Neal Augenstein

Archive for June, 2013|Monthly archive page

Instagram video tutorial

In Uncategorized on June 20, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Vine’s got some major competition.

Instagram can now shoot 15 seconds of video, compared with Vine’s 6. You can choose one of 13 filters, select a cover frame, and share easily.

I’ve been pretty outspoken that while Vine and Instagram are capable of easy, fun, and in some cases very artistic videos, there are better alternatives for #iphonereporting.

Unless you’re just shooting and posting, shooting and posting, shooting and posting, editing counts — and you can’t do much of it on Vine or Instagram.

In Instagram you can delete your most recent snippet, Vine has no editing.

In a real news situation, I’d likely shoot with the built-in camera, edit in Voddio, upload to YouTube, and tweet it.

Still, there is something to be said for fun.

How iOS 7 will improve #iphonereporting

In Uncategorized on June 11, 2013 at 10:40 pm


When Apple’s new iOS 7 debuts in Fall, two features I believe could mean major improvements for #iphonereporting are FaceTime Audio and AirDrop.

I’m not a developer, and don’t have a beta version with which to experiment, so these are just first impressions on how the new operating system could benefit journalists, public relations professionals, and newsmakers.

FaceTime Audio

Forward-thinking Nick Garnett of the BBC has pioneered doing live reports with FaceTime, in its current video configuration.

In my testing, the connection is generally more stable than Skype, in both WiFi and LTE.

During FaceTime video, the microphone used is located in the phone’s earpiece (where you listen during a standard phone call), next to the front camera.

Holding that microphone a few inches from your mouth provides good, but slightly tinny audio (and a close-up view of your tonsils to the person on the other end of the video chat.)

With FaceTime Audio I’m hopeful the microphone engaged will be the far-superior microphone located on the bottom of the iPhone, directly to the left of the charging part.

The microphone on the bottom of the phone has much better bass response. I use that built-in bottom mic for the majority of my #iphonereporting.


To this point, it’s required some wired connections to transfer videos and photos taken on iPhone to iPad for editing. AirDrop will allow wireless sharing between devices (as long as you have an AirCloud account).

If you’re enthusiastic about how other iOS 7 features could help in #iphonereporting, I’d love to hear about them!

Guide to tweeting audio for PIOs

In Uncategorized on June 1, 2013 at 12:26 am

The power of #iphonereporting isn’t limited to journalists — public safety and other agency spokespeople can harness the iPhone to get their message out more clearly and quickly.

While PIOs are embracing Twitter and Facebook to quickly disseminate information on breaking news, they’re missing an opportunity to provide good-quality audio that can be aired by radio and TV stations and online news organizations.

Historically, after putting out a tweet on a breaking news situation, PIOs are inundated with calls from news organizations seeking a phone or in-person interview, and asking when a news conference will be held.

The result is poor-sounding audio, and a PIO who’s answering the same questions a dozen times.

Here’s my solution that will make reporters happy, and allow you to gather information and organize a news conference: tweet great-sounding audio using the free SoundCloud app.

SoundCloud is a free service that’s like YouTube for audio.

With the free SoundCloud iPhone (or Android) app, a PIO can record several minutes of near-studio-quality audio into the built-in microphone of the mobile device, and quickly upload it to SoundCloud.

The URL from the uploaded file can be easily tweeted, emailed, posted on Facebook, and embedded on your agency’s website.

Anyone who clicks on the hyperlink will hear excellent-quality audio.

In newsrooms, reporters and producers can record the audio on their desktop computers.

Radio stations will get the audio on-air quickly. Television stations will have good audio to run over images provided by their cameramen or the public.

Forward-thinking PIOs ‘get it.’

Pete Piringer, Director of Communications for the city of Laurel, Md., and former spokesperson for local fire departments embraces the idea.

“One component that’s often missing as we get the information out is the audio part — good, quality audio,” says Piringer. “It will make things more efficient and improve our use of time if we’re out on a scene.”

Tweeting audio is an improvement over a tried-and-true, but now outdated method of communicating with reporters, says Alan Etter, former spokesperson for DC’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services.

“We used to maintain a tape line,” says Etter.

But a recorded tape line has two problems — the sound is phone-quality, and the reporter has to call it repeatedly to check for updates.

“Now with each tweet you’ll get studio-quality audio in a way that’s easy for the PIO and the reporter,” says Etter. “I hope it catches on.”

Julie Parker, a former reporter who is now the Media Relations Director with the Prince George’s County, Md. Police Department appreciates being able to provide air-quality audio “while a lack of time or resources might have otherwise prevented.”

“It’s a win for the media outlet, a win for the department, and ultimately a win for the community,” says Parker.

Step right up, PIOs — glad to answer any questions.