In my Journalism of the Web class last semester, we spent some time talking about “backpack journalism” — that is, journalism done by reporters toting laptops, video cameras, digital audio recorders and satellite phones so they can function as one-person purveyors of online text, video and audio reports from anywhere in the world.
Now, according to Clyde Bentley, the backpack is turning into your back pocket. In this piece for the Online Journalism Review, Bentley introduces us to the Nokia N93, a cell phone (the label hardly does it justice) that can record high-quality video, still photos and audio, that runs Microsoft Word and other programs, and that can be used to write stories either directly or with a plug-in keyboard. When you’re done, just upload through the cell network or a WiFi connection. Bentley writes:
My dream scenario is walking into a neighborhood in jeans and sweatshirt, an N93 in one pocket and a keyboard in the other. Sans my tell-tale computer bag and camera, I think I could be just one of the boys as I developed my contacts. And when the time came, I could record audio clips of background sounds, take a few photos of the street corner crowd then shoot a video clip of that great old codger. Back at the café, I could type my story, file it to the office and amble into the sunset.
In the emerging news-media landscape, journalists will need to possess a variety of multimedia skills, whether they like it or not. At least they won’t have to worry about getting a hernia, too.