A BBC Academy trainer has said journalists using a smartphone have a “multimedia newsroom in their pocket” and that “just doing texts isn’t enough”.
Marc Settle told the Society of Editor’s conference today that editors should be “democratising content creation” rather than sending video back to individuals in the newsroom for editing.
With the right apps he said it could be “done by so many more people, more effectively and efficiently”, adding: “Having a range of apps just means that the potential is huge.”
Settle pointed to apps including Autocue, Mavis, Filmic Pro, Gravi, Vont, Pre-edit and Ferrite for audio and visual enhancements to smartphones.
He added that a small pack of accessories for under £100 – including an external microphone, light and small tripod – could transform a reporter’s ability to produce quality audio and video content while out and about.
He said: “When you have got a smartphone in your pocket it is remiss of your employees and you as editors not to know how to take advantage of it and use it to its full capacity.”
However Catherine Houlihan, managing editor of ITV Border, cautioned that “we can’t expect everyone to do everything”.
“We embrace it but I think it’s keeping everything in proportion,” she said.
“It will be foolhardy to ignore how technology is changing and how that’s changing how we provide news and services but equally we should take comfort in what we do best, which is making regional television and enhancing that with an online edge.”
Speaking on the rise of user-generated content – such as the phone footage of Lee Rigby’s killers with blood on their hands that was acquired by ITV – Houlihan said attribution was key when a video’s veracity was in doubt.
“If we can’t be 100 per cent sure then we say ‘this person says it’s true’,” she said.
She also raised her concern at the rise of police authorities filming their own material and putting it out to the press while broadcasters faced “a bit of resistance” if they wanted to film themselves.
“As an industry we should caution against taking in footage from a police service or a company and just putting it out there unquestioned,” she said.
“I think it’s wonderful that we are getting content in from all manner of people and we can’t be too sniffy about the quality but equally we should exercise our judgement.”