MOJO Journalism Asia Conference, the first of its kind in Asia, was conducted from 28-29 June 2019, by gathering more than 280 participants internationally. Germany’s Konrad Adenauer Stiftung hosted the conference in Bangkok, Thailand.
The conference brought Asian journalists and media professionals together to exchange their experiences in using smartphones to support their journalism and newsrooms. The vibrant conference included 4 panels discussions, 11 breakout/workshop sessions, 3 masterclasses, and networking events. There were 13 women experts in media and mobile journalism leading across the sessions.
The themes of panel discussions focused on challenges and opportunities for mobile journalism in Asia, how to integrate smartphones into newsrooms, bringing mobile journalism to the communities, and teaching mobile journalism to reporters and students.
Fojo Media Institute and its Southeast Asia Project partner institutions—Myanmar Journalism Institute (MJI) and Cambodian Centre for Independent Media (CCIM) also joined the conference. As both institutions have already set their training strategies by adapting and integrating mobile journalism (MOJO) trainings, and citizen journalism trainings infused with MOJO practices.
For Chanden Mak, a training coordinator of CCIM, the conference served as a mind-opener for him and he gained better understanding about MOJO now. Chanden said, “I am really surprised when some journalists produced their hour-long documentaries, and covered story just by using smartphones. CCIM reporters used smartphone more than 10 years ago but we still use computers to edit. After joining this conference, I think we should start doing everything on smartphone to make it faster than before when we cover the story in the field far from the office.”
There was a group of 14 participants from Myanmar at the MOJO Conference. The group’s participation was supported by Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) as part of its Myanmar Media Program (MMP), a business capacity building program for Myanmar media. As the conference was conducted for the very first time, MDIF decided to bring 12 participants from each partner organisation with whom MDIF has worked since December 2015. The partners are based in Yangon as well as in other parts of the country: Kachin State, Mon State, Shan State, Kayin State, and Tanintharyi Region.
MDIF’s MMP Program Manager, Phyo Phyu Zin, said, “The conference focuses on producing video content on mobile phones and is very interesting, especially for Myanmar Media, as these days our population accesses the internet on their mobile phones. People are consuming more and more visual stories. So, it is very important for our partner organisations to know how to produce stories with their mobile phones.” MDIF sees opportunities for its partners’ visual products to become one of their revenue streams via social media platform such as facebook and youtube.
Hay Man Pyae, the youngest women participant from the MDIF-sponsored group, shared her excitement at being in touch with the newest mobile phone technology, including editing apps. After joining the MOJO documentary making workshop, she feels that the media in her country are being left-behind.
“We need to open the doors of creativity even wider nowadays,” Hay Man said eagerly. She continued, “In times of outperforming each other using technology and innovation, we cannot be laid-back and let things pass us by. This conference spotlights on how far we are behind in mobile journalism.”
Witnessing the reality knowledge gap, Hay Man decided to bring new learning experiences and resources back to her colleagues and to work with greater motivation for her future stories.