By Kevin Kline.

As hundreds descend on Galway for #MojoCon, the themes are obvious: don’t be limited in how you think and act. The world of journalism is constantly changing.

There were the pessimists. Speakers like the boisterous Michael Rosenblum argued journalism is dead because it killed itself by giving away content.

But there were also the optimists about how technological changes could improve journalism. Whether you’re a journalist, a content marketer, or a consumer of media (i.e. all of us), the transformations caused by and causing mobile journalism will impact you.

Here are some of my biggest takeaways from Mojcon.

Don’t Hesitate To Experiment

Technology is evolving constantly. A far-fetched idea now will be realistic in a year. An early technology can become mainstream quickly. That was the prediction especially for 360 video and virtual reality journalism.

By all means, VR has not gone mainstream. Most people aren’t using virtual reality goggles now. But that could change as video quality improve and technology becomes less bulky.

“The news industry had an opportunity with the internet,” says Robert Hernandez, a professor with the University of Southern California’s JoVRnalism program. “But we waited and we blew it. We were dismissive of blogs. We were dismissive of social media… I am really hoping we’re not late to this immersive disruption that’s happening.”

Even if technology and our skills aren’t perfect, it is better to experiment now. It will pay off.

Early adopters of drone technology, Hernandez pointed out, are now in high demand for freelance jobs.

Hernandez admits 360 video could go the way of Google Glass (he once taught a class about that too), but what really matters is having strong journalistic ethics at the centre of whatever new technology comes. The only way to make sure that happens is to try it out now.

“We are constantly experimenting,” says Hernandez of his students.

Kevin and Marie-Clare at MojoCon

One Size Does Not Fit All (Sort of)

We all want our jobs to be easy or at least efficient. It would be nice to work less and reach more. However, that just isn’t going to fly. Someone looking at Snaps will not react the same way as someone on Facebook or Instagram. One size doesn’t fit all.

However, the right workflow can help.

Sumaiya Seedat came up with a smart strategy for using one image or video on multiple platforms. I would argue the idea must ring true with a lot of content creators because my tweet showing her strategy was one my most retweeted from the conference.

  • Shoot in Snapchat, preferably using the Snapchat spectacles.
  • Import that image and make it vertical in Instagram Stories
  • Add titles and square off the video in Apple Clips
  • Upload the file to Facebook

Remember, a “winning post” on Facebook will be different than a “win” on Snapchat or Instagram. Some platforms perform better for marketing. Others perform better for interaction.

Younger Audiences Won’t Tolerate Old Push Model

One of the most interesting sessions I saw was about Snapchat journalism. The panel, all millennial using social media for either journalism or marketing, showed how current tools can elevate news coverage.

Kristen Granbo, a journalist focusing on news for young teenagers for Norway’s public broadcaster NRK, uses Snapchat to tell the biggest stories of the day. Sometimes that might be about politics, but it also might be about how Norwegians own more clothes than anyone else.

Granbo’s team creates snaps for it all, and in doing so reaches a new audience that was ignored before. They will ask for young people in Norway to send in their thoughts. Most importantly, her team reads each and every message sent in.

Another Snapchat journalist, Eva Schulz, says Snapchat is especially useful to interact with her audience. Schulz, who works for German channel “Hochkant,” says for teens Snapchat is like having a private and intimate conversation with friends. Instagram, she argues, is much more public so only the best and most polished content is there.

The argument these women made were not that one medium is the be all and end all. Instead, a  smart media plan for any organisation should involve using every social media platform.

By the way, another social platform is coming that’s popular with children and young teens. Kik could end up being the biggest deal of all.

Don’t Get Hung Up On The Medium

Before Mojocon began, the conference’s founder Glen Mulcahy of RTÉ told me there are real threats to journalism and the world.

“You look at all of the stuff that’s happening with Trump and fake news and Brexit and everything,” says Mulcahy. “There are key things we need to focus on. The box that we deliver the content in is the last thing we should get hung up about.”

That’s especially important to remember as the way we create and consume news changes. What we create and read is more important than the technology used to make it.

In other words, don’t sweat the small stuff. What really matters is that our audiences get the most accurate information possible.

For a full wrap-up of Mojocon, check out some of the videos the Irish Tech News team produced in Galway below:

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