Anna’s in chemistry class. Anna’s confused. Anna reaches for her phone so she can look up an easy explanation on how to write the net ionic equation for a redox reaction. Before her fingertip even reaches the home button on her iPhone, she jumps at the alarming voice of her teacher saying, “Anna, put that away immediately!”
More often than not, teachers bust high school students for using phones during school–regardless of whatever the student intent is. So what happens to high school journalists who want to cover real-time news with their all-inclusive smartphone?
There’s an insinuation that any time a teenager uses a smartphone is to snapchat a selfie, like Instagram photos, and repeatedly tweet at celebrities until they finally give these starstruck teens the time of day.
Even journalist Fritz Klug was the victim of such insinuations. He said that sometimes while covering news, he would hear others say, “I cannot believe how rude you are. You’ve been texting during all of this.”
But the smartphone is a journalist’s best friend, Klug says.
It’s not just a notepad anymore. It’s a high resolution camera with video-recording capabilities, an audio-recorder with just a click of a button, and unconstrained access to social media.
In the fast-paced twenty-first century society, a journalist is expected to always be on the move. Unlike the era of the printing press, journalists nowadays have new responsibilities such as breaking news in real time, using multi-platform coverage such as photos and videos to accompany stories, and communicating with fellow reporters and the rest of the world via social media.
With a smartphone, it’s not only easier and more tech-savvy, but it also encourages instantaneous global awareness.
On October 23rd, 2011, Turkey experienced a devastating earthquake. Moments after the ground stopped shaking, tweets, videos, and photos went viral on every social media site. Consequently, disaster relief forces arrived faster than ever before and people across the world pressured companies and organizations to respond.
A great technological tornado whirled into motion and allowed the global community to aid the nation.
All because of the smartphone.
Yet in my experience, it is nearly impossible for student journalists to do their job without getting the stink eye or judge-y eyebrow raise from someone nearby.
The negative connotation associated with phones nowadays poses a hindrance to these young journalists, preventing them from maximizing their potential of achieving multi-platform coverage.
Smartphones, are they making us stupid?
No. They’re making us smarter–more educated and more aware of the world we live in. They’re making intellectually curious teens like Anna learn with ease. They’re encouraging journalists to take on the challenge of delivering news to their respective communities.
After all, they’re called smartphones for a reason.