Profile of a MoJo.

The prospect of a MoJo is absolutely fascinating to me. A MoJo is a Mobile Journalist who incorporates writing, photography, editing and broadcasting into a normal working day. It’s admirable, but is it too much? Does it jeapordise the quality of the  journalism?

Take Kevin Sites for example, a famous MoJo who has reported everywhere from Asia to South America bringing a backpack of all kinds of digital equipment with him.

Starting off as a staff reporter for NBC, CNN and ABC news, he left in 2005 to be Yahoo’s first news correspondent. When he took on this new role, he became a backpack journalist, reporting all over the world with just the contents of his bag.

Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone

In 2005, Sites set out to report from every major global conflict in one year ‘in an effort to understand the costs of a world perpetually at war’. According to his website his mission was “to cover every armed conflict in the world within one year, and in doing so to provide a clear idea of the combatants, victims, causes, and costs of each of these struggles – and their global impact.”

So what would Sites have had to lug around all of these war torn countries with him?

  • Traditional notebook and pen
  • Small digital camera with zoom lens
  • Mini digital sound recording  device, little larger than a pen
  • Broadcast quality, image-stabalised handheld video camcorder
  • Helmet mounted miniature ‘point of view’ video camera with recorder
  • Laptop with editing and writing software
  • Wireless modem for transmitting digital text, sound and video
  • Satellite phone that can transmit from anywhere
  • Camera equipped mobile phone

[The MoJo in the Third Millennium – Peter H. Martyn]

Carrying this amount of equipment ($10,000 worth to be exact) around with him is an achievement in itself, but what about the actual journalism?

Is removing yourself from one area of expertise potentially jeapordising the quality? Traditionally, journalists had one main focus, whether it be print, radio, or television. Nowadays there are several different areas that one journalist can focus on at the one time. Now that’s multi-tasking if I’ve ever seen it.

Would it lower the standard of the journalism? Would having to concentrate on so many different pieces of equipment distract you from the job at hand? At getting the story, at relaying the news back to those that want to read or hear it? In my opinion it would. How could it not?

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