A few days ago on April 4, the country witnessed the biggest ferocious fire incident in recent times. The massive fire at the capital's Bangabazar market devastated 3,845 traders and their businesses, while the total amount of goods estimated at Tk 288.350 crore (approx) burnt to ashes by this devastating blaze, according to the final report of the investigation committee formed by Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC). As the fire incident occurred in a dense area where media journalists had to swim in between the massive crowd of affected-worried-mourning traders and firefighters to find out and report on the latest updates; and one can assume the struggle of electronic and print media journalists with multiple media gears and pieces of equipment, alongside their heavy camera and lenses.
"When we first learned about the incident, our MoJo team at the Daily Prothom Alo rushed to the spot as soon as possible and captured the details for an urgent update. During my undergraduate studies, I had the good fortune to discover the secrets of MoJo (Mobile Journalism), and at my current job, I received training to become a Junior Multimedia Reporter. I believe that my knowledge of MoJo helped me to cover an occurrence immediately."
When Dhaka Courier asked Hasmi Jahan Setu, currently working at the Daily Prothom Alo as a Junior Multimedia Reporter and a graduate of the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB)'s Department of Media Studies and Journalism, about her real-life experience as a MoJo practitioner - she explained how she covered the Bangabanzar fire incident with her small unit and her official mobile device (Samsung Galaxy A52). "It was impossible to instantly cover the incident with our full-capacity camera units", she said.
The concept of Mobile Journalism is not super hard to understand as the name itself indicates what it is all about, yet the subject matter is a bit complicated. Nowadays everyone has a mobile phone, more specifically a smartphone with internet connectivity, an inbuilt camera for still images and videography, with audio recorder apps. "A mobile journalist is one who uses a mobile phone for journalistic work. If someone shows something with a mobile phone, it is not journalism. Anyone can upload any content to any social media. However, in light of the rules and principles of journalism, when any content is created on a mobile phone, that is mobile journalism," said Sabbir Ahmed, Lead of the Mobile Journalism unit at Bangladesh Times.
Explaining how a newsroom can ensure the quality MoJo environment and necessary gatekeeping regarding news sourcing and publishing, Sabbir Ahmed said: "In our Bangladesh Times newsroom, the reporters take support of various digital tools in the work which makes journalism more transparent, practical and acceptable in modern times. Teamwork is done here following the MoJo workflow, which is very important in mobile journalism for ensuring faster communication. Nowadays our audiences anticipate receiving every news digitally; so in this instance, it is quicker and more efficient than conventional techniques in reaching the reader or audience."
With the emergence of several new mediums - Facebook Live or Reels (from personal profiles), TikTok contents and of course YouTube and YT Shorts - people are capturing the happenings from their surroundings and instantly uploading them to the millions. They are doing what journalism and the journalists intend to do - to keep the netizens updated about everything. So where is the difference between these content creators and the mainstream journalists, and why even the concept of MoJo is relevant or the study is important, which is getting considered as the concurrent reality and future of Journalism?
"This is indeed the best possible way to cover any incident instantly," said Shafat Rahaman, currently working as a Multimedia Reporter for bdnews24.com and a Mass Communication and Journalism graduate at the University of Dhaka. "However, no one can perfectly function as a journalist without common sense. Anyone with a mobile phone is not a MoJo professional because there are certain aspects, and one has to integrate thy knowledge and vision to cover an event or incident. MoJo is a blessing in this profession in terms of the fastest news delivery, but other media professionals are yet to be more considerate and understanding in the field reporting, both in the capital and outside of Dhaka."
In terms of field reporting, Gias Uddin, the Teknaf Correspondent of the Daily Prothom Alo, said that he has been working for his current workplace for nearly 22 years, and the newly emerged MoJo has changed his life. "The implication of MoJo has been a game-changer for me. I do all of my coverages using my mobile phone - from typing to news uploading to our dedicated server. This new concept has been constantly evolving and changing the interconnectivity of news across the country, and I got trained in MoJo by a prolific trainer at the Daily Prothom Alo office in Dhaka back in 2016.
Not only the news media professionals, but the MoJo training is also shaping the new generation of storytellers in the country. Subrata Kumar Munda, a Koyra, Khulna-based student and freelance documentary maker representing an indigenous community, told DC that a specific MoJo training back in 2021 November eventually shaped his vision regarding the art of storytelling, mind-mapping, on-the-go documentation and audiovisual editing and more.
All of these three abovementioned professionals have received MoJo training from one single MoJo maestro - Dr Abdul Kabil Khan, more commonly known in the media as Jamil Khan, who has a PhD in Journalism and currently serves as an associate professor at the Department of Journalism, Media and Communication of the Daffodil International University. He is the author of the country's first complete mobile journalism book 'Mobile Journalism: journalism of our time' and he was listed as one of the world's top 40 global mojo trainers and content creators in the world by UK's journalism.co.uk in 2021.
"When I was an undergrad student at the Department of Mass Communications at the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, I created a YouTube channel of my own where I used to upload different types of vlogs including the activities of the expatriate Bangladeshi student community in Moscow. I completed my undergrad in 2011 and also completed my Masters eventually; however, the major breakthrough in my MoJo learnings happened when I got an opportunity to attend the 2015 Mobile Journalism Conference (MoJoCon) in Dublin, Ireland. After coming back from that conference, I started to quench my thirst for Mobile Journalism; followed and contacted prominent Mobile Journalists around the world on Twitter, dived deep into the world on MoJo via YouTube and available resources and also started my thesis for my PhD," Dr Khan told DC. He was a visiting lecturer at Uppsala University, Sweden in 2011 and the University of Korea in 2013.
Before joining DIU this February 2023, Dr Jamil Khan had previously been associated with the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh as its assistant professor since October 2019. Prior to joining ULAB, Dr Jamil has experience teaching at the University of Dhaka as an Adjunct Faculty at the Mass Communication and Journalism department and also served as a Specialist in Mobile Journalism at the Daily Prothom Alo. "Back in 2016, I conducted a MoJo workshop for the journalists in the Daily Prothom Alo which was the first such kind of workshop in the country," Khan mentioned about the workshop that Prothom Alo's Teknaf Reporter Gias Uddin mentioned as well.
From 2014 to 2017, Jamil Khan was a faculty of the Department of Mass Communications at the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia. After that, he went on to cover the 21st FIFA World Cup in Russia as a special correspondent for the Daily Prothom Alo in 2018. "I covered the entire World Cup (mostly Facebook live) with a mobile phone (iPhone 8), a microphone, a monopod and a tripod. I did not take any heavy equipment as my intention was to create MoJo stories from the event," Khan shared his special experiences with DC.
Dr Khan was the speaker at Asia's first international mobile journalism conference 'MoJo Asia' held in Bangkok in 2019. In addition to training and teaching, he also made a significant contribution to researching for the betterment of Media. His principal areas of interest in terms of research include new media development and communication, the impact of technology on journalism, mobile journalism, convergence journalism, the impact of social media and citizen journalism, and the integration of social media with mainstream mass media.
Over these years, Dr Jamil Khan has conducted seminars - workshops on digital means of journalism across the nation and abroad at places including the "Press Institute Bangladesh (PIB), the National Institute of Mass Communication (NIMC), and so on. Apart from his university students, he has trained more than a thousand students and journalists in Bangladesh and abroad thus far.
Dr Khan is now currently inviting stories from aspiring mobile storytellers across the country as the chief adviser of the maiden edition of the Community Digital Storytelling Festival (CDSTF), set to be a flagship event by the Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMC) of Daffodil International University (DIU). The maiden edition of the festival will take place on February 10-11, next year.
Leave a Comment
In its most urgent and scathing statement yet on the situation in Bang ...
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Monday said both Bangladesh and the ...