Useful Apps for Journalist

Juliana Borges

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Picture of a phone screen with some apps icons
Screen Picture – Sean MacEntee

Technology is constantly changing, so is the way that people behave and what they expect, consequently journalism has also changed immensely over the past decades.

The internet and the 24hour broadcasting service has made information available on real time; a story becomes “old news” considerably faster than when the public relied on morning’s newspapers.

A journalist needs to provide information rapidly and accurately, and one of the best ways to put this information out there is by taking advantage of what technology offers, keeping up to date and innovating  ways in which to use it.

Below are some Applications (APP) that might prove to be useful at some point.

The list is not extensive though, so in case you have any suggestions, please leave a comment and I shall include it in this post. I’ll also be constantly updating it, so make sure to keep checking.

Skype Logo

Skype enables you to easily connect with people all over the world. The video conversations are very useful for interviews, in case someone is in another country, and certainly a lot cheaper than buying a flight ticket, actually, it is free if the other person also has Skype.

You only pay if you want to use it instead of a phone to call international numbers (cheaper rates), so you have to buy credits.

News APP

There are several news Apps useful to keep you posted, some of them you have to pay for the issues, such as The Guardian and The Irish Times, and you access the full content; there are some free options though that will offer you breaking news. Examples:

The Journal APP Logo

As the Journal.ie is internet driven, you can find the full story in their APP. It is user friendly and uses photos, videos and text to offer information in a fast and light form.

Their focus is also on the social media, so you can easily share any article on your Facebook (for example) by pressing one button.

BBC Logo

The BBC News APP keeps you up to date with breaking news, you can switch notification on and the APP will alert you when something comes up. It contains international news in a few languages and a useful one minute video summarizing the news. You can also set your preferences of content and switch on the live radio.

The only complaint users have about this APP is the insertion of adverts before a video, as it delays your access to the information it gets in the way if you do not have much time to sit through the adds.

Flipboard LogoNews in a magazine style, Flipboard offers their content in a more visual form, largely focused on photography. You can personalise your preferences, such as travel, technology, photography and even create your own magazine selecting your favourite stories.

The articles are very short and resumed, however they often offer you the link to access the source such as The Times, The Economist, etc.

Social Network

It is so common, not only for journalist but amongst the public in general, that may be irrelevant to  include them on this list, anyway, it is a means of contact with your sources and your readers, so you need to access at least two social networks frequently, the Applications facilitate this access.

Three of the most popular are Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

Facebook logo

twitter logo

linkedin logo

Evernote logo

A very useful APP to create content, Evernote allows you to develop a new text document with the option to add audio and photos. You can organize your notes into notebooks and keep all your material in one place.

When you install it, your internet browser automatically gives you the option to open a series of content on Evernote – this is great for saving articles and PDF documents to read later, for example.

Voice/Video/Photo

The smart phones already comes with these function and the appropriate program to run them, however some Applications may improve or facilitate the usage of this functions.

audionote logo

Audio Note is a recording APP that adds the extra function of writing simultaneously, useful for people who would like to add comments during the interview or during a conference, for example, “compare with data from X site” or “mention similar work of Y”; the time – in the recording – that the comment was added is automatically inserted, what is very useful to remember at exactly what point you thought about that comment.

The free version of the Application is quite limited though, 10 min per recording and maximum of 2 hours. In case it proves to be worth it, the user pays €4.49 to unlock unlimited record and the option to share the content by e-mail.

hipstamatic logoHipstamatic is an application that makes your phone camera imitate an analogue camera. You can change the flash, filter and lenses.

The APP became very popular and the company has it own platform to share the content or develop the photographies if you wish to.

Although its usage is quite controversy in photojournalism, as you are not allowed to use any filter or manipulation in order to improve the photographies, the photographer Damon Winter, of New York Times, was awarded third place in the “Feature Picture Story – Newspaper” category of the Pictures of the Year International contest.

It is important to keep in mind that pictures taken with this APP are not a fair representation of reality and may not be used as a news picture, however, depending on the content your creating, a online feature for instance, it may add extra interest to the piece. The manipulation of images should always be clearly presented to the viewer/reader.

private photo logoPrivate Photos Application enables you to arrange your photos into folders, in a neater and easier way than the phone’s manufacturer option, while also giving you the option to create a password to lock the folder. There are other function such as quick retouch and easy sharing option, but the password my be the most useful to journalists in case they are working with sensitive data. 

*There are several APPS offering this service, this is just the one that I use.

For more updates, keep checking!

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Juliana Borges