Time for a Mobile Evolution
By: Ayaz Morris
• My YouTube channel “Master TV Pakistan” hosts online sessions and interviews to exchange ideas, expert insights, and professional wisdom on various topics. Today, I’m thrilled to announce a significant topic, along with a special guest, titled ‘Time for a Mobile Evolution’. As you know, we discuss ideas, share wisdom, and connect people from across the border. I have the pleasure and privilege of welcoming our expert guest, Francesco Facchini, from Italy. He is a journalist, content creator, and expert on Mojo. I’m feeling ecstatic. I’ve been following his work for a while now. A few days ago, I got in touch with him and he replied to my message. We invited him to our show and he accepted. Today, we are formally discussing subjects that are of great importance.
• Francesco Facchini: I’m so pleased to be here and I’m so honored that you made me this invitation.
• Ayaz Morris:“I would like to know your views on the situation of journalism. Journalism is facing a crisis, and many journalists in Pakistan have reported it. Is it just happening in Pakistan? Is it the same in your country or is it a global phenomenon?”
• Francesco Facchini: It is the same in our country. The media industry and its economic system are falling and collapsing completely for more or less two reasons. I believe that the publisher industry lacks a culture that focuses on the proper business models to achieve sustainability in your medium. It’s a concern because they’re still the media like they were in the last 50 or 70 years, but the mass media era is over. It’s finished. Now the media business has to find communities, small communities, and niches to comprehend that these niches demand interaction, conversation, understanding, good content, and quality content. That’s not the way, there’s definite evidence that this is not the way. For journalists working in Italy, there is a phenomenon in which you have to consider that in the past, journalists were well paid and protected by law and contracts. Journalists were unable to make the transition during the decline of the media system. They have continued to be journalists as they have been for the last 50 years. Everything around them changed, including the ecosystem, media, the internet came, social media, and artificial intelligence, and now they are losing their rights, dignity, and possibilities month after month and year after year. They are not taking the change, transitioning, and driving it. I’m not sure if I’m explaining clearly what’s going on, but now we have a population of freelancers who are paid. (I have DATA if you want). 82% of active freelancers in Italy are paid less than 10,000 per year. In Italy, it is not possible to live with 900 Euros per month. They are quitting their job and doing something else. They are trying to put together two or three different jobs to continue working as a journalist. The system is crashing completely, because we do not understand and we are not the protagonists. We are not the drivers of change. It’s something like that. We are waiting for things to evaluate without doing anything.
• Ayaz Morris: It’s similar in Pakistan as well. I believe it’s a global phenomenon that technology has changed and we need to adapt. “I am interested in hearing your perspective. You know, there is traditional journalism and mobile journalism, but still, there are many journalists, institutions, and people who don’t want to change. They are forced to adopt this technology, which they should have adopted, as you are saying. What insights can we glean from the evolution of mobile? Many people are making a change through digital journalism, but there remains a reluctance to adopt these new trends and to improve their skills, learn and make contributions through mobile journalism?”
• Francesco Facchini: I have to say that mobile journalism has made an evolutionary leap. It was something that was trying to break the models and understanding. It is possible to deliver quality multimedia content even through mobile devices. The pandemic came, and the pandemic obliged every journalist, broadcasting channel, newspaper, and website to consider the possibility of working with smartphones. For the first time, we witnessed Prime Time live shows made with smartphones. This is to say that smartphone and mobile journalism, as well as broadcasting journalism, have been forced by COVID-19 in a non-natural way. Okay, now we have something really exciting because from that moment until today, smartphones have made an evolution in hardware and software, which matched perfectly from a technical point of view, from the file point of view, the quality of colors, grading of audio, and so on, are paired with broadcasting. Ways to create multimedia content are just the same, if you want to do a live multi camera for a website in 4K, you can do it with smartphones. The collectors’ time show in Dublin was made using smartphones. 15 films were made using smartphones. The last two of Steven Soderberg and one of the last of CL Leo were made with smartphones. The video of Stupid Love of Lady Gaga was made using a smartphone. A part of Jimmy Fallon’s show with a live show on the Empire State Building, which was made with smartphones. Now we don’t have issues with quality and performance. Okay, this has to be clear to everyone, but there’s something more. The software has become Something Magic because there are a lot of software and applications that use artificial intelligence to resume text in the workflow, creating text, creating photos, creating images, editing overdubbing, lip syncing, and translating now; on my smartphone, I assure you, I have one application. That is called Captions on my iPhone, with this, I could do this interview in perfect Pakistani language and also with my lips synced with the pronunciation of words in Pakistani Language. We are at this level, but now we need more to consider that we now have instruments, hardware, and software. That gives us the possibility to be a “One Man Media Company”. This is something interesting, because for example, I produce podcasts; producing podcasts means I have to deliver a file that must be of quality. The last podcast that I produced was the first podcast. I produced a file that was exactly the same as the file of the most important media company that is making a podcast in Italy. I am all alone with my smartphone, the same file as the biggest media podcast company in Italy. Working on mobility offers us many great opportunities, which is what I’m trying to convey, by reducing costs and speeding up, we can achieve a quality that is comparable to broadcasting quality. What do we need more? Artificial intelligence gives us the possibility to translate my Italian into Pakistani, French, and Spanish, and create something that clones my voice. What we need more to consider is that it is one of the most beautiful, challenging, and interesting areas in which you can be a journalist. In order to understand what mobile content creation is, mobile journalism is now modern journalism and it offers a lot of possibilities. I have recently introduced another application to my workflow that is not mobile, but it is a platform that can be used on Mac and PCs, called Descript. For example, my portable computer is quite mobile. I can work wherever I can. I don’t need an office; I don’t need great storage, great computers, great stations, and great mixers. I don’t need that with this editing tool called ‘Descript’. I had the chance to code and export the file that I named you before on this podcast, choosing every type of characteristic. The file is being raised with artificial intelligence cutting and all the grasps in it. In one click, I delivered this type of file and when I produced a video. The evolution was that way, and when I produced a Premiere 3 Minutes video using my personal computer, it took me two and a half and three hours of my job. When I started producing mobile videos using mobile journalism tools, the video took an hour and a half to complete. When I started producing videos with artificial intelligence, the tools were 40 minutes long. This is to say that instead of producing one video, I can now produce four. Efficiency and productivity are important if you are a self-employed or freelancer, as they can lead to increased income. I hope I was clear.
• Ayaz Morris: I love listening to your ideas. It’s remarkable how well you’re explaining it. It’s time to wrap up this conversation, and I’m eager to gain insights from you and my fellow journalists. I just want you to know. Is it the mindset, skills, intelligence you need now, or just training your mind to learn these skills or adaptability? You know, in this era, we have resources through mobile journalism.
• Francesco Facchini: You’re right; it’s all about mindset when it comes to mobile journalism. It’s a matter of change. It’s a matter of accepting the change. It’s not a matter of technology because the technology only facilitates you coming back to the center of your job. This is to say, concentrate on the quality of the story. Now that we have artificial intelligence tools are easier to learn because they do a lot of mechanical operations for you. So if you consider it in a way, you can consider it. This situation has two sides, one negative and one positive. The negative aspect is that machines can replace you. This could only happen in one way if we give permission to do it, if journalists’ professionalism is slightly behind technology because we used to, You know, put the right and have physical contact on the machines. Now with artificial intelligence tools, we can leave the machines to execute mechanical, statistical, or mathematical operations. We verify the operation and can be free to understand the user experience, the pros and cons of the journalistic content project. So this is to say that in the future we will write fewer articles, edit less video, and create fewer images. We must stay in the center of the stage. In the situation where we are the professionals who project and deliver project contents, we are the professionals who understand reality. We are professionals who verify the data; we are the professionals who can draw the user experience of content based on the machines that will give us, because in the future, not far from here, we will have to change our professionalism again in order to collaborate with technical operations. Virtual reality content for journalistic purposes and this will probably be the moment in which you will not write a word, you will not press the button for a letter, but you will be absolutely important as the figure that made the content project, and that says what is important and what is not important. What’s the reason for the A side and what’s the reason for the B side, what is black and what is white, and where is a person who will enter virtual reality? The world has to do its course to understand the new, probably that we will not write. We may not film or take photos, but this is not a problem. We will have a different role, just a little bit further from the machine. We will not have more contact with the machine, but we will instruct it to deliver the layouts and the results. That we want because we are humans, and machines are not humans. We will not be replaced by artificial intelligence; we will be replaced by journalists who are able to use artificial intelligence.
• Ayaz Morris: Thank you for explaining them in such a pleasant way, I appreciate it and I can say that this is the one of the finest interviews for me and I’m glad that I have contributed to the generalist Community all over Pakistan and I’m thankful to you for giving your time and your expert opinion.
• Francesco Facchini: I’m truly honored and glad to have you. Thank you so much. Thank you to all my Pakistani colleagues.