Wednesday, February 08, 2012

IPhone FAQ details 'ways to power your journalism'

In a previously disclosed plan, Gannett is now issuing more than 1,000 iPhone 4S's to "front-line" reporters and photographers at its 80 U.S. community dailies, as part of a broader initiative to focus journalism even more on digital collection and delivery.

An iPhone 4S
Apple pioneered the current smartphone market when it introduced the first iPhone in June 2007, making it immediately clear the device was an important tool for digital journalists. But it has now taken GCI more than four years to start this concerted effort to get them in the hands of so many journalists.

In a newly emerged FAQ published by blogger Jim Romenesko, Corporate anticipates some questions, including:

Q. What am I expected to do with this new device?
A. The iPhone 4S is meant to enable you to do better, more timely journalism. Of course it is useful to have phone, text messaging and email capabilities for communicating with sources and colleagues. But there are also many basic functions of a smart phone -- voice recorder, video camera, still camera, etc. -- that enable you to capture notes or imagery you can use in your reporting. And the phones can run specialized apps that do nearly anything -- help you capture and annotate public records, transcribe interviews, map your way to a scene, listen into a police scanner, find nearby sources who are broadcasting their locations, tap into social media channels, do reverse look-ups on phone numbers, perform background checks, etc. We will recommend apps that can do all of these things -- and show you how to use them -- but that shouldn’t limit you. You’ll find all sorts of ways to power your journalism using this device, and we encourage you to boldly experiment.


  1. Who got phones? We didn't get phones yet.

  2. 12:43 ... you must be from Detroit. The company's most-honored journalism property apparently was left out of the plan.

  3. Who's paying for all this technology?

  4. 1. The iPhones that will be issued WILL ABSOLUTELY come with software installed so that each device can track and report back to corporate the websites that each journalist vists AND your location (office, field, house, etc). Mark Morneau in corporate has an initiative where he is going to make it mandatory that not only do your iPhones have this tracking software, but so does your computer.

    2. Corporate has only allowed Dickey a one time budget for these iPhones and then after that, it is up to the individual newspapers to cover the costs for the device, mobile connectivity and maintenance. The average shelf life of an iPhone is 13 months, so expect that this cost ($400) will be an annual cost.

    3. Gracia was initially against this "iPhone idea", until Mark Morneau explained to her the ability to"track employee whereabouts and productivity in and out of the office". She became a big supporter!

    4. For our friends in Jones Branch Drive. Every time you enter the parking lot or the building via card swipe, that information is sent to your manager. Gracia keeps a list of all employees and when they show up. They cannot track when you leave for the day consistently, but they might require a card swipe to leave the garage parking to capture exit time. Is has been debated by the executive team.

  5. It's not the technology, it's how you use it. And sadly, my editor uses the iPhone to tweet about non-work stuff all day and play on Foursquare. At company expense.

  6. I love how they feel they need to explain in such detail what a iPhone can do. Raise your hand if didn't know an iPhone can take a picture or run an app. Is your hand up? Then you fail!

  7. Where's my atex app?

  8. The My Boss post is not only wrong but insane to think Big Brother is trying to track everyone to that extent. I can confirm that at my site no such tracking is happening on our company issued iPhones. There are apps that they are installing for us but nothing that insinuates that they are tracking when we go to the bathroom. Yes iCloud is turned on and Find my iPhone is on but only a select few users in IT have access to see where they are and that is only used for the purpose of trying to retrieve a lost phone. Why does there always have to be an underlying agenda when corp tries to do something. Has anyone thought that maybe they are trying to save a potentially sinking ship and maybe by giving newsroom employees a new tool to break news may help.

  9. No, 9:21, the My Boss comments are very valid. Almost a decade ago, I became aware that HR at our site had the systems people save everyone's Atex messages. They would be printed out and given to the editor.

    That was then - the stone age. Now with geo-mapping in every smartphone and easy to activate keystroke and website trackers, My Boss is not being paranoid.

    That means read and post to this site on your home computer and have sensitive conversations with your work pals on your own phone or landline. The iPhones are company owned equipment and the company has every right to track whatever they wish to.

  10. 9:21. About a decade ago, I found out that HR at my Gannett site ordered the IT people to save everyone's Atex messages. From time to time, HR would print out personal things employees had written to colleagues (confiding about having a serious illness, etc.) and give a copy of the conversations to the dept head/exec committee member.

    That was the stone age. Today, geotracking, keystroke clicks and web site visit tracking are a given. How this is reviewed is the question.

    So, just a reminder that the iPhone is just another piece of company equipment. Do not visit Jim's site or exchange sensitive information with work friends. For that, use your home computer and personal phone.

  11. I'm sure this means that more photographers will be laid off and replaced with reporters taking their own pictures


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