11.19.2013

Cool Apps

Each of you will demonstrate a phone app or Web tool that you use for reporting/research/design work as a journalist -- and post a supporting summary about its usefulness in the comments area below. The best among these will be republished on American Journalism Review. Hint: AJR is very interested in hearing about new slide show tools.  

This will count as an in-class grade. 

20 comments:

Chloe Leshner said...

An app that I like to use for reporting and that I think could be better utilized by others is Instagram. It is an app that edits pictures with various filters but can be used for so much more than that. A picture can be worth a thousand words and I think that news organizations could better use Instagram to post photos for news stories that get readers/viewers intrigued in the story. It connects easily to other social media sites so by using Instagram to edit a picture, it can quickly be posted to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or Tumblr. So, rather than having viewers have to read a tweet or a Facebook post, they could see the picture from Instagram in order to get interested in the story.

Rachel Barron said...

An app that I find useful as a journalist is Photoshop Express. I began using Photoshop Express on the Internet before I had my own copy of Adobe Creative Suite, and discovered the app that way. With increasing numbers of journalists simply using their iPhones to capture photos of breaking news, having some kind of photo-editing software available as an app is imperative. The Photoshop Express app shortens the process of editing photos. Granted, it cannot do everything that Photoshop can. However, Photoshop Express allows the journalist to crop, straighten, remove red eye, add filters, adjust the exposure and more right from his or her phone. This makes it much easier to produce a quality photo on-the-spot without having to upload the photo to a computer for editing on Photoshop.

Tim Drummond said...

In Google's quest to be privy to everyone's personal data, they've created yet another tool that is super-useful to journalists (and everyone else, of course). It's called Google Voice, a free, multifaceted telecommunications service that allows users to manage calls and text messages from each of their phones. Google Voice will give you a new phone number, which you can then integrate to each of your existing phones. For example, when someone calls your Google Voice number, Google will forward the call to your home, cell and work phones, allowing you to take the call on the one most convenient for you. It also stores your voicemails from all of your phone lines in one convenient location online--and even transcribes the audio so you can read your voicemails instead of listening to them.

But there's one Google Voice feature that's especially useful for journalists who are interviewing sources on the phone. The program allows you to record any incoming phone calls to your Google Voice account, making it easy to store audio files of your phone calls even if you're on-the-go. Once your source calls you, press "4" to begin recording. Then, Google Voice will inform both parties that the call is being recorded (to comply with the law in Maryland and many other states). Then, you're free to conduct your interview with the knowledge that you can always go back to re-listen to the call later on.

Danny Golden said...

An app that I found that could be extremely useful for reporting is called Callnote. It allows you to record phone conversations and store them all in once place for later usage. It keeps details of your phone interviews for you and automatically alerts the other party that they are being recorded.

Obviously, the journalist needs to know the rules/regulations when it comes to recording conversations but hopefully it will just be used for legal, over-the-phone interviews. If that is the case, the organization and convenience speaks for itself.

Elizabeth McKelvy said...

An iPhone app that I found is called PicFlow. The app makes a 15-second video of a slideshow with audio. You can include any amount of photos from your camera roll. I thought that this app could be used to make short slideshow stories. After you pick your photos, the next step is to pick a song from your iTunes library to set the photos to. If you record a 15-second track of voiceover and export it to your iTunes library prior to opening the app, then you could set the slideshow to an audio track of your story. You can also set different times that you want each photo to show for so that it corresponds to the recorded audio track.

After the photo/audio slideshow is made, then you can upload it to social media. This app is perfect for journalist's social media because the videos are only 15 seconds. People's attention span is short on the Internet and even shorter on social media so a short video with photos and audio is the best way to get through to an audience. This app forces you to be brief, which only allows important information to be presented to followers. This app is perfect for keeping professional social media sites brief but informative.

Dustin Levy said...

When reporting, I do not typically download and use a bunch of popular apps on my iPhone. However, there is one app that I would be lost without.
This app is Voice Memos, which comes free with the iPhone. The app simply records conversations, and when I sync my iPhone with my computer, the recordings transfer to my iTunes. This app is immensely helpful because I no longer need to use a recorder when conducting an interview and I can use the recording as a backup when taking notes. It is very convenient that I have a recording device right on my phone. Additionally, it becomes very easy for me to transcribe the quotes of an interview subject when the recordings are on my iTunes. While Voice Memos is not the most revolutionary app, I find it to be incredibly helpful when reporting and writing articles. As a journalist, it is definitely the app that gets the most use on my phone because of how frequently it is necessary to record conversations when reporting a story.

Wheres Wendy said...

Rachel Walther

Evernote is a program designed to consolidate everything a person uses and saves among all their devices. It is a storage site for files, websites, sound clips, video, photo and so on, an extremely useful tool for a journalist dealing with tons of materials and files. Evernote saves everything to itself and functions as an app on tablets and smartphones as well as the desktop and Web. The users materials are accessible not matter where they are.
The program is free and designed with organization in mind so users can search by keywords and organize materials by files or "notebooks." You can even record audio and visual stuff directly on the program from your phone or tablet. Because everything is automatically backed up to users' desktop, everything is accessible offline as well. It's a really good way of keeping everything in one spot for immediate use. You can even type, share and email original work with it saving time and energy from switching between windows.

Fatimah Waseem said...
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Fatimah Waseem said...

When Twitter is atwitter, it's useful to have an easy desktop tool for real-time tracking, organizing, and engagement. TweetDeck does just that, allowing users to monitor multiple timelines, schedule tweets, keep track of alerts, filter searches based on engagement, users, and content, and manage multiple accounts, all from one social media dashboard.

Launched by Ian Dodsworth in 2008 and acquired by Twitter in 2011, TweetDeck is one of the most popular Twitter apps and has been praised for its clean, user-friendly interface. Users can create custom timelines and use advanced searches to track topics, trends, and emerging information. These categories of information appear in neat columns across your screen. This makes it easy to search for information and relay it from different accounts without all of the noise. I have used it on numerous occasions to tweet from different accounts, filter information I don't need, and track topics that could result in sources or leads for a story.

Twitter is a powerful tool, but it's current interface doesn't allow you to be in complete control. TweetDeck is Twitter 2.0.

Dan Servodidio said...
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Dan Servodidio said...

An IPhone and iPad app that I was introduced to over the summer as an intern for the Courier-Post (NJ), is iMovie. As a default program on most Mac computers, iMovie often gets overlooked as a useful video/audio tool to create packages. However as an app on a mobile device, iMovie can be used to create short video packages on-the-go to be published as a nice compliment to written text stories. With iMovie, journalists can edit pictures and video into a short news package - including adding lower thirds, transition edits, visual picture editing, etc. The app allows you to access and upload previously recorded video from your iPhone. Essentially, iMovie can create and edit video packages the same way it's done with Final Cut, Adobe Premiere and Avid - except it can be done easier, faster and right from the field.

Natalie Tomlin said...

An app I found that would be a great tool for journalists is ProShow - a web slideshow creator powered by Photodex. This app allows you to combine photos, audio and video from your own camera roll on your phone, your Instagram account, Facebook, Flickr, etc. to create professional photo slideshows that can be emailed, uploaded directly to Youtube or social media account(s), or it can be saved on your phone. You can also sign in to ProShow Web online to watch, edit and share your videos on your computer, and if you want to make longer videos, you can upgrade to a ProShow Plus or Premium account.

This app enables today's journalists to quickly combine elements of their reporting into one multimedia story. It also allows for easy upload to social media sites for fast, effective transmission. The New York Times called ProShow "one powerful app for creating dynamic photo slideshows." Journalists can use Pro Show to upload audio/voiceovers from iTunes to this app, along with photos/video taken on their phone to create one cohesive package that is easily sharable. This is a great option for reporters covering an event on the scene who don't have time to sit down at their computer to put together a multimedia package on a program like FinalCut or Audition.

Katie Secret said...

The app that I use most for reporting, since I am a print journalism major, is Evernote. This is a great app that allows you to take notes on scene at a story and to jot down quotes when interviewing a source. The app even allows you to record sound, which I find very useful when speaking with fast-talking sources or people on scene of breaking news stories. You can create notebooks in order to group your different notes. WIthin these notebooks, the individual notes you create track your location and mark it on your note, and also allow you to take pictures and record sound to attach to that note. You can also tag similar notes together outside of notebooks. In addition, the app includes a map where you can pin the different places you have been or reported on and mark them with accompanying notes. The most useful part of this app is that it automatically synchs to your iPad and wireless account, so you could write a note or a graph on the go and have it waiting on your computer for your editor before you even get back to the newsroom.

Marquis Goodwin said...

As multimedia and or social media tools continues to prosper, the iTunes App Store continues to grow. While most of the apps in the store have next-to-no downloads a few are proving to be very useful to journalists. Being that social media is the platform many young adults tend to get their news from, journalist are using more and more apps as production tools. These tools are used to get the news out at the rapid rate readers desire and in a way they find interesting. Many are familiar with the use of Twitter or Tweetcaster, Facebook, Voice Memos, and Google Voice by journalist but other, debatably more useful, apps also exist.

I would like to present two of them; the first being DropVox. Most journalists have a Dropbox account where they store audio files, along with videos, pictures and scripts in a sort of cloud. DropVox allows reporters to record audio in the field and save it straight to their Dropbox account. From here it can be accessed back in the newsroom immediately or stored for later use.

The second useful app would be Tout. This social video app precedes both Vine and Instagram Video. Users can make 15 second videos and professional users can make 45 second videos. These videos can then be shared immediately with the world. This would allow reporters to give viewers a synopsis from the field, while not boring viewers with these long live coverage videos we often see on television. It also seems more personal and connects with the viewers. It is more professional than Vine videos but not so perfect that the footage seems overly edited or crafted with an opinion in mind.

Ulysses Munoz said...
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Ulysses Munoz said...

Have you ever been taking notes in the middle of an interview when all of a sudden, the person you're talking to drops a word like "embrocation" or "abecedarian?"

Before today, you had two options. You could either ask what the word meant, making it seem like you don't know what you're talking about, or you could just ignore it, potentially missing out on a key piece of information.

Well you don't have to worry anymore. Now, there's Ninjawords.

Ninjawords is one of the fastest dictionaries available. Just type in any word and click look up and almost instantly, it appears below. Even if you misspell a word, Ninjawords does its best to figure out what word you want.

This dictionary is so fast, you can find a word's meaning in the time it takes your interviewee to think of a response to your last question.

Go ahead, test out the free online version of Ninjawords, and try to find a word it doesn't know! If you like it, the premium application is available on the iTunes App Store.

Jasmine Song said...

An application that I find particularly useful in the journalism world is twitter. With the ability to access up-to-date information using this application, journalists are able to find out what is happening around the world at a moments notice. This is a great tool that allows reporters to receive information and in turn, post information for others to see.

In today's society, many news organizations use twitter as a way to disseminate information they have gathered and reported. Media outlets such as CNN, NBC, The Washington Post, etc. all have twitter accounts. Not only are they able to let people know what is going on around them, but this application allows audience members to interact with them and post their own comments and opinions in relation to various twitter posts.

John Borg said...

When I’m researching a story, I usually always start with the Washington Post. They have a phone application that is very useful and really easy to use. The home page features the “Top Stories” and is a simple scroll down page, featuring the Post’s most current stories; all you do is touch one of the headlines and you are taken to the story.

The app also has various sections, including politics, opinions, sports, local news and technology, which sort stories into different categories. This is helpful to sort the stories into categories, providing for a quicker and more efficient search. These can be accessed by tapping “More” in the upper right corner of the screen.

Furthermore, it also features a useful search option. You can search a word or topic in the search bar and see if the Post has any articles written that are relevant. Just touch the Magnifying Glass icon at the top left of the screen and type in whatever you wish to look up.

Jared Wasserman said...

An app that was introduced to me in my capstone colloquium class this semester was Social Reader, which I find helpful in allowing me to follow topics that both interest me and provide comprehensive coverage of things that I otherwise don't have consistent access to in one place. Social Reader allows you to follow a particular thread, whether it is a sports team, health care, foreign relations, or any other relevant news topic. Once you've chosen a topic - whether it be extremely specific like the Washington Redskins or broad like Obama Care - the app will provide articles from the given day about that topic which you can "float" for other like-minded readers to follow. This allows you to connect with people who have similar interests as you and learn about a particular topic as it develops each day. The app sends you email reminders about new articles that may be related to your topic as well. This app allows journalists to educate themselves and stay current on a particular topic for a potential story, or simply follow a celebrity or sports team in a more confined and readily available space than having to scan the entire Internet. I think of Social Reader as Twitter more specifically designed for journalists -- floating an article acts as a retweet.

Sung-Min Kim said...

A tool that I find helpful is PCM Recorder app. The basic gist of this program is to record sounds and voices for interviews but it comes with few perks. First off, the layout of the app resembles that of TASCAM hand-held recorders, making it easily navigable for those who have experiences with recording equipments but new to such phone app. Second off, as soon as you record soundbites with the app, it allows you to upload the audio file right to the Soundcloud account. Soundcloud has become "the thing" in terms of online audio uploading/saving tool - one can arrange the setting on the website for the file to be downloaded later on the computer to be edited by the softwares like Adobe Audition. So PGM Recorder has proven itself to be a good shortcut for journalists wanting to record sound and post it online for immediate exhibition or quick web access for later use.