Interview with Glen Mulcahy,@ , Mojo event organiser, March 27th / 28th in Dublin.
Mojo(con), it’s a great idea, what was the inspiration behind doing the event?
Mojocon was inspired by 2014. The year I spent travelling around to different countries, conferences and stations to talk and teach people about the RTÉ Mobile Journalism project and share our production workflow and tips.
I realised pretty early on that many companies were generally aware of the potential of mobile for content creation but had defaulted to it only in the context of breaking news clips and user generated content. Mobile can deliver so much more.
The RTÉ project has been running for over five years now and I am still amazed to see the expressions on peoples faces when you show them short films, news reports, live broadcasts and more, all created with smartphones. Over that time though it also became apparent that RTÉ were not the only ones experimenting in the space and over the last four years in particular, a global network of mojo pioneers and practitioners have formed on Twitter and Facebook, yet, in spite of the accumulative achievements of those people, mojo was still being pigeon-holed into a “grab and send raw” usage model in most instances.
I decided there would be merit in bringing that global network together, to share their experiences, case studies and the evolution of their projects so those interested to learn, could get a broad and dynamic insight into what is going on around the world in mobile creation. I also decided to broaden the scope beyond just journalism and push it out to include photography, filmmaking and digital storytelling as these crafts are all interlinked and mutually beneficial.
From its inception the speaker list was informed by people who had pioneered or innovated in the mobile space. I knew what the sessions would be so I set about reaching out to the mojo community to see if people would be interested in getting together and sharing their knowledge. Mojocon is fundamentally about sharing – sharing ideas, thoughts, knowledge and experience. It was important for me to be very deliberate in the people I approached.
There are loads of annual conferences about journalism around the world. Loads more about photography, loads of film festivals etc. But this was about MOBILE – first and foremost, so I needed speakers who had created something, started something, proven something new, pushed the boundaries in the mobile space. That narrowed the field of potential speakers substantially as this movement is still in its infancy. Yet I was met with an overwhelmingly positive response and I’m am both thrilled and in awe of the lineup of speakers for the event.
Why will MOJO(con) be a great event?
I believe it will be a great event because I designed it with the delegate in mind from the beginning. The three strands are designed to give the delegate a holistic overview of mojo. The conference plenary sessions offer a huge selection of case studies, examples and experience for how mojo can be used. The exhibition brings together 27 of the leading App and Accessory makers who have effectively empowered the mojo community to overcome the limitations and push the boundaries. Finally day 2 is entirely dedicated to training and workshops, many of the speakers from day one will be involved in delivering the workshops on day 2.
News reporting has seen a lot of changes recently. What are your concerns going forwards?
I think news coverage is moving closer to realtime hd cross platform video and personalised story agendas. I think the medium term trend will build on that. Social media services like Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook means that the connected generation get their news on the fly throughout the day. I think it is important that traditional news organisations adapt to that change. But at the same time there are still very substantial audiences tuning in for the flagship bulletins of the day on radio and TV.
You can’t undermine what you do in order to try something new – the two should coexist and if possible cross pollinate. RTÉ continues to be at the fore front of national and international news and we continue to serve our audience through our traditional methods and services but at the same time we are experimenting with new platforms, new ways of storytelling and new ways to deliver our stories. I think that culture of innovation is vital in an age of such disruption.
The fall in the cost of producing news worthy stories has fallen, and we see more content created by a wider number of people. How is this impacting on the news that RTE provides?
UGC has been around for quite a while now, sure, the statistics from YouTube about the volume of video being uploaded every minute (100 hours) is staggering but a huge amount of that, the vast majority I would argue, will quickly fade into obscurity. That said there is a growing amount of well produced content by video bloggers who are making a living out of daily or weekly videos. Do Vloggers pose a threat to RTÉ – realistically no. There are hundreds of channels on SKY but the vast majority of subscribers watch 10 or less.
I do think there is an opportunity to better connect with independent news makers and maybe even form strategic alliances to elaborate on our reach and to explore hyper local news but there is no immediate plan to pursue this presently. Also I think services like Storyful and NewsWhip who monitor social media for trends and verify authenticity are a fundamental part of news-gathering today.
Who are you most looking forward to hearing speak?
I’m eagerly anticipating listening to our two keynotes, Richard Sambrook and Gerd Leonhard but to give credit to all the other speakers I think every single one of them has a great story to share, irrespective of race, religion or gender.
If you were to organise this again, what would you do differently?
I alluded to it above actually. My only regret is that I didn’t bring in a female media representative from the beginning. I’ve had a bit of a hard time from some of the “women in media” groups on twitter and I completely see their perspective. At the same time though I didn’t set out to do a perfectly gender balanced 50:50 showcase of journalism.
I set out to find the best speakers with the best case studies and experiences to share about mobile content creation in the areas I have specified. I can only hope that some of the women who are disgruntled by the ratio of female speakers will attend in the hope that next year they may be on stage talking about their reports, movie, or other mobile achievement – inspired by what they hear and learn at Mojocon.