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Nokia and Reuters team up to transform how journalists file stories in the field


New mobile journalism application allows reporters to file and publish text, photo, audio and video news stories from handheld devices, rather than laptops

Helsinki, Finland - Nokia Research Center (NRC) and Reuters are working together on a mobile journalism project that could transform the way journalists file news reports when on the move. The new mobile application is the first project to be showcased from a long term research collaboration that has been established between NRC and Reuters. It centres around a lightweight toolkit that provides everything journalists need to file and publish stories from even the most remote regions of the world.

Through an ongoing trial that started this summer, select Reuters journalists around the world made use of the mobile journalism application in their everyday work to edit, combine and file text, images, sound and live and recorded video streams, producing and publishing multi-media stories of broadcast quality without needing to return to the studio or office.

“This is a very easy-to-use application that takes account of the demands placed on journalists in the field,” said Nic Fulton, Chief Scientist of Reuters Media. “By running on handheld devices, rather than on bulkier laptop computers, the mobile journalism application enables us to create complete stories and file them for distribution, without leaving the scene. This saves us time and benefits our audience by ensuring that they receive high quality news that is absolutely up-to-date.”

While the application’s most immediate use would be for professional journalists, the implications of the research could be much wider in the long term. Timo Koskinen, project manager with Nokia Research Center, said: “The term ’citizen journalism’ has been in use for several years, but technological innovations - particularly the introduction of mobile multimedia computers - have transformed the concept. ’Citizen journalism’ is beginning to embrace a wide range of public engagement with the media, from groups of contributors organized around subject or geographic areas to the casual participation of observers who are lucky - or unlucky - enough to be at the scene of a newsworthy event.”

The mobile journalism application uses the multimedia capabilities already available in existing smart phones and combines these to produce a toolkit that fits intuitively with the way in which journalists want to use it. The toolkit comprises multimedia capabilities, text editing tools and live video streaming and is accessed using an innovative user interface. Metadata facilities automatically combine every piece of information the device already has about the context for the story - location, time, date and so on. For the trial, GPS integrated video-streaming technology was provided by Comvu. Reuters has already developed a mobile editorial interface that links the toolkit developed by NRC to the in-house editorial process, allowing stories to be published almost instantly from the field.

The trial involved a select group of Reuters journalists who filed stories from events ranging from New York’s Fashion Week to the Edinburgh Film Festival. Reuters continues to make experimental use of the application. A group of university students will also use the application in coming months, to give an idea of how the toolkit could possibly work in a future citizen journalism context.


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