Page last updated at 09:27 GMT, Wednesday, 24 August 2011 10:27 UK

Making the news on your mobile phone

Mobile phones

Mobile phones are a great newsgathering tool for journalists.

Reporters are now able to send audio, videos and pictures back to their newsroom using just their mobile phone handset.

Journalists like BBC Radio 5 live's Nick Garnett even record and edit entire radio packages on their phone.

Some School Reporters have also used mobiles to make the news. If you want to try it, check out our top tips.


Find a safe place to stand or sit before you start recording.

Be careful not to put yourself in dangerous situations and always be aware of what's going on around you.


Hold your phone horizontally and keep it as still as possible.

A man uses an early mobile phone
Mobile phones have come a long way since the mid-1980s

Hold it in both hands and tuck your elbows into your body or rest them on a steady surface.

Frame your shot - do you need to get closer or zoom in?

If you want to take a picture of somebody's face, check they're not standing in front of a source of light, like a window. Otherwise, you might end up with just a dark outline.

Use the rule of thirds. Imagine the picture you can see on your phone has two horizontal lines and two vertical lines dividing it into 9 rectangles.

Now, try to place your subject where the lines cross each other.


Get as close as you can to the source of the sound you are recording.

Record "wildtrack" audio - this is the noise you can hear wherever you are. So if you're in a park, you might want to record the sound of the birds or people walking on gravel; if you are at a football match, the noise of the fans might be appropriate.

George Alagiah on using mobiles

This wildtrack can then be used to add atmosphere to your piece during the edit.

When it comes to recording interviews, find out where the microphone on your phone is located. You will want to hold it about 20cm away from the mouth of whoever is speaking.

If it's a windy day, the microphone may pick up lots of wind noise. If you can, try to find somewhere that's shielded from the wind or go inside.


Hold your phone horizontally and keep it as still as possible. Hold it in both hands and tuck your elbows into your body or rest them on a steady surface.

When shooting an interview, put your interviewee on one side of the screen and remind them not to look at the phone. They should be looking off to the side, out of frame.

Think about the other shots you will need. Having a range of shots will help you edit your piece together - so think about getting a close-up, a mid-shot and a wide shot.


If the phone can access a wi-fi network, you could send your material back to your newsroom straight away via email. Because pictures, videos and audio can be large files, you may want to think twice if you don't have access to wi-fi.

Many phones allow you to transfer your files to a computer via Bluetooth.

Read our guide to using Bluetooth, which explains how it works.

Using mobile phones to gather news
18 Sep 08 |  School Report



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