Home Tech News The Must-Have When Reporting on Disasters: A Satellite Phone
Tech News - April 19, 2019

The Must-Have When Reporting on Disasters: A Satellite Phone

As a country wide reporter, you often discover your self caught in breaking information conditions. What tech do you use when masking mass shootings? How approximately when covering fires?

My previous job became Southeast Asia correspondent, and I might lug round a satellite tv for pc cellphone on trips to distant places like northern Myanmar. When I arrived in San Francisco 3 years ago, I didn’t think I might need it. But the California wildfires of the final two years knocked out cell coverage, mainly the wine country fires of 2017.

So the satellite cellphone became imperative for submitting on tight deadlines. I placed the smartphone, which is set the dimensions of a computer, at the roof of the car, pointed it in the direction of the satellite tv for pc and ran a cable via the window into the the front seat, wherein I plugged into my pc.

When I protected mass shootings, some of the people I interviewed have been involved approximately privateness, to be able to talk securely, we used Signal, the encrypted telephone app.

You also write about earthquakes. What tech do you need to have accessible whilst the Big One hits California?


When I arrived in California, I soon discovered that everybody right here is conditioned to keep an emergency earthquake bag in a automobile or somewhere close to the door. In addition to my packed bag, I preserve a satellite telephone in the trunk. I’m assuming that cellular networks may be badly disrupted by way of a large earthquake — that became certainly the case once I protected the 2015 Nepal earthquake. Finding electricity may also be a hassle in the days right now after a big quake, so I’m relying on the cigarette lighters in the automobile to serve as a generator.

We have some of satellite telephones within the San Francisco bureau, and we’ve disbursed them to staff participants who stay in San Francisco and throughout the bay.

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What tech device do you dislike the maximum for reporting?

I used to rely upon Twitter very closely after I blanketed Southeast Asia — it changed into the fine way to observe occasions within the 10 countries that I was masking. But I locate it lots less useful in Northern California for information coverage.

Twitter is very clannish and ideological, and it appears like a platform for self-promoting and distinctive feature trumpeting greater than whatever else. The way people tweet jogs my memory of ways some humans speak when they step as much as a lectern at City Council meetings — seeking out applause more than conveying data. It’s the character of the platform, of direction, and I’m as responsible as the subsequent man — if this rant have been a tweet and it were given no retweets, I could feel a tinge of sorrow.

So Twitter stinks. What tech gear do you watched reporters have benefited from?

I locate Dataminr beneficial. That’s the enterprise that scrapes the net for breaking news and then sends it to you in real time. Its set of rules does a quite right activity of alerting you to shootings, crashes, scandals, large political news — the matters we want to realize approximately.

I also use a program that the veteran Times tech reporter John Markoff grew to become me directly to. It’s referred to as Audionote, and it’s a phrase processor and voice recorder melded into one. So in case you’re at a news conference or doing a sit down-down interview, you kind as you record. Then you could go back to the textual content, click at the phrases and listen to the recording from that second. It’s a amazing device for cut-off date writing.

What tech product are your kids currently enthusiastic about? What do they do with it?

I’ve been trying to show all the household electronics into language learning gear, with limited achievement: TV at some point of the week is quality as lengthy because it’s in French or Thai. (The children had been born in Thailand, and we’re a Francophone circle of relatives.) That didn’t certainly paintings, because as quickly as we weren’t looking, they opened a display in English.

I switched our Alexa to French, however we decided that she is a lot much less entertaining as a French robot. We couldn’t get her to play 20 Questions in French. I gave up and switched her to English with a British accessory.

But all of that could be a sideshow to the Daily Battle of the Screens. It never ceases to amaze me that outdoor there can a blue sky, bright California sunshine and plenty of open area to discover — however the kids favor to flip open a computer and surf YouTube.

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