By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
April 12, 2012

Radio reporter Rob Schmitz took a microphone AND a camera to the assembly line

It’s not as slick as ABC’s, and you don’t get to see the reporter riding in a van, donning a bunny suit, or chatting up the workers. But Rob Schmitz’ simple, hand-held video tour of Foxconn’s Shenzhen iPad factory — posted Wednesday on American Public Media’s Marketplace website — gives you a better feel for what goes on there.

Bill Weir’s 5:32 report on ABC Nightline gave us our first glimpse of the sheer numbers involved — those rows after rows of young workers. See here.

Schmitz’ 2:36 video shows us their faces — marching to work in the morning, getting their daily assembly line assignments, dozing off while standing in line.

He also shows us more machinery than we expected to see — a recently installed pick-and-place robot, a device for pressing the batteries into place, a box that tests the iPad’s gyroscope by spinning it this way and that.

The tour of Foxconn’s factory was Schmitz’ reward from Apple (AAPL) public relations for having exposed the lies in Mike Daisey’s “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.”

It turned out to be our reward too.

Schmitz is a full-service reporter. In addition to shooting this video, he’s been tweeting, blogging and doing radio interviews all week. You can catch up to it all at Marketplace’s Apple Economy special report.

Below the fold: The ABC and Marketplace videos, via YouTube

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