Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The MoJo mode

We've heard chatter about a MediaNews “mobile journalist” program called the MoJo Initivative.

The idea isn't new: other news organizations, Gannett being among the first, have undertaken programs that provide mobile kits (laptops, audio recorders, video and/or digital cameras, cell phones and Internet access) to people willing to work out of their home or cars.

With journalists working from the field instead of the newsroom, media companies can significantly cut overhead, needing only a small office to house assignment,news and web editors with maybe a few additional desks reporters can share. For example, The Record in Hackensack, N.J reported recently that it was moving out of Hackensack (savings: $2.4 milion), that most of the news staff would become mobile journalists, working from the field, while others would also relocate to one of the paper's eight weekly newspaper sites. “They will share desks as they are rarely in the office. The office/work concept is called ‘hoteling’. Employees actually reserve desk time to cut down on the number of desks and square footage needed.”

There are up-sides for reporters and photographers doing mobile journalism: most want the training and the equipment to hone their skills so as to be all-platform. Almost all understand that “technology has made people more mobile, and journalism has to react.” Journalism from Inside a Car

But the down-side may be that with more and more journalists expected to work remotely, employers may eventually seek to cut the umbilical chord (but not editorial oversight, hopefully) and sever the employer-employee relationship entirely. The line between a staff journalist and a freelance journalist that works from home is virtually nonexistent - except for the compensation and benefits paid to the staffer. The working conditions, the work itself, and all the rest of the traditional differences are essentially erased once you separate the journalist from the newsroom. Or so it would seem. What do you think?

Are you already operating in the mojo mode? How is it working for you?


Anonymous said...

the guild is "involved" in mobilization here at the breezer through the mobile mode. no humans showing up to shake our hands, chat or anything human. just stupid blogs and emails. no wonder the p-t folks are struggling.

Anonymous said...

I agree, and we paid our union dues, were transfered against our will and nothing was done about. So why should we should we join the union if it never fulfilled its legal responsibility to represent us?
If I knew that the union wasn't going to be there for us when the shit hit the fan 6 months ago, I would have pulled my dues.
On the West coast The Newspaper Guild is all bark and no bite.

Kevin Pierce said...


Mobile Journalist=MOJO

Bombastic Journalist=BLOJO
War correspondent=GIJO
Journalist in need of a shower=BOJO
Journalist with deadline deficiencies=SLOJO
Journalist who covers Stephen King=CUJO
Gardening columnist=GROJO
Journalist who eats the fried clam special=HOJO
Journalist who reports on track and field=FLOJO
Journalist hired as PR spokesman=SNOJO
Citizen journalist=FAUXJO
Journalist who covers The Lord of the Rings=FROJO
Journalist who covers the presumptive Democratic nominee=OJO
Journalist in the 9th Ward=NOJO
Journalist who covered Chernobyl=GLOJO
Journalist who has met the enemy=POJO

One of several thousand journalists so far this year=LETGOJO
...ripped from the headlines

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I agree with the second commenter. I have become so disillusioned with the Guild. It has no backbone. It did nothing for those of us who were transferred or for those who were laid off despite more seniority. Now I'm no longer paying dues - but I'm spending much more than that for the extra gas needed to commute to Torrance, to a job that I could do just as easily closer to home in Long Beach. So why should I support the Guild? It certainly didn't support me.