6 Mobile Apps for Simpler, Smarter Journalism

By Leah Walters

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A smartphone might be a journalist’s best friend. The Internet browser and email are invaluable on the beat, but take a spin through the app store and it’s clear there’s more to be had than plain 4G. Whether you’re reporting, researching, reading, or writing, there’s an app for that. Here are 6 downloads journalists ought to check out.

Evernote (Free): This multi-platform application is loved for its versatility. Think of it as a mobile workplace that stores files, notes, images and videos: Create to-do lists, mark up PDFs, clip links from the web, and set task reminders. Evernote syncs wirelessly on phone, tablet and computer, so gone are the worries of losing notes–and your mind.

Ban.jo (Free): Twitter is great, but Ban.jo makes it an even more valuable social resource. This website and mobile app indexes trending stories by location and content in real-time so users can browse relevant social posts from around the globe. Sure it’s fun to be in the loop, but the app also has real journalism prospects: use it as a tool for finding eyewitnesses and potential sources.

Zite (Free): This clean and simple reader app recommends stories from all over the web based on your interests. As you interact with Zite—by bookmarking stories for later and “hearting” topics—it tailors a magazine-like newsfeed to your interests better and better. Basically, you’ll spend less time hunting for content and more time reading.

Werdsmith (Free): When inspiration strikes, take note with Werdsmith. The app, for iPhone and iPad, lets users organize and work on writing projects anywhere. It also boasts a sharing feature so you can get feedback, and a word goal feature that helps motivate you to write daily.

Dropbox (Free): Dropbox lets you access photos, documents and videos from the mobile app or on the web. You can also instantly upload files and share them with others. So, the video footage you shoot on the job can be in the hands of your coworkers before you even get back to the newsroom.

Camera+ ($1.99): When you have to play photographer, this app lets you capture professional-looking photos with the ease and convenience of an iPhone. With manual controls for shooting and easy-to-use edit features, Camera+ is a step-up from the built-in camera. If you frequently take photos for web or print, this is worth shelling out a couple dollars for.

Share your favorite digital tools in the comments.

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7 responses to “6 Mobile Apps for Simpler, Smarter Journalism

  1. This was such a fun story to read! Half of these apps are ones I’ve never heard of, but now I’m definitely going to check them out. Call Recorder is one of my favorites. It’s a free app that makes phone interviews a breeze. Hands-free recording means I’m able to take notes during my interview, while my phone does the hard work. That in conjunction with some of these apps will absolutely make this journalist’s life easier.

  2. These sound like some amazing apps! I have not heard of most of them, but I really want to do some downloading now. Unfortunately, my phone is always full, so I don’t have many apps besides the basic Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I think apps offer such potential for journalism use, and I know I’ll end up getting some of these in the future.

  3. This is amazing, Leah. I hadn’t heard of a lot of these and I will definitely be downloading them. I really like the idea of Werdsmith. I’m always trying to be more organized and I find myself thinking something would make a good story and then having to keep track of the crumpled receipt that I wrote ideas down on!

  4. I love these! Honestly, I’m the type of person who really only has a couple of apps: the standard apps that come with the iPhone and a few social media apps. These, however, seem both fun and educational. I especially like the ban.jo one so you can choose relevant stories and not get constant updates on stories that just may not interest you. I’ll definitely be looking into these, and I think their relationship to the expanding field of journalism will make these, and apps like them, way more popular in the future.

  5. Super cool! I have never heard of any of these now, and now I am going to download all of them! I am like Sarah LeBlanc, I am one of those people who has just the standards apps and like 4 more on my phone. But after reading these descriptions I will be broadening my “app horizons” to new and exciting journalism apps!

  6. I had no idea about most of these apps! I think it’s been awesome to see all the amazing tools that have popped up since the creation of the smartphone. They expand all the tools journalists already have and offer a lot of cool ways to stay organized, take notes etc.

  7. I’ve actually heard about most of these apps, however, I haven’t had the opportunity to utilize all of them. Dropbox is one of my favorite apps because it’s so easy to collaborate with people. My dad actually uses Zite, and it sounds like such a useful app. Not having to check out different websites for articles, and keeping your favorite articles in one place seems handy — I definitely want to look into it.

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