Life as a Journalist is Easier with These Apps
Being a reporter is incredibly stressful.
Right now every journalist reading this is shaking their head and thinking what a massive understatement that was. We get that.
Excruciating deadlines, gathering research, staying on top of social media, and assembling stories. Journalism is not for the faint of heart!
When the demands of being a journalist are this great, a few key technologies can take an enormous weight off your shoulders and even improve the quality of stories.
To make life as a journalist easier, we’ve compiled several apps for every savvy reporter’s workday:
Distraction-Free Writing Apps: Byword or iA Writer
Excellent writing is a foundational element of journalism, even for TV and audio-only reporters.
Microsoft Word and Google Drive are the two most used writing tools, but they both have elements that can be distracting, notably when you’re producing that first draft.
Both Byword (Mac & iOS only) and iA Writer (Windows, Mac, Android & iOS) were designed to eliminate distractions. By cutting out superfluous elements like font styles and including tools like “Focus Mode,” Byword and iA Writer can instantly improve writing efficiency.
Both apps allow users to export their documents to various other apps like WordPress and in formats like PDF and HTML.
Using distraction-free writing apps like these, you’ll be able to produce higher quality drafts faster.
Call Recording App: TapeACall
In-person interviews require proximity to your source, travel resources, and flexible deadlines.
For everything else, there’s TapeACall.
To my reporter friends out there with iPhones, @TapeACall is the best app for recording interviews ever.
— Myra Thomas (@MyraWrites) July 26, 2017
— Benjamin Leatherman (@partycrasheraz) January 6, 2017
TapeACall lets you record your calls, save and organize them, and share them via email or cloud storage. The main benefit, though, is the ability to interview without having to scribble notes and instead focus on the interview itself.
One feature journalists love is unlimited recording. There are no time limits on each recording, and you can create as many of them as you need. Other call recording apps require credits or place restrictions on how long you can record.
Whether your story is meant for print, TV, or audio only, TapeACall is a surefire way to get a quality recording and keep a full record of your source’s comments.
Twitter Apps: Twitter & IFTTT
News breaks on Twitter.
The social network has become the defacto platform for real-time news and information. When you need social proof to put into a story or want to gauge opinions on a topic, this social network is the place to look.
Every journalist should use the Twitter app and become familiar with the nuances of the platform, including hashtags, mentions, replies, and it’s advanced search tool.
If you’re looking to supercharge your social media prowess, IFTTT has some tools to take you to the next level. This app automates many actions that are time-consuming or would require a manual process.
Want to keep a full record of your tweets or tweets with a particular hashtag? IFTTT can send them to a Google Sheet for you.
Need to know when a particular @user tweets? IFTTT can send you a notification on your iOS device.
IFTTT has other tools for journalists beyond Twitter. Have a vital email you’re waiting on? IFTTT can send you an SMS when it enters your inbox.
There are dozens of additional IFTTT “applets” others have created that make life as a journalist easier.
Taking Notes On the Go: Evernote
In the old days, journalists always carried and pen and notepad.
Today, there’s Evernote.
This app is perfect for that quick thought you want to jot down before it’s lost, taking notes on the fly, or keeping a swipe file of research. It syncs across your Internet-connected devices, so whatever text you write or photos you add on your iPhone will be there in your web browser.
Journalists can also dictate stories to the app which it will transcribe for you.
While it’s universally available on virtually any mobile phone or computer, the free version limits your usage to only two devices, so if you regularly use an iPhone, iPad, and Macbook, you’ll have to make a tough decision.
Or, for $3.99/month or $34.99/year, you can access Evernote on every device and get a month storage increase, too.
Secure Communications: Signal
Not every story needs complete security, but protecting a source’s privacy or a conversation with an editor is always a best practice.
That’s where Signal comes in. It uses end-to-end encryption so you can send and receive text messages or media like photos or video without worry of your conversation being hacked.
Every journalist should have at least one secure communication app installed.
Making Journalism a Little Easier
High-quality reporting, the kind that inspired journalists to take up this profession, is one of the most challenging jobs.
But with a few of these apps, your day might get a little more relaxed.
If you’re a journalist and have another app you love, let us know if the comments.