Journalism gets faster and faster, especially the internet makes it possible to give live updates from everywhere around the world. I used a variety of software and hardware tools in Iran and Pakistan and also during the protests in Bangkok and a lot of people asked how it works. Here is a short presentation of my equipment.
The most important tool is definitely a Smart phone. I use an Iphone 3GS 32GB (Jailbroken) with a unlimited data plan. There are various other Smart phones on the market. A combination of Audio/Video/Picture recording is always very useful.
Iphone Applications are mostly developed and offering a great variety of useful tools.
The most important Apps for me are definitely Tweetie (Qtwitter for fast and energy saving tweets) or Echofon to send and receive the latest Information. It is of course really important which Twitter Users are trustful and supply good news updates. It takes a while to figure out who is tweeting about which topic and in which detail level. Some clients also support a great structure to organize lists for a better overview.
Official update from news agencies can be gathered with ByLine. It is a great RSS Feed reader which is also synchronizing with your feeds on google. It is also a great way to read blog entries on the go without any annoying advertisement or slow download process.
Apps such as Skype, Facebook, Nimbuzz (inlcudes various instant Messenger) and Ping offer fast communication besides phone calls and SMS.
For longer or more detailed information it make sense to publish a blogpost, best tools are:
- WordPress (Mobile Blogging)
- Spinvox (Mobile Blogging via voice)
- Audioboo (Instant Audio Blogging)
Locations have become more and more important. Besides basic on-board Applications such as Google maps (which is totally great for orientation all over the world) there is also another very useful application called “MotionX GPS”.
It shows your exact GPS location, you can easily mark the point in a map(for example if you photograph the same subject from various locations) and you can also track your way of movement (extremely useful to help your memory sometimes!)
Iphone SD Card Reader
A very fast way to publish a high resolution picture of a digital camera is to transfer the picture from a SD Memory card to the Iphone. There are various SD Card Reader on the market, some are not working very well because they are designed for Ipods. A good one is available by ZoomIt ($60).
Iphone Mobile Charger
Extensive use of 3G/Edge or just “touching a lot” affecting the Iphone battery and it gets empty very quickly. It is always a good idea to carry a small plug with you but often you dont have the possibility or time to recharge at a real plug. I use two chargers with 1900mha and 2000mha capacity which fill up a complete battery very fast. Absolutely useful, lightweight and also rechargeable. ($10-20)
Leica Lumix FZ28
Yes I know that there are much better cameras on the market but I still stick to my Leica lens Lumix model. It is a very lightweight model (no need for changing objectives), very handy and delivers exactly what I want: fast mode switches, good night pictures, great HD video quality. If you carry additional SD Cards and a interchangeable battery you can take pictures/videos for several days.
I would love to switch to a Canon 5D MK II ($2500) but until I have the money for this wonderful cam I will stay loyal to this great bridge-cam! ($450)
Just to mention it: As long as you don’t photograph the right thing at the right time the cam quality is absolutely unimportant. Some Iphone pictures beat every high quality DSLR pic. The subject and technique is much more important!
Netbook Samsung N140
Publishing to news agencies with deadlines often means that you have to write full articles and retouch images. A real keyboard is necessary and the Samsung N140 is a great, reliable and fast Netbook which offers all possibilities. Windows 7, Word, Browser and Mailapp in connection with a SD Card reader and USB plug make it easy to publish full scale articles as fast as possible. The 7 hour lasting battery is great for intense or multiply usage. ($400)
In addition it is great to use MIFI, in my case a Huawei Mifi Device
The Huawei MIFI E5830 is only 90g of weight, very very handy and supplies a short range wireless network for various devices (Smart phones, notebooks, etc). It is also great if you work in a team to share files fast and secure or backup photos/videos. The changeable sim card allows usage in every country that supports 3G or Edge/GPRS connections. ($150)
Some of this equipment is only useful in special locations / special circumstances but it is basically a complete mobile office which allows you to publish news updates, full texts/articles, raw or retouched pictures and videos in a very fast and secure way.