Better tool for journalists, iPhone or BlackBerry?

Etan Horowitz, posting on E-Media Tidbits, attempts (and succeeds, in my opinion) to answer the question: Which is better tool for journalists, BlackBerry or iPhone? I’ll just share his conclusions here and you can read the full post:

“In the days when producing content mainly happened from a laptop or the office, the BlackBerry made a lot of sense. It is a perfect tool for communicating quickly by e-mail or text and looking up information online. But now that many journalists are expected to post stories, blog posts, photos and videos from the field, the iPhone is a better option.

As a profession, journalism is still struggling to find its footing in the digital age. Since most of the innovative mobile applications are being developed for the iPhone, using an iPhone will help journalists stay current with technology and get them excited about its potential for news.

Don’t believe me? Just give an iPhone to one of the old-school types in your newsroom and see how they react after a few days of use. They’re likely to tell you the device changed their life. You won’t get the same response by giving someone a BlackBerry.

But that doesn’t mean the iPhone is best for all journalists. Editors, Web producers and others who don’t report from the field but frequently communicate with a team will probably be better served by a BlackBerry. And the fact that BlackBerrys cost less, run on multiple carriers and have removable batteries and memory cards are also valid considerations.” [Thanks, Aaron for the link]

Twitter coverage of execution

Missourinet (a Learfield network) News Director Bob Priddy covered last night’s execution of Dennis Skillicorn. Reporters and witnesses can’t take cell phones past a certain point, but Bob was planning to use Twitter to file updates before and after the execution (he was a witness).

The wifi he expected wasn’t available so he took notes and posted to @missourinet when he got back on line (at the motel, I assume).

As I expected, Twitter was a very effective tool in the hands of good and experienced reporters. Here’s a screen shot from early this morning.


Had reporters been allowed to keep their Blackberrys and iPhones, this is probably as close to live coverage of an execution as we’re likely to get.

And in the hands of someone as responsible as Bob Priddy, I think this might be a good idea. As I understand it, the rationale behind having witnesses is to insure the people of Missouri “see” this ultimate punishment. Twitter might be the least sensational way to accomplish this on a mass scale.

I’ll make a prediciton here: If not in Missouri, some state will allow or provide this coverage.

Is that a phone in your pocket?

Picture 2 I’ve been thinking about photos taken with mobile phones. Some users don’t know how to get them off the phone so they just use it as a storage (and “look at this”) device. Others email the photos to friends. And very few (I’m guessing here) publish their photos to an online site like flickr or Photobucket.

I didn’t think I’d take many photos with the iPhone. I almost always have a better camera with me and posting images here or on flickr is pretty easy. But not as easy as with the iPhone.

I haven’t posted many iPhone pix to my flickr account and only have about 40 in a Mobile Me gallery (Mobile Me is both Mac and PC, I think). But these pix are more of a gestalt view of my life than my flickr photostream.

And Twitter adds still another dimension. And video is on the way.

I don’t really have any conclusions about this. I’m just learning how the device, in conjunction with an ever more social web, make it so much more than a phone.

I’d be interested in hearing from others on this topic. Not just iPhone users but anyone with camera-enabled phone. Or anyone else, for that matter.

Back with one final thought…

BlackBerry users. They love their device, too. But –it seems to me– in a different way. I’ve never owned one but it seems to be more of an email (and, increasingly, a Twitter) thing. It’s about getting the job done. Staying in touch. I don’t get the sense they’re having as much fun as iPhone’rs.

Not sure I know any CrackBerry adicts who have switched to iPhone. If you have, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Blackberry-twitterMissouri Senator Claire McCaskill has been getting a lot of interest in her use of Twitter (microblog, social networking tool, blah blah blah) to keep her constituents informed about what she’s doing. Politico recently named her to their list of the ten most influential Twitterers in DC (right behind Karl Rove).

Missourinet (network owned by Learfield, the company that pays me) reporter Steve Walsh brought up Twitter in a recent interview and the senator spoke wistfully about a day when she can “speak directly to everyone in Missouri,” describing it as “Nirvana.”

AUDIO: Excerpt from interview

It was telling that my friend (and co-worker) Steve set his question up as “nothing at all to do with anything serious.”

Hmm. Should the day come that every elected official can speak directly to every one of the people they represent, without talking to a reporter, things could get serious (for the news media). Don’t get me wrong, we need good reporters like Steve, who can call bullshit on the politicians when necessary. They will always have a role. But it seems to be changing.

And this just in… anyone with access to the Internet can hear directly from Senator McCaskill.

Think before pressing send

President-elect Barack Obama told CNN he thinks he may be able to “hang onto” his blackberry after all.

“I think we’re going to be able to hang onto one of these. Now, my working assumption, and this is not new, is that everything I write on e-mail could end up being on CNN. So I make sure that — to think before I press ‘send.’”

What if all of our leaders understood that everything they say an do “could end up being on CNN” and they had to think before pressing send?

I love that O wants to keep his Blackberry, even if he can only use it for personal communication. The man wants to stay connected.

It looks like TV to me

From PoynterOnline’s  Al’s Morning Meeting (Al Tompkins):

“Monday morning, WTSP-TV anchor/reporter Janie Porter was on TV, reporting live from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on the run-up to this week’s national college football championship game. She didn’t have a big live truck accompanying her, or an engineer tuning in a shot or a photojournalist standing behind the camera and setting up lights.”

“Porter set up her own camera, opened her laptop, connected the camera to her computer, slipped a wireless connection card into her laptop, called up Skype and used her Blackberry to establish IFB (the device TV folks wear in their ears to hear the off-air signal). It all looked just great on air.”

So here’s my question: If a reporter didn’t know how to do what Janie did, why wouldn’t he or she make some effort to learn it? If you answered, “I’m not a TV reporter,” go to the back of the line.

Crossing the mobile Rubicon

Lisa-att200It’s done. After a little agonizing and a little nagging, I bought an iPhone. Lisa, the AT&T rep couldn’t believe I didn’t have a mobile number I wanted to keep. She spoke very slowly as she asked me if I had an iTunes account and explained that Safari would be my browser.

Chuck came in while Lisa was showing me how to turn the iPhone on and off. He’s a serious road warrior who is giving up his beloved Blackberry for the iPhone. We are similarly motivated: our clients –and the world– are increasingly mobile. I need to be there and the iPhone is the state of the art.

Obviously, I’ll chronicle my mobile journey here in coming weeks and months.

President Obama trying to keep his Blackberry

“I’m negotiating to figure out how can I get information from outside of the 10 or 12 people who surround my office in the White House. Because, one of the worst things I think that could happen to a president is losing touch with what people are going through day to day.” [from Barbara Walters interview]

A long way from being Dick Cheney’s Charley McCarthy.

Personalized Medicine of the Future

“When you walk into a superstore, you would drop a sample of blood or saliva on a BlackBerry-type device. When you’re done shopping for groceries, the store would present you with a printout of your ailments and a bag of personalized medication. That medication would also contain digestible computer chips, which would relay real-time reports on your body’s fluctuations.”

G. Steven Burrill addressing AdvaMed 2008, a medical technology industry conference in Washington last week, spoke about the upcoming era of personalized medicine.