Thursday, November 13, 2008

Getting the scoop, and then some

Field reporting using a laptop that connects to the Internet from one of the phone company’s PCMCIA cards, equipped with Skype and a small video camera, can be a powerful tool for journalists. Whether a reporter writes for a newspaper, magazine, e-zine, podcast, or blog, the combination of laptops, webcams, and Skype is the equivalent of a TV studio on a shoestring budget. Transmitting live pictures, sound, and text from the middle of an event eliminates any time lapse between what happens in the world and how quickly people hear about it. Television has long been able to bring immediate news to a broadcast medium. Skype video, audio, chat, and file transfer put this same power into the hands of individuals. An enterprising Skype reporter can take his or her live feed and make it into a podcast, or even a “vodcast” (a video podcast) for large-scale distribution. Reporters can even connect to a newsroom with a live Skype video call and have their transmission broadcast on television.

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