Madison McVan | InvestigateMidwest
Large newsrooms like the New York Times have teams dedicated to developing new digital journalism tools and processes, but some of those techniques are becoming more accessible to small newsrooms.
With 5G technology and newly developed software and hardware, filing from the field is becoming easier for multimedia journalists, said Niko Koppel, an immersive journalist and producer formerly of the New York Times.
In order to file from the field, photojournalists typically have to find a place with WiFi to sit down, download photos from their camera to their laptop, then send those photos back to the newsroom.
But apps like Beam, which Koppel helped develop at the New York Times, allow photographers to connect their SD card to their cell phone and use the phone to send the images to editors, bypassing the need for a laptop and WiFi.
“It was about getting people to realize that they have a computer already,” Koppel said. “They have all the technology to do this right on their phones.”
Similar apps exist for videographers, who face the additional challenge of producing massive files, which take longer to send back to the newsroom.
But by using proxy files — a much smaller, lower quality version of a video file — apps like Eclipse can transmit usable videos back to the newsroom for editing. Once the videographer returns to the newsroom, they can connect their camera and replace the proxy files with the full-quality version.
Koppel also said advances in 3D imaging, drone automation and satellite services are becoming more widespread. Yet, he added that the challenge with all of these technologies is to not use “technology for technology’s sake,” but to instead use the tools to support and add to traditional reporting.