Category: Citizen Journalism

Which flip camera should I buy? – the update for 2012

A couple of years ago I wrote what turned out to be an often visited post answering  the question: “which flip camera should I buy“.

Things have moved on a good bit since then (mainly that new owners Cisco decided to discontinue the flip) so I just want to update it really.

My thinking on the best kit for social reporting is very simple:

  1. Speed counts more than quality – so shoot in standard definition not hi definition – it uploads faster.
  2. Decent sound often counts for much more than decent pictures.
  3. If you are using a stand alone video camera simplicity matters.
  4. The most sensible thing to use is what you are most likely to have to hand.


zoom camrea hd
Zoom Q3HD

Buy the ZoomQ3HD – Hi Definition Nick you say?  Yes – but don’t use it that way –  change the video setting from high definition to standard definition. You get a good widescreen image. Prices have come down quite a bit over the last year or so – so you wont regret buying this one. It comes with great sound so also works as a fantastic audio only recorder.  Do not buy the ZoomQ2HD – Why?  Because it doesn’t come with a built in usb – and that means you’ll have lost the cabel just when you need it.


Alternatively: if you can find a standard definition Flip (ideally Mino but any) then buy it – it will probably be second hand but is small, widescreen (which tends to look the part) and very simple to use – keep it in your pocket or bag.


Use a smartphone – currently the iphone 4 onwards does  a great job, and we’ve been tinkering with the Samsung Galaxy SIII – for audio use audioboo to capture.


Your ipad – that can be a fab social reporting tool.  But take to get good sound – you’ll will probably need to hold your ipad or phone closer than feels comfortable for decent sound.

Good luck.


Damian Radcliffe’s hyperlocal review of 2011

Paul Bradshaw is hosting this review by Ofcom’s Manager of Nation’s and Region Damian Radcliffe.  Damian has been a patient observer and (I think) advocate for bottom up hyperlocal website’s such as the one’s we help through social media surgeries.

They often provide an information anchor which can be very useful to local government, the police, housing associations – anyone serving a neighbourhood. On the whole I tend to think of local as much more local that is often meant when maintsream media or ministers bandy around the term hyperlocal. They seem to be talking about town size patches – we’re keen to encourage something much more local still.

BBC Coventry and warwickshire, public sector, hyperlocal and social media – an evening.

Monday evening was a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours with a broad range of folk from the public sector, BBC and blogging communities in Coventry and Warwickshire.

We brought them together as part of the work we have been doing with the BBC to encourage stronger links and better understanding between mainstream news and hyperlocal blogging.  The BBC team n Coventry was keen to reach out to a broad range of people in their patch with an interest in social media.

a group of people sitting at a table talking

It was run as a very simple unconference – Read more

The First Dudley Social Media Surgery

I think I just got paid with a hug.  Full of the joys of social media surgeoning  Lorna Prescott from Dosti put her arms around me and said thank you.  (sorry Lorna for being embarrasing and thank you!)

It is really one of the reasons I love social media surgeries – they make me happy and they seem to make others happy too.

This was the first Dudley Social Media Surgery, organised by the remorseless energy of Melissa Guest from Dudley CVS and Lorna.  We had been involved with some work helping them pland and organise the surgery and some social reporter training as part of the Black Country Take Part Pathfinder programme.

30 people turned up and the proportion of surgeons to patients was just right.  This rather dark video shows just how busy and absorbed people were:

I shared the evening with two wonderful people.  Michael Dennis  turned up thinking he was there to get some help for the St Thomas Community Network – but because he does web development  he got wordpress ganged into being a surgeon.  It turned out Michael also run a successful ning network for foster carers.

Michael worked with Jackie McGuirk from Dudley Lions.

He helped her understand why social media might help their work.  She said up a blog and wrote here first post (and this jackie is your first trackback).  The worst part for Michael seemed to me interviewing them both:

Great evening and a great start to surgeries in Dudley.