Reporting on refugee communities: Technical production

2022-01-31 08:54


Reporting on refugee communities: Technical production-IJNET 

Once you’ve chosen the medium through which to tell your story, you’ll need to plan how to produce it. Whether you’re creating a podcast, documentary or written piece, here are some tips on technical production. 

Mobile journalism

Acquiring permissions, accreditations and documents to enter a refugee camp with large cameras and tripods can often be difficult, especially if your journalism is independent. To avoid the hassle or attention of large cameras, mobile phones can be a good choice both for pre-recording and for recording live on location. 

This manual from Konrad Adenauer Stiftung offers helpful mobile journalism tips. It includes a guide on how to produce live video with your smartphone, how to edit your mobile video footage, advice for visual storytelling, and practical tips for filming.


If you’ve decided to create a podcast, prioritize the sound quality and production during your interviews. To learn more about creating your own podcast, check out these resources from IJNet:

[Read more: Reporting on refugee communities: Editorial production]


If you plan to produce video, make sure to choose your location, lighting, sound and depth of field carefully. You want to avoid ending up with unusable footage. Rushed decisions can waste resources and significantly increase your workload. It may also be difficult to return to your filming location in the future or interview your sources a second time. 

If your film is investigative, you and your team may elect to carry out covert filming. 

  • The BBC has published guidelines for determining when secret recording is appropriate. Privacy, fairness and accuracy are the most important considerations for journalists using this approach. The BBC follows a strict ethical code for determining which subjects should be secretly recorded. Those subjects “should normally be the target of any investigation, against whom there is prima facie evidence of wrongdoing or intended wrongdoing. Any attempt to secretly record people who are not involved in committing the behavior under investigation, especially vulnerable people or innocent victims of the behavior, will need a strong public interest justification — the ends should justify the means.”
  • If you elect to move forward with covert recording, here are tips for filming undercover, published by The Beat. Some tips include researching your location, determining which subjects you need to film, planning how long you have to shoot and choosing which tools are best to use.

[Read more: Reporting on refugee communities: Mental health]


The art of the journalistic interview requires both talent and skill. Above all, you must deal with your interview subjects and sources professionally and with respect. Handling sources for sensitive stories like those about refugees during the pandemic can be especially tricky. 

Here are some resources that can help you prepare for and conduct interviews:

Digital security

Protecting your data and communications, and identifying information about your sources is critical for any project. Here are some resources on digital security to get you started:

IJNet's parent organization, ICFJ, partnered with the Facebook Journalism Project on its Reporting on Refugee Communities Amidst a Pandemic program.

Main graphic created by Malak Elabbar.