Be smarter than your smartphone, kids

I sat down to write a brief about the “Smartphone Journalism” presentation. I opened the voice memo app on my own smartphone so I could review the 50 minutes of information I had stored in this wonderful, multi-purpose device.

But ironically, none of it was there.

It deleted or glitched because I swear I saw it recording. I spent 50 minutes recording a presentation about how reliable smartphones are when doing media coverage and my smartphone failed me—when I was media covering. That was not so smart of you, smartphone. Even though I don’t have any notes from this event now, I do in fact remember a girl asking Multimedia Journalist Fritz Klug if there are any detriments in relying on smartphones in journalism. And what happened to me answers that question.

“[Smartphones] can be heavily relied on in certain situation but you should have a backup plan,” Senior Gina McCrackin said.” I mean, it’s technology!”

Agreed. It’s no human being. And although humans, (especially teenagers here at MIPA) aren’t particularly considered as smart as their smartphone, we don’t randomly delete everything in our brain or break or run out of battery… well, I guess we eventually do run out of battery, but there’s no charging after that.

Klug suffered the malfunctioning of technology when spending a day typing in the notes app and recording Congressman Gary Peters on his phone only to find everything deleted when he sat down to write the story. Thanks, Apple.

Notepads, on the other hand, are not Apple products. They don’t malfunction all the time. So as Klug advised, please don’t forget how to write on notepads, kids. And always have one with you!

Another huge piece of advice was revealed when “Mom” called Klug during his presentation. That “accident” didn’t just occur so that people in the crowd could either laugh or whisper “that was so staged!” to one another. It was an example to show us that smartphones are in fact phones, not just technological journalism machines, and should be put on airplane mode or a simple, heartwarming call from ‘Mom’ (even if it wasn’t really Mom) can ruin an interview or presentation.

I clearly intended to have all of his quotes in my phone but since I don’t, I’ll paraphrase one of Klug’s warnings. Always write down the most newsworthy quotes on paper because there is a chance the voice memo app will fail on you. Oh the irony.

This week is obviously all about journalism. I can’t afford for this to happen again.

Will I carry a notepad around with me in the future? I wasn’t going to but given what happened, I think it’s a pretty good idea.

Will I still use my smartphone? There’s no way I can’t, even with all of its faults. Like Klug said, digital journalism is on the rise. You could write down every darn word the person says. Or you could just record it like every other normal journalist and hope that your smartphone doesn’t act so dumb.


Mila Murray has written a opinion article. Her views do not necessarily reflect the views of the MIPA Upstart staff.

4 Responses to “Be smarter than your smartphone, kids” »

Mila Murray says:
Aug 05, 2014

What a great opinion article!

Mila Murray
Ayoub JM says:
Aug 05, 2014

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Kennedy Carman says:
Aug 05, 2014

Very good structure to this piece! I like the opinions, I agree with most of them!

Steph says:
Aug 06, 2014

I find the irony hilarious here. I find that a lot of people don’t want to admit the faults of “digital journalism,” so it’s refreshing to read someone who does. Good article.

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