All-in-one Journalism

29 Aug

backpackThey say men are unable to multi-task. If this is truly the case, then no doubt we will soon see the journalism profession rid of all male reporters. More and more frequently, reporters are being required by their employers to be a one-man (woman, actually) band, sending out fully finished stories from the scenes of news events back to the newsroom.

Marissa Calligeros from the Brisbane Times gave an excellent lecture to our online journalism cohort about the mechanics behind being a working journalist in Brisbane in 2013, and it was an eye-opening speech. Marissa spoke of how, at the scene of a car accident last year, took a video of the scene, wrote a few lines of copy, and sent it back to the newsroom, all on her iPhone. The video was one of the first to appear on Brisbane news websites, and has since become the most viewed video on these sites ever.

She explored how it is necessary for us journalists to be resourceful in the way we operate. There’s a whole lot of doom and gloom over the industry right now, so it seems inevitable that, if we want to become journalists, we’re going to have to work hard for it. That means being a photographer, videographer, editor, subeditor and reporter all in the one breath. (Perhaps we should be getting paid more.)

Apparently, it’s called backpack journalism. According to pioneer backpack journalist Jane Stevens, backpack journalists must also “know the difference between when you’re a lone wolf and when you’re part of a greater whole.”

cam

Backpack journalist Cameron Atfield

There is always the counter argument from the critic. Here, some argue that – surely- if we have less time to research, edit or verify a story, the quality of our stories will become diluted. However, if Marissa Calligeros is anything to go by, the new breed of super reporter will not have any trouble in more efficiently managing  and balancing their days on the job reporting. Indeed, it seems more of a process of evolution, rather than devolution. The characteristics of backpack journalism will change and expand news coverage.

We keep talking about instantaneous journalism birthed from the internet. It is a natural progression that people want to see the full story instantly, and that means photos, videos and words. If I can get as good as Marissa Calligeros is at her job, I think I’d be doing a pretty good job as a backpack journalist.

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