Follow Friday: Mobile-First Journalist Mike Castellucci

While mobile journalism has caught on more widely throughout Europe, no American journalist has embraced it quite like Mike Castellucci. The 24-time Emmy and two-time Edward R Murrow Award winner, has produced six half-hour television specials shot entirely with an iPhone.

Starting out of necessity when every crew was in the field, he was challenged with an assignment to produce a story solo with the only camera available, his phone.

It didn’t take long before the television veteran started proving to everyone just how far he could win over skeptics. His first television special shot entirely with an iPhone called “Phoning It In” aired on WFAA in Dallas, Texas, in 2015.

For Castellucci, shooting with a phone puts subjects more at ease and allows him to aim more directly at the heart of the story.

For him, the work is always about storytelling, and he continued developing a style distinctly his own. In this TEDxTalk, he breaks down his core approach to his work.

With the success of his “Phoning It In” series, Castelucci has been in demand as a presenter, as well as becoming a professor of practice. He recently became Video News Artist-in-Residence at Michigan State University, where he teaches in the School of Journalism.

Like many journalists, the Covid crisis did not stop him. He captured one of a number of unexpected changes high school students were forced to confront during the pandemic.  

Some of the shooting challenges he faced in shooting during the pandemic helped inspire even more innovation with his audio hack tutorial.

Since the new year, Castellucci also helped MSU secure a partnership with Apple to bring the company’s first Developer Academy in North America to Detroit. His personal brand of storytelling was not only in demand but helped give the effort an edge.

In typical Castelucci style, the pitch video focused on a handful of Detroit residents with stories to tell about their city and all shot with an iPhone.

Teaching has not slowed down Castellucci. In addition to helping students, he continues to produce his own stories for television. His most recent half-hour special, “Phoning It In: Texas Stories,” continued the Emmy and Murrow winning.

Castellucci’s early experiments with a Flip camera may have prepared his transition to mojo, but the evolution has made him a master storyteller. His work provides a trove of exemplars not only for his students at MSU but journalism students everywhere.

To learn more, follow Mike Castellucci on the following platforms.

Twitter – @MikeCastellucci
Facebook – @MikeCastellucci
YouTube – Mike Castellucci

MoJo, short for mobile journalism, is redefining the news industry across the globe as journalists increasingly leverage the power, creativity, and technology available with the smartphone to produce and publish media storytelling for distribution across a range of platforms. 

This series will highlight reporters leading the field of mobile journalists.

Fred Haas

Fred Haas is currently a high school English and journalism teacher in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. He has also taught media production courses and served as a technology integration coordinator. He advises student production of online and occasional print publication for HHS Press. You can find him on Twitter @akh003.

Fred Haas has 11 posts and counting. See all posts by Fred Haas

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