Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mobile Journalism

Writing for mobile media is a trick every future journalist should learn. What we see today is that all journalistic content is still written for traditional media and is 'designed' in terms of layout and placement for the mobile media. By mobile media, I mean mobile phones, iPods, iPads, tablet PCs, etc.

What is necessary is that not layout, but content itself has to be re-written for smaller spaces and lesser word limits. So how does one learn to write for these new media? I had gone to train media students in Tezpur University at the beginning of this month. One trick I suggested is as follows:

  • Write your story as you would normally do so in about 300 to 500 words.
  • Now edit it to about 200 words.
  • Again edit it to about 100 words.
  • Take care that you don't lose the context and the important facts in the story while re-editing it.
  • Now consider this: Facebook allows  420 characters to share with your friends
  • Twitter allows 140 characters
  • Your SMS allows about 150 characters

Not easy, right? My students in Tezpur first thought it would be a breeze, but then found out exactly how difficult it is.

  • You have to be able to think fast - you might be reporting, tweeting from a situation.
  • You have to be able to structure your sentences without losing the facts and the context.
  • You CANNOT use SMS language.
  • So you MUST have a good command over the language you are using.

Do try it, practice and learn this trick. It's going to be a useful skillset in the future.

I am developing a training module. Should be ready soon.