“I’m more willing to listen and engage in conversation now, than before mojo. I don’t feel like I need to hold back and feel it’s ok to be me”. Robert French is a 19 year of Wakka Wakka man from Cherbourg who is learning to become a multimedia journalist. Using nothing but a mobile phone and a small microphone he has produced his first mojo story about the Bunya Mountains Corroboree.
“I’ve been interested in photography but this is like a different form of photography. Since I started this I would now like to get a trainee-ship and work in this field”.
Robert is one of 11 young people from Cherbourg, aged between 15 and 24, chosen to train as mojos. “Mojo is a more formed digital storytelling that wraps journalism skills around the smart phone to transform citizen witness moments to citizen journalism,” says journalist and mojo trainer Ivo Burum, ” but whats special about this mojo project is that it has a high focus on literacy and numeracy and that’s why the Queensland TAFE has funded it”.
Kristy Smith the TAFE program lead says, “we were looking at a new way to engage young Indigenous people in something that’s really exciting and contemporary, using a contemporary technology, that would help them get interested and come along, and in the background be improving their literacy and numeracy without even knowing it”.
One of the mojos who was so impressed with the skills being taught, she made her first video about the training course, is Shantelle Arnold. “It’s a Deadly thing this mojo!”.
The mojo program is based on techniques learned from many years of making self shot series for television. Run internationally in a number of countries it has proven successful at community and education level and with MSM in Australia and internationally. At the Danish Tabloid Ekstra Bladet, journalists are being trained to mojo. The managing editor Poul Madsen believes mojo is the key to their future, “great stories like we used to in traditional television, told on the website with shorter more dynamic editing”.
Alan Rusbridger, the editor of The Guardian in the UK, believes that accessing the ‘on the ground’ mobile communicators is becoming more critical in the news business. Rusbridger believes the days of a journalist pressing the send button and going home are over. He believes the story is just beginning when we press send and the resulting public’s response counts.
But as Madsen points out, button pushing alone, isn’t the answer and we need real skills. Mojo provides people in remote locations with the skills to use mobile technologies to do more than just press buttons, to create online kludge, or respond to news stories. Mojos, like those in Cherbourg, create and publish their own stories that count, providing a less marginalised view of their world, right from their own back yard.
One of those stories is mojo Shayah Watson’s insight into local legend Pickle and his Mobile Hearing program. Working with the Deadly Ears team, Pickle drives to schools in the local area, where he sets up his van and tests kids for hearing loss and other ailments.
Shayah says the mojo experience has helped her “understand how television and news works” and to think about stories that she sees, “more carefully”.
TELLS is hopeful the scripting and media skills learned can be used within the TAFE curriculum in Cherbourg on an ongoing basis (Kristy quote).
Local support for Rob and PaCE
“It lets us have a voice in our community. Because a lot of negative things have been shared by media and journalists. Now its our turn to get our voices heard. We can actually go out and do these stories according to mojo and post them on the Internet for the world to see. I think it gives us a voice”. Robert.