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Smart Glasses and Mobile Technologies in Journalism

February 6, 2015 by Theresa Böhme

Drones, smart glasses, and other wearables: How are new technologies enriching our experience of journalism?

Society’s trend toward digitalization is increasingly influencing media coverage. New technologies create novel communication channels and platforms, offering refreshing new options to both creators and consumers of media and changing the way media are used.

The first transformation was initiated by mobile technologies, so could wearables now be revolutionizing journalism once more?

Mobile technologies are changing journalism

Mobile journalism is a new form of reporting in which journalists use mobile devices to gather, edit, and distribute their content for consumption through mobile devices. The influence of mobile technology, such as tablets and smartphones, has fundamentally changed journalism. Important news is spread and read 24/7 from all around the globe. The behavior of media consumers has also changed: Their desire for information has increased, contributing significantly to the success of mobile news dissemination.

Users can now slip into the role of writers and spread user-generated content in the form of images, articles, news, and comments, primarily through social networks. New forms of online communication allow news to reach a wider audience than ever before. Publishing houses have evolved into transmedial partners, focusing on interactivity. They offer apps, streaming services, and push notifications to satisfy their readers’ growing appetite for information. The one-sided communication between publishing houses and their target audiences has been replaced by a dialog that takes place on social networks.

Wearables expand the range of opportunities

Smart watches, smart glasses, fitness bracelets, and clothes equipped with electronic components are currently the best-known wearables available. In addition to their primary functions, they have great potential for media reporting. Short but important messages and preliminary information can be pushed to small-screen wearables attached to the body, enabling users to stay up-to-date quickly and easily.

Fast access to information is a great plus point for consumers. Smart glasses are also advantageous when it comes to live news broadcasting straight from the scene of the events. Journalists above all can benefit greatly from this. In difficult situations such as protests or tragedies, users can capture live images while retaining full physical mobility.

Despite this, wearables will not replace smartphones – the screen is too small to display adequate amounts of information, and wearables have fundamentally different functions. Nevertheless, wearables could inform about important events in the form of push messages until the user has time to find out more through traditional information channels and devices.

Drones also offer potential for journalism

Drones are currently not very widespread in journalism but definitely offer further benefits. In the case of disasters, for example, drones could roam the area and transmit vital images from an aerial perspective, enabling fast assessment of the overall situation. In the case of fire catastrophes, drones could pinpoint the fire’s core through infrared imaging, leading to faster fire extinguishing. Drones can also deliver images from war zones and similar crises, helping journalists conduct hazardous investigations. News network CNN already uses drones for filming: Application scenarios have included the Costa Concordia cruise liner tragedy as well as the Haiyan typhoon that raged over the Philippines.

Photo: Shutterstock

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