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March 25, 2015

How to use your smartphone to become a world-changing citizen journalist

When it comes to reporting breaking news, your smartphone is the most powerful tool you have.

In fact, advances in technology have completely revolutionized both how we both report and receive news. Citizen journalists now have the opportunity to capture and share current events with others around the world at an unprecedented level, thanks to smartphones, social media networks, and, of course, the Internet itself. The benefits are manifold. When we interviewed Canadian journalist Susan Wong last year, she highlighted how much easier Lumia made her life. “OneNote helps me a lot with reminders to myself and to-do-lists, especially when I’m travelling,” She said. “It’s also great for taking notes during interviews. LiveSight in HERE Maps helps me to discover a new city just by turning it on and scanning my surroundings with my phone, which is definitely quicker than pulling out a physical map or a guidebook.” While Egyptian journalist, Roger Anis, revealed that he used his Lumia to take photos during tense student protests where cameras weren’t allowed. So, it’s clear your smartphone has the potential to be an incredibly powerful journalistic tool. But how do you actually become a citizen journalist? Read on for some top tips to help you get started.

Lumia930_632x432Be a sure shot

The camera is one the most useful aspects of your Lumia for citizen journalism. Not only is your smartphone likely to be with you around the clock, but you can have it ready to shoot in a matter of seconds. With one of the most powerful cameras on the market today, your photos are likely to be viewer-friendly and high quality. To give the most unbiased representation possible, you should avoid manipulating your photos after they’ve been taken.





Make the most of video

Video is also an essential part of citizen journalism, as many people think of it as being more trustworthy than photos. Taking a good, watchable video is important — get a variety of shots like tight and 360 shots which include identifiable landmarks if possible, clearly state the time, date, and location (or write it on a piece of paper and hold it up), shoot horizontally, try to avoid talking too loudly or shouting, and hold your Lumia as steady as possible.

Load up on apps

Apps can take citizen journalism to the next level, and there are plenty of apps in the Windows Phone Store that can help you out. CamScanner or Office Lens can help with documentation, Perfect Recorder lets you quickly record audio, and Movie Maker can help with editing and uploading the videos that you’ve taken. UTrailMe might be handy for those looking to live stream their videos.

smartphone journalist

Use the cloud

OneDrive is the perfect place to store the photos and videos that you’ve captured. Store them manually or automatically so that you can access them later or share them with others.

OneDrive offers 15 GB of free storage space, or for a few dollars, up to 1 TB. Cloud services such as Dropbox are a good alternative which can give you additional storage space.

Share with the world

If you want to be a citizen journalist, you need to share your work with the world, and social media is the best place to start. You can share via Twitter, uploading photos or live tweeting events using an appropriate hashtag, post to Facebook, or use Vine to share short videos. Many news sites offer the opportunity for citizen journalists to share breaking news, and there are tons of sites dedicated to this new form of reporting.

Be as accurate as possible

One of the downsides of citizen journalism is the tendency for it to occasionally be inaccurate, biased, or misleading. With this in mind, it’s important to do your best to show the most objective picture of whatever you’re covering.

With the use of smartphones, breaking news can be covered quicker than ever, showing the world the current events that often get missed by professional media and journalists. But what will you share? Let us know in the comments below.