How we cover news has changed and continues to evolve with the use of mobile technology. The same goes for weather.
When a big storm hits, people have grown accustomed to turning to Twitter to follow hashtags and share photos and video. They’re also looking for the latest information on a storm and its total damage.
That’s why a new class at the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma is focusing on mobile journalism and how to use smartphone applications to cover the news.
The class is called OU StormCrowd and allows students to use iPod touches to report on weather events from the field. It’s in its second year and has attracted both journalism and meteorology students.
“If a journalist or citizen was next to any kind of news, we want to know how they can cover it,” said associate professor Julie Jones. “We really wanted our students out and about and actively using it.”
The idea for the class came about when Jones and another professor were discussing whether or not an iPhone could be used as a reporter tool.
Using the iPod touches, students are now able to go out into the field and send updates back through Twitter. The tweets, photos and videos are then pulled into a map on the class website.
The class has a main Twitter handle, @OUStormCrowd, but students are asked to create separate accounts for the semester to be retweeted by the main account. This allows students to build up their own following and credibility. It also holds them accountable for the information they tweet, she said.
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