Mobile apps for smart phones are a staple for multimedia and mobile journalists. Below is a list of some of the best apps to have in your arsenal when reporting on-the-go.
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Apps Gone Free
Download this free app to find experts’ recommendations for apps to download also for free.
Easily create your own podcasts up to three minutes long in Audioboo. You can also share them directly with other users and download other podcasts through this app. Download the original instead of Audioboo 2 because Audioboo 2 does not work as well.
Adobe Photoshop Express
This app brings all of Adobe’s basic features to your smart phone. It has automatic settings and filters to make editing from a smaller screen with your fingers easier. The app is free, but there are a few in-app purchase options available that might be helpful depending on what you use the app for.
“Taking the search function a step further, Banjo shows where Facebook or Twitter users have checked in or posted from. Not only will this help you spot stories, but you can quickly link up with witnesses or people on the ground or get in touch with people at the scene before you arrive.” – from journalism.co.uk
“Scanners are expensive and cumbersome; photographs are not always reliable. Finding a happy medium between the two is CamScanner, an app which allows you to take photos of a document and convert it into a PDF for review later.” – from journalism.co.uk
Clinch“Clinch allows users to upload their own photos and videos and also can pull in photos and videos from others’ Twitter and Instagram feeds, as well as Google images from nearby based on the phone’s location. Available for both iOS and Android devices.” – from RJI Future Labs
“This app records short interviews or dictations and turns them into text. I’ve used it a few times and I like how it easily converts copy and drops it into an e-mail.” – from Journalists’s Toolbox’s list of Mobile Resources
“With DropVox you can record audio in the field and save it straight to a Dropbox account, to be accessed later or sent back to the newsroom immediately.” – from journalism.co.uk
“The premise of Evernote is simple – it’s basically just a notebook – but it becomes essential within a few days of first use. Photos, audio files, weblinks and notes can all be saved and stored in the cloud and then accessed across any and all devices: at work, at home, on mobile, on tablet.” – from journalism.co.uk
Google Media Tools
This site showcases Google’s suite of digital tools. Use these tools to enhance news gathering and search capabilities as well as improve audience engagement. Learn how to visualize data using Google Maps and much, much more!
This app brings the iMovie program that comes with all Apple computers to your iPhone. It includes basic movie editing and allows you to share the finished product through the app itself.
iTalk is a recording app that also allows you to convert audio interviews into files small enough to upload onto the internet. You can email them directly or transmit them wirelessly to a computer on the same WiFi network as your iPhone.
You can use this app to create time lapse videos, which add a helpful multimedia component to stories that are otherwise boring or happen over a long period of time.
“Zoom and add various lenses and features to your iPhone camera shoots. Choose one or two as you see fit. PhoneGrafer offers many settings and effects, and has a built-in level to make sure your shot is true.” – from Journalists’s Toolbox’s list of Mobile Resources
“Skype has become a near ubiquitous tool for making calls over the Internet but with SkyRecorder those calls can now be recorded directly when being made from a mobile device.” – from journalism.co.uk
“This social video platform precedes both Vine and Instagram, letting users make 15 second videos, or 45 for professionals, and share them with the world. It has been picked up by Digital First Media and the BBC, among others, to host their microvideo reports.” – from journalism.co.uk
“With better search and filtering options than the basic Twitter app, the key advantage Tweetcaster offers is the ability to search for nearby keywords based on your location. Great for reporters out on a story.” – from journalism.co.uk
Twitter is an excellent way to share direct information with a lot of people in quick succession, making it great for breaking news coverage. Personal twitter accounts are also a valuable resource for individual reporters who want to have their own voice within their publication, crowdsource for news tips and engage their audience. PBS Mediashift provides tips on how journalists use Twitter and University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Sue Robinson gives tips on teaching social media skills to young journalists.
“Our recent app of the week but with good reason. Videolicious is a quick and easy video editing app that has been picked up by reporters at the Washington Post to make narrated videos and audio slideshows on the move.” – from journalism.co.uk. Poynter also has an online tutorial available on how to use Videolicious.
Vine, Cinemagram, and GifBoom
These apps allow users to create short videos from their smartphone and then share it with their friends. Vine and Cinemagram compile different video clips to make one longer video, but Gifboom users can combine both still images and video to make a gif. You can link these accounts to Facebook and/or Twitter to give your friends in those social networks access to the videos you make, as well.
Voice Recorder HD
Voice recorder allows you to record even the lengthiest interviews on your iPhone and turn them into high quality wav. files. You can email the document from your phone, or you can connect to a computer using a USB cable to upload the longer interviews.
Vidify is an iPhone/iPad app that allows users to pull in clips from the camera roll and combine with music from the app’s library or from the user’s own music collection.
Wickr allows you to encrypt text, picture, audio and video messages.
“An ‘intelligent’ magazine that lets you choose specific topics of interest, or gathers them from social and reader accounts, and delivers them in a presentable format. Furthermore, it can learn your preferences through a thumbs-up or thumbs-down feature and, although it won’t include everything, it is a great way to scan the news in the morning.” – from journalism.co.uk
And of course, all of the major news organizations, like New York Times, Washington Post, AP etc., have apps. Your local newspaper might even have one, too! They are a great way to stay connected with the world and community around you. Be sure to notice the differences among the apps, and what you think they do successfully.