New technology is making it easier for journalists to do their job, but if you download every app that comes down the pipeline you’ll have a full memory card, bankrupt data plan, and no way to tell which app is going to help you cover the next story.
After scouring the web, here are the apps journalists find most helpful.
This app lets you upload and share audio and video files in real-time. It’s ideal for covering breaking news, when every second matters in beating the competition. The only downside to this app is that it’s slow if you don’t have an ideal connection. But in areas with good Internet service (such as the Boston marathon or San Francisco Street Festival), it lets you be the first to post real-time video on the action.
One of the offerings by Yahoo!, Delicious is a bookmarking app that lets you share your bookmarks with others and even follow what others bookmark. It’s great for finding out how popular webpages are and for collaborating on assignments. The only downside is most of the useful stuff is buried under the more popular news sites like CNN and Fox News. Dig through it to find what’s useful to you.
This app lets you share all types of files, both with your personal devices and with others. It’s the perfect alternative for those of us who aren’t complete experts on Android, iOS, or Blackberry mobile device management and have to retreat to our laptops or PCs to finish the article. Dropbox is also useful when you’re collaborating with another journalist. You get free space for every friend or coworker you invite who opens an account.
This is a versatile tool for annotating documents, organizing documents, and publishing your work. You can make your own notes on any document, allow others to collaborate on your note making, and even publish the annotations with the finished document. One feature of the app discovers entities in your document (such as a business or prominent person) for further research or adding a link within your article. Document Cloud also makes it easy to work with large documents or large groups of documents (such as a string of thousands of emails).
Interviewees can get intimidated when you drag in a huge video camera, a videographer, and lots of recording equipment. But most people think nothing of chatting while your cell phone sits on the table and allowing you to take a couple of photos of them. With Google Voice, you can use your phone to capture voice recordings and filter ambient noise for ideal quality. You can also use it as mobile teleconferencing equipment.
Most journalists (photojournalists in particular) avoid Flickr like the plague. But there’s a way to use it other than posting all your photos for others to cannibalize. Set up an account for your readers and viewers to post their photos. Then you can take your pick from the pool when you need stock photos of a particular community or event. This is especially handy after natural disasters when getting into certain areas is tricky, but your readers are there with cell phones and can take easy shots.
What are the journalism tools you can’t live without?