CJ Con-Zombie

Author Archive

Something’s Gotta Give – Something’s Gotta Give

In Uncategorized on March 2, 2010 at 6:12 am


Kiss, J. (2007, October 23). Reuters’ ‘mojo’ experiments with nokia. The Guardian, online.

Rich, Carole. (2010). Writing and reporting news: a coaching method. Boston, MA: Wadsworth.


Food for Thought.

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2010 at 5:14 am

More than ever, the world needs journalism that is discerning, insightful and fair. This journalism should reveal critical issues and look at stories that might otherwise go unnoticed or untold. As such, the future of global journalism (and thus mobile journalism) is very important.

The world’s growing interconnectivity has a vast array of consequences for those that depend on journalism. As the trend continues, journalists become more and more pressed for time because news cycles have become little more than a tick of the clock—minutes and seconds passing by. Journalists are given less time to address their many ethical decisions.

In the news business, reputation is everything. Readers and viewers must be able to believe in the information being put in front of them. As such, ethics stand as an integral part of what journalism is all about. Ethics play a huge role in traditional media. The rise of the internet and mobile phones has turned this traditional media square on it its head. An absence of quality in this newly emerging medium has tremendous implications.

Mobile journalism has repeatedly been equated with citizen journalism. This means that now, more than ever, consumers must be able to hold a critical eye to the stories they read or watch. The emergence of citizen journalism often translates into a lack of education in journalisms new contributors. This means that there is a deficit of knowledge about how about how to determine what constitutes as factual, unbiased, and truth telling.

Quality can mean the difference between freedom and restriction; between justice and injustice; between information and deception. We know how quality translates to these differences in traditional media, but what about the new realm of mojo journalism? We must be able to figure out what constitutes quality information in such a fast-evolving digital world.

Editors are needed more than ever. Customization is part of the beauty of mobile journalism and its connectivity to the web. Volumes of news stories exist where only one or two might have stood in the past. This can be quite worrisome. Where editors and news producers scrupulously determined what appeared on the plates of those consuming the news, RSS feeds now stand.

Often times, mobile journalism involves removing the editor and replacing him or her with the news consumer. This has significant fallouts. Key judgments that editors made as gatekeepers of the media suddenly disappear. Not only can users find themselves consuming information that is wrong, but they may also find themselves missing information they didn’t know they needed to know.

Customization along with rapid outtake and intake of information means that important discoveries are lost. I’m not sure I can think of anything more detrimental.

All of this mashed together means that some tough questions need to be asked and addressed.

1) How do we ensure quality and integrity in such a fragmented landscape?
2) How do we ensure that all stakeholders uphold their individual and group responsibilities for protecting the news?
3) As a news consumer, how can someone be sure that what is being consumed is true and accurate?

– CJ Mojo

And the Verdict is…

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2010 at 3:52 am

Mojo journalism is certainly still very experimental. It certainly doesn’t seem to be able to replace current technology in print or broadcast—at least not yet. Current technology exists as a great newsgathering tool, rather than one to actually present the news.

The tools that mobile journalists are currently equipped with are a great adjunct to current technology. Replacement isn’t necessarily what its goal should be. However, some have compared it to a Swiss Army knife. The Swiss Army knife is a wonderful tool if you’ve got nothing else, or if you’re in a bind and need a quick solution. The same is true of present technologies of mobile journalism. The mobile phone, as well as all the gadgetry that goes along with it, are great tools if you find yourself on the run and have nothing else.

Mobile journalist technologies prove very useful in certain situations. If a journalist (or member of the public) finds his or herself in a newsworthy situation, and all he or she has is their camera phone, they are still able to record audio and video and shoot still photographs. These items will prove very valuable for multimedia journalism, as something greater than text can be used for the story.

As a journalist, live video in the palm of one’s hand means that the ability to report live with freedom never seen before. However, diminutive sizes also mean that the quality of the footage is less than industry standard. Yet few seem to be bothered by such an issue, as the world is given the ability to witness events as they happen.
Imagine for a moment that we are, as a global population, able to immediately watch the atrocities of war or civil unrest as they unfold. Now stop imagining because with mobile journalism, this is possible.

The moment something happens, it is captured and then sent all around the world for everyone and anyone to view. This is a movement in the journalism experience. The world continues to become increasingly more demanding for news on the spot, and this trend does not seem to be going anywhere. The experience of viewing is all the more engaging and compelling. This is all happening as the world become smaller, more connected and much more immediate.

Summed up quite simply, the best new media (i.e. mobile journalism) is based upon old media. You cannot achieve a product of much worth in the world of journalism without using the fundamentals of old media. This means that the values of old media must be incorporated. The skills used for more traditional methods must still be used, as well as an awareness of what else is possible.

No doubt, a shift in media as we know it is occurring. The way we do journalism is changing. There must be a willingness to play with the tools and accept that journalism may move beyond what we currently know. After that, we are all in new territory.

– CJ Mojo

Survior Story

In Uncategorized on February 23, 2010 at 11:43 pm

The survivors of a harrowing shipwreck that left occupants stranded in rafts for 56 hours arrived in Calgary on Monday.

The students of a semester-at-sea program, Class Afloat were aboard the SV Concordia, which was serving as a sailing classroom. During a violent downdraft of wind, it suddenly struck rough waters, leaving all of the students stranded in what, for some, seemed like something out of a movie.

David Shunn, 16, who was welcomed by a mass of family and friends waving signs for his arrival, said it was the most intense situation he has ever experienced.

Shunn was in biology class when laptops slid off tables as a result of the ship start beginning to tip. He says that the laptops only had a few seconds before they smashed to the floor.

“We were off the boat in 5 minutes, I saw the boat go down after about an hour,” he said. “It was like losing our homes.”

Waiting for over two days in the lifeboats, talking to one another, drinking rainwater, Shunn, who was hypothermic, was thinking the worst.

“I thought we were going to die,” he said.

Gunn, who said 17 Calgarians were on board, had no time to grab any belongings but he said those items are replaceable. “I’m just happy to be alive,” he said.

A spokesman for the Class Afloat program credits the knowledgeable crewman for the safe delivery home. He credits one crewman, David Sanders, who jumped off the boat to retrieve a device from the water that sends a signal to search-and-rescue teams,

Shunn recalls the overwhelming feeling of relief that came over him on first sight of the search-and-rescue planes.

” I never felt anything better in my life.”

And he adds, “I do not regret the taking the trip at all.”


All that fluff I just fed you…

It’s not true. Well, not really. It’s based on a real event, sure. Unfortunately, my lack of ability to check sources and facts means that there is a lot wrong with this story, including the spelling of my source’s name.

Oh, and did I mention – the surviors only spent 42 hours on their rafts. A long time, sure, but not nearly as “harrowing” as the 56 I quoted.

Perhaps this entry means that my journalistic skills aren’t quite up to snuff. Gheez, there are only 2 sources!! Alas, that’s all I could get when on location.

Wadaya expect?!

It seems that all of my mojoing encountered a need for cutting corners – the last thing that any true journalist wants to do.

So far – my mojo is unimpressed.

– CJ Mojo


In Uncategorized on February 18, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Mobile phones have come leaps and bounds from that giant brick you’d haul around in the 90s. Nowadays, what we see is complex, multi-platform portable devices that allow for digital media production and wireless data transfer. This is incredible.

Newer phone models are now plugged with such capabilities as video and still photography, satellite positioning receivers, and music players. They also allow access to email, databases and web browsers.

Jane Stevens, who teaches journalism at the University of California. “In a few years, backpack journalists … will not only be the rule, they’ll rule.”

It appears that Reuters agrees with Stevens. In 2007 Reuters took Smartphone capabilities and developed an experimental kit specifically for the practice of mojo journalism. The kit involved a Nokia N95 Smartphone, a tripod, a compact wireless keyboard, a solar battery charger and an external microphone.

The project used a specially created website that the journalists involved in experiment would upload to. It was found at http://reutersmojo.com, but is no longer accessible.

The kit was used by Reuters to cover the Edinburgh TV Festival and the festival Gadgetoff 2007. The coverage was certainly experimental—and this experimentation is key to note, as the fashion clips have been criticized largely for being “too wobbly”.

During the experimentation process, Reuters TV’s media and tech correspondent Matt Cowan, was dispatched by Reuters to interview Doris Lessing after her Nobel prize win.

In an online Guardian article about his dispatch, Cowan is reported saying, “Everyone in the world wanted that footage, and I don’t think the folks in the office would have been too pleased if I’d decided to film it on my mobile. There’s a theatre to television that you just have to let play out. But sometimes the picture doesn’t matter as much as the immediacy, and what someone has to say”.

Immediacy and skill play huge parts into an editor’s choice to use footage from a mojo.

Obviously, an inevitable compromise results from attempting to do continuous updates and post multimedia at the same time.

The skills and processes required for mojo journalism video shooting and editing are distinctly different from traditional print reporting. Reporters with a variety of different backgrounds and skill sets are using the phones. Some are broadcast journalists, some are still photographers and some are text journalists. As a result, the end products will be certainly be mixed.

The discussion of the future of mojos is hot—surely capable of stirring emotion into the hearts of those that journalism employs. A deeper look is required… and so the quest continues.

Mojo journalism to follow.

CJ Mojo

Let’s Start it Short.

In Uncategorized on February 7, 2010 at 5:52 am

What is mojo?

It’s that thing… you know… the thing that Austin Powers had.

O.K. It is a new online music magazine.

Well, I guess I’m stumped. A little hint perhaps? It’s short for mobile journalism. Now, before you start with the oohing and awing, lets address what mobile journalism really means.

According to a book titled, Writing and Reporting News: A Coaching Method, “The mojo concept was initiated at the Fort Meyers News-Press.” By definition, mojos are “mobile journalists equipped with notepads, cameras, recorders, cellphones and laptop computers so that they can file news stories for the web at a moments notice. They don’t go to a newspaper office; their office is in their cars. They don’t wait for deadlines; their deadlines are whenever they get their information.”(Rich, 251).

The book provides some great insight into why such a concept even arose stating, “As competition for readers and viewers increases… news organizations are seeking ways to connect to their audiences.” This means that organizations are extending their coverage hyper-locally, with new mobile journalists “working, living and playing in the communities they cover” (252, Rich).

So, let’s get playing.

-CJ Mojo.