Journalism Rolls Out MoJo Project

Posted on 9/10/2013 9:52:04 AM

Two Journalism Department faculty members this fall are initiating a cutting-edge news-reporting practice, thanks to a grant from the Emerging Technology Committee of the university’s Academic Computing Policy Advisory Committee (ACPAC).

David Loomis and Erick Lauber’s innovative project is called MoJo, for mobile journalism. 

Students in Loomis’s News Reporting classes will be using new grant-funded Apple iPads and accessory hardware and apps to cover local, breaking news events and to produce timely stories that incorporate text, audio, photo, and video. 

The stories are intended for publication in the capstone course’s award-winning online newspaper, the HawkEye. A goal is to increase the immediacy of the newspaper’s community coverage.

The new equipment will also be beneficial to students taking Lauber’s Media Convergence courses that are offered in the Journalism Department.

Loomis and Lauber presented their project at the university’s fifth annual College Technology Day on August 21 in Stouffer Hall. ACPAC emerging-technology chairman Kenneth Sherwood, of the English Department, described the MoJo project as a model of the mobile learning that the grant program aims to foster.

The curricular-based MoJo Project parallels a shift from print to multimedia in news industries. For example, AOL-owned online newspapers ringing Pittsburgh have been using tablet computers as a basic reporting tool for more than two years. Cindi Lash, former editor of the regional chain and a 1980 IUP Journalism alumna, consulted on the Loomis-Lauber MoJo Project proposal. Meanwhile, at the York (Pa.) Daily Record, reporters and editors this year were equipped with iPads, with encouraging results.  

Two weeks into the Fall semester, Loomis reported that News Reporting students were eager to embrace the new tool.

“Most of them already use iPhones,” Loomis reported. “The iPads add a couple of features that the phones don’t, like video editing on the fly. Cool.”

Department of Journalism