Despite potential, mobile reporting still faces challenges

Mobile video reporting is still meeting with resistance from African citizens and even some journalists, said Ameyaw Debrah, a Ghanaian mobile reporter, at the Digital Citizen Indaba 3.0 in Grahstown, South Africa.

Those that are used to being interviewed in front of large television cameras fail to take journalists seriously when they produce mobile phones to create videos for online media, Debrah said.

As a reporter for Africa News, an interactive multimedia platform, Debrah often uses his mobile phone to record and file news reports.

Before beginning work, Debrah was trained in innovative reporting and mobile-phone use, he said in an interview. Journalists for the company are provided with small keyboards to enable them to work more quickly then they could on tiny mobile-phone key pads, he explained.

Munene Kilongi, a Kenyan mobile reporter for Voices of Africa, also expressed his appreciation of the medium, noting that it offered an alternative to mainstream news during Kenya's post-election violence.

The GPS (global positioning system) facility in mobile phones has enabled Kilongi to report from anywhere with mobile network connectivity, Kilongi said. He has had no trouble with connectivity due to Kenya's 3G network, he added.

Debrah, however, has been hindered by Africa's Internet connectivity challenges, and he called for dramatic improvement regarding innovation in mobile GPS technology.

Mobile television may play a part in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, as Zolisa Masiza of Telkom revealed that the company is looking into mobile TV test operators on their 3G network.

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