Get the Right Technology to be a CNN iReporter

By Gerard Braud

Gerard Braud Media Training and Crisis Communication with IPad IPhone{Editor’s note: In 2013, CNN selected me as one of their top iReporters, out of more than 11,000 iReporters. This is part of a series of articles about how you can be a good iReporter and how to make CNN iReports a vital part of your crisis communication and media relations strategy.}

In one of our earlier articles we talked about buying the right type of smart phone or tablet to be a good iReporter. But in addition to your hardware technology that you may already have as a corporate communicator or government Public Information Officer (PIO), you need the right software and the right technology for transmitting your reports.

Start with Skype, the free web broadcasting software available at skype.com

The networks all depend upon Skype as their pathway to you. Over time, they may adopt other options, including FaceTime on iPhones and iPads. But at the time I’m writing this, Skype is their number one choice.

Skype is not perfect. Occasionally the signal is blurry or the image will freeze. Sometimes there is a lag time in which your news media and their audience can hear your voice, but the video image lags behind the sound.

The quality of Skype is often dependent upon the quality of your phone signal or your internet connection signal. Skype can be used on your desktop computer, laptop, smart phone or smart tablet. As you know, WiFi signals can be fickle; sometimes you have a great signal and minutes later your signal is weak. In many crises, you will not have electricity and therefore not have an internet signal or a WiFi signal. If phone systems are still working and if the system isn’t over loaded, you can operate Skype on your smart phone or tablet using a telephone G3 or G4 signal.

Hurricane Isaac Gerard Braud CNNWhen I filed my reports during Hurricane Isaac, the electricity had already gone out. That meant my only option was to rely on my G3 signal, which worked just fine. I used G3 to both upload my videos to CNN and to broadcast live to CNN using only Skype and my iPhone.

If you don’t have Skype on all of your devices, download it right now and practice using it. As with all phases of crisis communications, to be effective you must practice on a clear sunny day. Never wait until you are in the middle of your crisis to try to take these steps.

In our next article, we will talk more about how to use this technology effectively.

If you’d like to learn more, here are the links to my previous articles on this subject.

Here are links to previous articles on this topic:

Crisis Communications for West Texas Fertilizer Plant in Waco: Why PIOs, Emergency Managers, and PR people should be using CNN iReports

IReports for Public Relations and Crisis Communications: Why Your Company or Government Organization Should Create a CNN iReport Account Today

Compare and Contrast News Stories: Secrets of the Media

Get the Right tools to be a good iReporter

Set Up Your CNN iReport Account on a Sunny Day

Hurricane Isaac: iReports Before, During and After. Is This Guy Crazy?

And thank you for your daily votes in the In-Depth Storytelling category. Click on the Community Choice voting tab to help me be selected as CNN’s iReporter of the Year.

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