Mobile Reporting at Roots ‘n’ Blues ‘n’ BBQ

This is a long time coming.

See this press release from Mizzou detailing how Vox Magazine Digital Editors and reporters used a whole handful of new digital reporting tools in our coverage of the Roots ‘n’ Blues ‘n’ BBQ Festival in Columbia. 

We kicked ass at the festival. Here’s some quick notes on our strategies for mobile first live coverage.

1. Show, don’t tell. We are visual creatures, and when you’re doing mobile journalism, it’s best enjoyed by other mobile users. Keeping both these in mind, focus your efforts on visual content.

Rosanne Cash performs “Modern Blue” alongside guitarist John Leventhal on the Missouri Lottery Stage. #RNBNBBQ

A video posted by Tess Marie♡ (@tmcatlett) on

2. When doing live coverage, show people what’s happening and where. Your audience is both people at the live thing and people watching from home. Give people context when you show them what’s happening, like describing what stage you’re near, or what cross streets you’re on.

3. Do a service for people. People are more satisfied with your work if you add value to their experience. Show them where the free water can be found, where the best bands are playing, or the best food deals.

4. Use your natural digital publishing instincts. We’re all digital publishers, whether we’re posting on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. You know what works best with your social network, or what your followers like the best from you. Stay true to those instincts and embrace the #foodstagram.

I couldn’t agree more. #rnbnbbq @voxmagazine

A photo posted by Ciera Velarde (@ciera93) on

5. Prepare your equipment. Take charging sticks, extra batteries, extra pens, water, business cards, anything you’ll need. The Boy Scouts have a great motto – be prepared.

6. Don’t just do mobile reporting. While you’re on scene, you’ll discover stories and sources. Take that nice DSLR with you and do extra reporting on top of your mobile coverage. This way you can pair in-depth coverage later with your live insight.

7. Be a human being. The worst thing I’ve seen is people who make “professional” social media accounts and post super boring things to a tiny audience. Embrace the fact you’re a real person and do this reporting from your personal account – just make sure that personal account is an accurate representation of who you are.

Graycie Gregory, the 3-year-old selfie queen, wanted to take my picture, too. #RNBNBBQ #kidsofRNBNBBQ #precious

A photo posted by Tess Marie♡ (@tmcatlett) on

8. Join already established discussions and communities. Our plan wasn’t to launch a new hashtag, but rather join the one already existing. As a result, our content and coverage was injected into an already shared and populated discussion, and in no time our work dominated the stream. Our brand and reporters were plastered on live billboards and shared all over the internet. Unless you have the brand power of somebody like Coca-Cola, you can’t start a hashtag and expect people to communicate on it.

9. Make it about the people. Connect with people you talk with. Social is the platform, so make sure we’re not leaving people we’re reporting on out of the discussion.

10. Have fun! Be creative. Mobile reporting isn’t a clearly defined art – make it your own and you’ll discover new ways to tell stories.

Featured Photo: Jeff Lautenberger, Flickr.