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Bentley: Mobile changes journalism

February 13, 2011

Photo by John Williams

By Alyse M. Thompson

After Dr. Clyde Bentley experienced 3G cell phones in London in 2006, he knew it would completely change journalism.

“I was scared as a journalist,” said Bentley, a journalism professor at the University of Missouri. “I was scared kind of like being in line for a roller coaster. You know it’s going to be fun, but you know you are going to have the wits scared out of you doing it, and that’s where we are in mobile today. It’s moving incredibly, incredibly fast.”

Bentley, keynote speaker for the Mid-America Press Institute’s “Managing in the Digital Age” seminar, presented new mobile technology and its applications for journalism Saturday. Bentley recommended looking into the following:

  • Mobile World Congress holds a conference every year to showcase the newest innovations in mobile technology. The 2011 conference is in Barcelona  Feb. 14-17.
  • Long Term Evolution is the newest development in mobile networks. According to Bentley, it is SIM-based and allows for faster speeds –up to 1000 mps for LTE Advanced.
  • Near Field Communication permits people to store more than just contacts in their phones. Consumers can use this feature instead of carrying around various cards, which is much safer, according to Bentley.
  • Flashlinq, a wireless technology conceived by Qualcomm, will create “neighborhood-area” communication between wireless devices without the use of a tower.
  • Super camera phones are now possible with lens attachments specifically for smart phones. Bentley says these lenses can have up to 12 megapixels and 5x zoom.
  • Users of Evernote can store photos, text, web pages and screen shots, organize them and access them from any computer or mobile device. Evernote also lets users create searchable tags to index their entries.
  • The AP Stylebook is now available as an app for the iPhone so reporters can brush up on AP style even if they are away from the copy desk.

Regardless of the changes in mobile technology, Bentley says the mobile phone will continue to be a necessity for journalists and non-journalists alike.

“Leaving a phone at home is kind of like leaving your false teeth at home,” Bentley said. “It’s an extension of yourself.”

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