Running for it: Covering an event with a cell phone and a point-and-shoot video camera

[UPDATE: If you’re showing up at this post looking for coverage of the 2008 race, you should head straight to santacruzsentinel.com or check out the Sentinel’s video right here.]

So here’s the assignment, kids:

Cover a 6-mile run with 15,000 registered participants, including a few hundred elite runners looking to finish in the money, and do it as live as possible.

And of course, if you want to keep up at all, you have to do it while running.

So here’s what I did: I set up a page with widgets pulling content from Flickr and Twitter (and thus, Twittergram*), and shot photos and phoned in audio with a cell phone.

In between, I shot video with my own lightweight point & shoot camera to post on the site later.

And of course, we had a photographer and three reporters there, covering the elite runners and the scene.

For those of you taking notes, I ran/jogged/walked about 4.5 miles, starting my coverage at the top of a hill about 1.5 miles into the race where I knew I’d be able to get one quick shot of the leaders as they flew by. Actually, the winner nearly knocked me over as I stepped up onto the curb and out of his way.

The game, of course, is to take these tools and use them for essential breaking news reporting — not just fun events. But the application is obvious — forget about a breaking news blog — you need a breaking news tumblelog where you can post text, SMS messages and photos/audio/video from e-mail to a web service with an RSS feed.

It’s not hard. At all. The hardest part is giving up a touch of editorial control, but then anyone in the newsroom can have access to the tumblelog to edit on the fly.

*Thanks Dave!

10 Replies to “Running for it: Covering an event with a cell phone and a point-and-shoot video camera”

  1. Ok, this sounds really nice, and a definite possibility, how did it turn out?

    What kind of cell phone did you use or would you recommend: I’m thinking the camera and video capability of the phone should be fairly strong: definitely not a Razr, maybe a Nokia N75 or a more powerful N95.

  2. @Ryan – The cell I used was a pretty basic one – whatever someone had bought for a couple of our reporters – I’m not terribly savvy when it comes to mobile devices, but it wasn’t that complicated.

    Next time I try this, I’d really love to use something with a QWERTY keyboard. Text messaging while jogging was just not happening.

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