon USA where you can buy MOJO: The Mobile Journalism Handbook. And here is a link to Amazon UK.
This video shows how Tunisians have embraced mojo in recent years.
The MojoCon Facebook site, with more than 4,000 members, is an excellent place for sharing and finding information about mojo. It originated from the annual mojo conference held in Ireland each May. The first was in 2015.
Listen to an interview with Stephen Quinn about mojo at the Multimedia Week podcast site, broadcast on 9 May 2016. His most basic kit, shown left, consists of an iPhone 8+, a Rode SmartLav+ mic, and a SanDisk memory stick.
Stephen Quinn maintains a Facebook group called GlobalMojo where he provides useful links about mojo developments and equipment. Details of his university mojo teaching are elsewhere on this site at Video1.
Mojo@BCU: Outline for 23-24 February 2017
Thursday 23 February 2017, 1000-1120
Intro SQ using http://about.me/sraquinn.
Description of teaching methods and overview of course
Student introductions: Name, where from, something proud of?
Student survey: FB? Twitter? Instagram? Linkedin? Other?
Show The Fixer (2012). It has won many awards at film competitions. Ask students: What was total budget. Answer: $US 400. Made only with an iPhone 4S. Runs 7:15 at http://www.thesmalls.com/film/fixer
Burum, I. and Quinn, S. (2015). MOJO: The Mobile Journalism Handbook. Details here.
Ivo’s blog: http://citizenmojo.wordpress.com/
Vericorder Technologies (Voddio app) online store: http://store.vericorder.com
Discussion: Why mobile journalism?
Show overview Keynote 1.1 mojo overview and then demonstrate with digital TV
Assumption: Students with iPhones have already loaded the iMovie 2.1 (purple star icon on white background) app onto their iPhone or iPad or iPad mini. It costs about GBP 3. Free on iPhone 5S and later iPhones.
Thursday 23 February 2017, 1130-1300
Short clip of Paranmanjang, a feature film made in 2011. One of the first feature films made only with an iPhone was Paranmanjang in South Korea (translates as Night Fishing). Brothers Park Chan-wook and Park Chan-kyong directed, produced and wrote this feature, which runs for 33 minutes. Paranmanjang was shot entirely on several iPhone 4s, and was funded by KT, at the time South Korea’s exclusive iPhone distributor. This movie won the Golden Bear for best short film at the 61st Berlin international film festival in 2011. Watch it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tRlqPQ7dAw
Show history of mojo Keynote (00a history)
Historical video: Ruud Elmendorp profiles African mojo Evans Wafula, based in Nairobi in Kenya. Though made in 2007 it is useful as a link to the past: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxznVB0kGNk
Show tools of trade Keynote (01b Tools) and then link to Vericorder site for gear: http://vericorder-outlet.com/
Show Mulcahy site http://www.thinglink.com/scene/523892486175719425
Show SQ Keynote on composition (02a compose)
Video composition: The language of mobile video. Use BBC COJO training video about filming with smartphones.
Taking stills with iPhone (extra file if needed)
BBC video about taking still photographs.
Exercise: Find a partner. Interview each other for a maximum of one minute. Then shoot some footage and make a 60-second video, and include a piece to camera at the start to introduce the person you interviewed. Use 02e exercise
LUNCH BREAK 1300-1330
Thursday 23 February 2017, 1330-1500
Critique student videos on digital TV in classroom
If time, show video about finding more interesting images: Professional photographer Chase Jarvis offers a dozen tips for making better images using a variety of gear from point-and-shoot cameras using natural light, to shooting with a high-quality digital SLR camera. For example, how to attach a camera to a skateboard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6zK6cz52CI&NR=1
Link to Witness, not-for-profit http:// http://www.witness.org/
Witness is an international non-profit organization that has been using the power of video and storytelling for more than two decades to open the eyes of the world to human rights abuses. Musician and human rights advocate Peter Gabriel co-founded Witness in 1992.
Using drones and/or balloons to get aerial shots with a smartphone. Watch this video: http://www.africanskycam.com/cctv-africa/
Show image of Africa’s first newsroom-based “eye in the sky” and explain cost of helicopter versus drone http://www.africanskycam.com/
COFFEE BREAK 1500-1530
Thursday 23 February 2017, 1530-1700
Interviewing with a mobile phone. How mojo interviewing differs from other forms of journalistic interviews. Show Keynote (02b interview).
Improved audio with the iPhone: A helpful BBC video about recording good audio with an iPhone (almost 4 minutes).
Here is a useful companion story about recording audio, by Lindsay Kalter: http://ijnet.org/blog/how-record-clear-audio-mobile-phone
An excellent BBC training video about asking simple, direct questions (runs 7 minutes):
In this video producer Drew Keller talks about the importance of good research (runs 6 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gmV-OImEsc
Katie Couric gives her tips on how to conduct a good interview (runs 5 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eOynrI2eTM
Exercise: Students will make a video for practice if we have time.
Tip: Always put your iOS device in flight mode before you shoot and/or edit.
Friday 24 February 2017, 1000-1120
Learnings from yesterday?
Show China Daily video to start the day.
Show Keynote about SCRAP (01 scrap). How to prepare and plan a mojo story.
Touch-screen editing: Use Keynote (03 edit). Demonstrate editing using digital TV, and show suggested process for making quick news videos.
Show Ivo Burum video on editing and iMovie (runs 8:41): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z13NXAmIccA
Show BBC “one-minute” guide to editing: http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/oneminutemovies/howto/edit.shtml
Exercise and coffee break 1120-1135: Students (in pairs) will do another interview of each other. They will do another piece to camera and throw to their interview with their colleague, and then edit a video on their smartphone (use 02e exercise). Afterwards Quinn will show some students’ work on a projector and provide feedback.
Friday 24 February 2017, 1135-1300
Example of an amazing 3-minute video by Anders Ernest, a print journalist in Denmark turned mojo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtRfG7O7pU0
Scripting and voice presentation
Resource: Quinn’s book published April 2015: CLARITY: A guide to clear writing. Available at: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/clarity/id843307803
Show Keynote on doing voice-overs (04 perform). Show Keynote presentation on scripting (05 scripting). Show Keynote on relaxation (04a relax tips).
Here is a useful story from the BBC about presentation skills.
Voice skills: http://ijnet.org/video/how-have-commanding-voice
Friday 24 February 2017, 1330-1530 LUNCH BREAK and EXERCISE
Exercise: Student will make a mojo video (maximum 100 seconds) where they review something. It could be a textbook, a film, the university cafeteria or the music of a busker. The choice is yours. Be back no later than 3.30pm ready to show your video.
Examples of fun reviews
Harry Potter in 99 seconds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y57sYHIDP_Y
Five Guys burger review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGkHRa64sDY
Friday 24 February 2017, 1530-1600
Feedback on students’ work.
The use of secret recording apps. Demonstrate using iPhone and digital TV.
Discussion: Ethical and legal factors when mobile reporting.
The WGBH Educational Foundation produces the excellent TV and online documentary series Frontline. WGBH is a major producer of programs for PBS, the U.S. public television network. Read Frontline’s journalism guidelines here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/about-us/journalistic-guidelines/
CBC guidelines on clandestine recording: http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/en/reporting-to-canadians/acts-and-policies/programming/journalism/clandestine/
Cool apps for journalism (06b cool apps).
Show Mulcahy blog post http://www.thinglink.com/scene/544193485876494338
Discussion of influence of citizen journalism and social networks on the role of journalism. Discussion: Using social networks to market your videos.
Media organizations working with UGC
Scoopshot helps citizens who take videos of newsworthy events sell them to media organizations: http://www.journalism.co.uk/news/advertorial-scoopshot-makes-smartphone-users-part-of-the-newsgathering-process/s2/a556742/
The toolkit for CNN’s i-Report: http://www.ireport.com/toolkit.jspa
Working with CBS’s EyeMobile: http://treemolabs.com/work/cbseyemobile.php
Tools for Citizen Journalists supplied by the Knight Citizens News Network: http://www.kcnn.org/tools
Future possibilities for journalism using mojo techniques (08b future).
How to make TV news using only mojo stories. This is by students at Swinburne University in Australia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI4MAqkWObo (runs 23 minutes)
Example of a mojo documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiKM2y1FxI4 (runs 9 minutes)
Resources for mojo reporting (includes tips)
Glen Mulcahy is a trainer with the Irish national public broadcaster RTÉ. He blogs about mobile reporting and the material is always interesting and useful: http://tvvj.wordpress.com/category/mobile-journalism-mojo/
BBC radio reporter Nicholas Garnett describes some of the tools he uses as a mojo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzTqBo7PyWc (radio work in northern England) and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tb1V3imjZig (working with the BBC’s app Luci Live)
The French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir said that creativity begins with imitation. “I invent nothing, I rediscover.” Use this checklist when preparing a mojo story.
Planning / research
What is my story? Its duration?
Can I submit before deadline?
Arranged interviews (minimum 2)?
Does my video need a map?
iPhone charged? (recharge device?)
Other gear? (tripod? mic? iPhone case? notebook and pen? storage device?)
Space on iPhone?
Directions to location?
Pre-written context story?
Filming on location
Great opening / establishing shot? (sign / logo / visually interesting?)
Quality stills and video?
Sound clear and consistent?
Closing shot? (visually interesting?)
Business cards of interviewees?
Piece to camera? (good location?)
Editing (on location)
Great opening image?
Duration between 60-80 seconds?
Background music appropriate?
Free of copyright issues?
Narration / sound
Consistent sound levels?
Script clean and easy to read?
Have I written to pictures (also known as “writing off”)
Headline / captions
Animation title to start?
Credits at end?
All interviewees identified?
Saved to camera roll?
Put on YouTube?
Link submitted to FB and Twitter?
Uses the “simple” template?
Have I deleted crap from my iPhone?
Have I celebrated my achievement?
Useful iPhone apps for reporting
All are free unless a price appears in brackets after the name of the app.
- Voice Memos (record music; send to iMovie)
- Clock: know when to call in different time zones
- Calculator: for calculating your extensive expenses
- Weather: know when to bring a brolly
- Google Maps (directions/navigation)
- Wi-Fi Finder (locate free wifi services)
ProPrompter: One option is to write your script in a word processor, email to self and copy/paste into this app so you can read it in the field. Not always easy to do or anticipate.
Dragon Dictation: Useful for voice recognition, but you need to train the app to your voice, which takes about six or seven trial runs.
Skype: If you have a good wi-fi or Internet connection you can make calls around the world from your phone for free.
BCR Pro (business card reader) photographs then scans your business cards and saves them in the iPhone’s Contacts area, along with a copy of the photo.
TS Video ($US 1.99): Allows you to film secretly. TS stands for “top secret”.
SpeedTest: Check the upload, download and ping speeds when on location, prior to uploading a video to your company server or YouTube. Also useful if you plan to use Skype to interview someone.
Hindenburg Lite and Twisted Wave are useful audio recording apps. Hindenburg Pro costs about $US 25, or £15.
Long Expo is good for taking time exposure photographs.
Spending is a free app for doing simple budgets. Can create charts for overview of spending trends.
Legend (79p) and Gravie (£1.49) are good for doing animated graphics such as headlines.
Telegram is the best of the messaging apps, and allows you to send very large files for free.
Retouch ($1.49 from memory) lets you improve photos by erasing things. Use with due ethical diligence.
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