Darren Waters

Mobile video at Davos

  • Darren Waters
  • 28 Jan 08, 09:45 GMT

One of the talking points to emerge from Davos this year is the use of online video to report instantly on events, with little mediation through traditional channels.

Mobile camera phoneReuters have been trialling a mobile journalism unit, with reporters armed with adapted phones to attached microphones. Short, sharp interviews are posted quickly to a dedicated page on the Reuters website.

The news agency has also handed some of the phones to some blogging luminaries, including Jeff Jarvis, who has championed what is called "networked journalism". I'll be honest, I'm not entirely sure what networked journalism is - and I'm not sure anyone is - but part of it is the use of reporting tools which can make use of the connected nature of the web, to build an inclusive form of journalism.

But it's not Reuters making waves in online video that was the talking point of Davos. It's people like Robert Scoble and Loic LeMeur.

Scoble, who works for Fast Company and is a renowned blogger in his own right, has been trawling the corridors of power at Davos recording interviews on his Nokia N95 and sometimes going live, using a software tool called Qik. Our online business editor Tim Weber was also roped into one of Scoble's interviews while at Davos.

LeMeur has been using Qik also - as well as his own tool Seesmic, recording video conversations direct from Davos.

Online tools like Qik and connected devices like mobile phones are combining to give reporters and citizen journalists the ability to produce journalism without any of the usual filters or production layers.

Of course it's not quite as simple as it appears - both Scoble and LeMeur have a profile which transcends the tools they use. Scoble may "just be a blogger" but his status as an ex-Microsoft employee and LeMeur's connection to people like Sarkozy open doors.

But that's not the point I'm trying to make: These tools are tremendously exciting - whether you're a lone blogger, a mainstream news agency or even the world's largest news organisation like the BBC.

We too are planning to engage with mobile video. Next month we'll be using mobile phones to product video, photos and text journalism, alongside our more traditional reporting methods.

It's not just an experiment - we'll be using the tools to talk about the future of mobile phones - at the Mobile World Congress, Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and engaging with people and companies who are helping transform the device across Silicon Valley.

We're planning to use tools like Qik, Kyte TV, Seesmic and Shozu to both reach new audiences and experiment with new tools.

But we're open to suggestions - are there other online tools that we should be using? Are you interested in the BBC trialling such things?

How are you using your mobile phone to "report" on your world?

Send me your recommendations and thoughts. I'd love to hear them.


I think this is great.
Back to reporting news as it used to be with the capability to report multiple editions daily.

In Text, Audio, Video and Pictures
reported the reporters.

And there is a hungry audience for this...not rolling but timely and relevant news reporting in context to events as they happen with the ability to supply insightful valuable content in established digital mediums.

Hi Darren, glad you also plan to use these, no doubt you will see a community forming around you on Seesmic.

My learning using them in Davos is that in Seesmic people did not like the fact that mobile posting via Qik and Shozu to Seesmic was a one way posting. Both Scoble and myself were just broadcasting and not listening or open to conversations. We will fix this very soon.

Back to the learning: it's more about the conversation than the mobile posting.

See you in Seesmic !

I personally think is an amazing blogging platform, full uk support will be online asap.

I think the idea for phoning in a podcast is amazing! The video and photoblogging is as good any anyone's.

Seesmic is a little hard for me to access until there mobile things kick off....

Shozu is cool, but its going to change the face of anything I don't think.

I havent looked at KyteTV though... so thanks for the heads up.


Daily Motion and Ustream provide the means to live stream video and get text responses in real time. They work much better than the current crop. Seesmic is OK but it's asymmetric and the timeline gets cluttered very quickly. Qik depends on a good 3G or wifi connection as does Shozu.

This is very much the early stages with these services so it is as well to be patient.

Loic makes a good comment...

I just blogged about it.

"When broadcasting live with Qik, you can have a real-time conversation with viewers, by watching the display on the Nokia N95 and talking back.

When you enable Qik to post your archived stream to Seesmic, you need to then log on to Seesmic to participate in the followup conversation. In the meantime, anyone who is logged on to Seesmic can participate in the discussion.

So a couple of things are happening here.

1. Live two-way communication while broadcasting.

2. Follow up conversations about archived streams.

I think both can work as long as you can be selective about which live streams you send over to Seeesmic. As part of the Seesmic community, I'm trying to be careful about what I post there, since unlike Twitter, people can't unsubscribe to me for periods of time when I'm posting a lot."

I am not sure if the bbc is already using Twitter, but if you are not, you should use it to drive traffic to new posts on whichever video sharing site(s) you decide to use.

Julia, we use Twitter informally here. I have a twitter page - so feel free to add me.

A very helpful guy has also created a BBC Tech twitter feed around our RSS feed. You can follow it at

His name is Mario Menti and I tip my hat to him.

Hi Darren,

Nice to see this being raised. I added you to Twitter otherwise you can add me 'bazflaz'.

We are users of Twitter, Seesmic, Qik, Shozu etc..and have been for a while. Nice to see the viral adoption of these tools now at the BBC from your recent meetings with Loic and coverage of events. Also check out a nice site for citizen journalism called as well with some good people behind it. Mobile video will be more popular due to the improved quality of the cameraphones and the plethora of applications that seem to be popping up every other day at the moment.

Keep up the good work!

Barry Flaherty

  • 9.
  • At 09:56 PM on 28 Jan 2008,
  • Duncan wrote:

Let's not get carried away here! This technology isn't new, and it's not rocket science either. Remember that the BBC is (or was) the premier global news organisation and as such, it would be wise to check facts before broadcast. Has the fairly recent run in with the British government been forgotten amidst some gadget frenzy? I do hope not.

  • 10.
  • At 09:32 AM on 29 Jan 2008,
  • Ian Stewart wrote:

I am not sure about this trend, anymore than I am about reality television. The camera videos of the July bombings expressed the human experience perfectly which really brought home the immense tragedy. However for most news I would rather listen to Robert Fisk talk about the war in Iraq, or read Robert Preston on the economic crisis, than a street video with someone who probably knows less about the subject than I do. There is a place for the human experience but from news media I prefer objective analysis. The "man in the street" is not really that interesting.

  • 11.
  • At 03:11 PM on 29 Jan 2008,
  • Ben wrote:

This is a great move. The world is moving to a new era and it is the Portable Video era people want to be able to watch ANY VIDEO ANYWHERE and soon it will be live HD video. is a great example of live hd video over the internet.

If you are considering broadcasting from your mobile phone you should use Flixwagon. They lack the social tools for now, but they rule the quality battle big time.

  • 13.
  • At 05:09 PM on 29 Jan 2008,
  • Daniel wrote:

If you are considering broadcasting from your mobile phone you should use Flixwagon. They lack the social tools for now, but they rule the quality battle big time.

  • 14.
  • At 07:26 AM on 30 Jan 2008,
  • chris wrote:

The problem with this type of reporting is that it's just instant soundbytes and platitudes. While I think these platforms are excellent for breaking news, the issues at the world economic forum are not something that can be summed up succinctly - if anything it would be useful to use technology not to give more air time to these people meeting in a fortress but to have a real exchange of in depth information about issues that affect all of us.

If you put material on a video sharing site, I'd try out rather than just, as the sound and picture quality are much better!

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