Glen Mulcahy, the man who envisioned mobile journalism

Glen Mulcahy, founder of MoJoCon · Photo: Ana María Vicens · iPhone 7+

Glen Mulcahy, founder of MoJoCon · Photo: Ana María Vicens · iPhone 7+


6:00 p.m in Barcelona, 8:00 p.m in Kuwait.

Inés Martín, Content Manager at Shoulderpod interviews Glen Mulcahy via Facetime.


Who is Glen Mulcahy? The Head of Innovation at RTÉ, a Mojo trainer or the founder of Mojocon?

The politically correct answer is Head of innovation at RTÉ, because this is my day job, where I’ve been working for 18 years. However, as a part of that job I’m a Mojo trainer and also the Mojocon founder.

You are one of the pioneers of mobile journalism around the world. From a technology point of view, when did you see Mobile Journalism was a real possibility?

I started experimenting with mobile back in 2007, with a Nokia N95 and that was the basic building block. But it wasn’t until 2010, with the iPhone 4, that it really started.

Mobile Journalism is a game changer in the news industry. It transforms specialists into multidisciplinary storytellers. How do journalists react to this situation?

You get two reactions. There are the ones that are very comfortable in their jobs and are used to work with two or three other staff members to help them make a story.  So they hate the idea of being expected to shoot and edit for themselves.

But a growing number of journalists have realized that the news model, as we know it, is changing. They know that not many people sit and watch the six o’clock television news as they used to, and that that number will continue getting smaller and smaller. And those who are aware of the change, will learn the skills and perfect their own abilities to make themselves extremely desirable as employees.

How does the fact of recording with a mobile phone instead of using a broadcast camera influences a story? How does a smartphone help or limit a journalist?

There are two aspects: the technical and the aesthetic or psychological. The technical is that you can’t really zoom. The phone doesn’t give you the power to zoom that you get with a big broadcast camera. And the psychological impact of shooting with an iPhone, is that people aren’t intimidated at all. When you come in with a phone, with a small tripod and maybe one light, it’s much more discrete, it’s less intrusive, and people tend to be far more sincere and far more open as result.

In March 2015 the first Mobile Journalism Conference took place in Dublin. Why did you decide to organize Mojocon?

For the last six years I’ve been travelling around Europe, Middle East and the US, teaching people how to get the best of their smartphones as a creation tool. People were exited after doing a long week course with me, but when they go back to their newsrooms, the engineers would go: “It’s shot with a phone, we are not going to broadcast that”. And then they would email me going: “You lied”. And I got really angry, so I  thought the only way that we are going to make a difference and start open peoples' mind was bringing the people who were doing this well, to the same place. So the idea of Mojocon was bringing the community of people together and giving them a chance to share their stories and to learn from each other experiences. I also realized that there was a third partner in this equation, the people making all this apps and accessories that allowed this to actually happen.

In a highly competitive world, where knowledge ends up being the most important advantage, why do you think the Mojo community is so open to share all that knowledge?

I think we are moving to a new era where sharing is becoming the norm. I think everything in the social media is predicating this idea of sharing and I think we also need to see what the social media has done. Once upon a time TV stations used to sit on their little box, as if they were the voice of god. But now if the audience doesn’t like something, they let you know. The social media has made more players accountable, now you have feedback, and that feedback has a lot of value.

What can we expect from Mojocon 2017?

I would like to put the future back into the agenda of Mojocon 3.0. We want to look at where is going to go next, so we are going to continue growing the migration of mobile into the 360° space. We will still look at great case studies of people that have pushed the batteries on content creations with mobile, but we will also like to emphasize the fact that mobile will become a complete 4K ecosystem. Part of that ecosystem will be in the 360° video and the VR space, so we want to be able to open people’s minds to the potential of mobile for creation, not only in traditional mobile storytelling, but also in VR and 360° storytelling. We will also go through other aspects of the future as AI (artificial intelligence) or robots.


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