Your phone is a powerful reporting tool, much more than calls, emails and text messages. Your smartphone is a computer, camera, recorder and publishing tool that is always in your pocket. My Apps for Journalists list contains only apps that are practical and useful for journalists.
Notes, documents and file transfers
EVERNOTE – A note-taking app that syncs text, photos and audio to Internet connected devices. Journalists can use it to take notes, dictate short stories (and photo captions) with audio option, write stories, captions and submit for editing. Evernote is more than an app, available as a Mac OS download, via Google Chrome, Windows and other browsers. FREE — available on iPhone, Android and other mobile platforms.
DROPBOX – Dropbox is a transfer station for sending and storing files. Dropbox also allows you to view files on the go, download files for offline viewing, sync photos and videos and share links to your files in your personal Dropbox. Dropbox is connected to many multimedia apps and is a simple solution for transferring and archiving mobile media. FREE — available on iPhone, Android and other mobile platforms.
GOOGLE DRIVE – Create and edit documents and spreadsheets. Store and share photos, videos and audio files. Connected to many multimedia apps on iPhone. FREE 15 GB of space, available on iPhone and Android.
GENIUS SCAN – A PDF app that allows you to scan a document, create a PDF and email it as a JPEG or PDF. The Genius Scan+ version costs $2.99 and allows you to send scans to Dropbox, Evernote and Google Docs. FREE — available on iPhone and Android.
ABBYY TEXT GRABBER – Capture printed text from documents, magazines, books, etc. Text can be copied, pasted and edited. Text Grabber recognizes 60 different languages. A similar software is used by law firms to copy documents. $7.99 — available on iPhone and Android.
Audio and call recording
TAPE A CALL – Record incoming and outgoing cellular phone calls. No time limit on recordings, upload to Dropbox, Evernote or Google Drive. $5.99 Available on iPhone and Android.
SKYRECORDER – Record Skype and VOIP calls, record audio. Unlimited recording time. $1.99 on iPhone and iPad.
iTALK – iTalk Recorder is an audio recorder with high quality files. Press the big red button to record; press it again to stop. Files can also be saved to Dropbox with the Pro version. FREE for the basic edition, $1.99 for iTalk Pro, which features Dropbox uploading. Android has Voice Memo which is free.
IAUDITION – iAudition was designed for voiceover artists, but also a great solution for journalists in need of an audio recording app. Record high quality audio, make quick edits using familiar functions and send them via email or FTP site. The audio file arrives as an MP3 file and can be instantly played on virtually any computer, mobile device or tablet. $4.99 for the iPhone.
AUDIONOTE – Record audio while typing notes. Syncs audio to text notes. Great tool for recording meetings, conferences, speechs while taking notes. Available on iOS and Android.
VOICEBASE – Get machine or human transcriptions of your audio files from your phone, a recorder or laptop. Try it for free with up to an hour of transcriptions.
Photography, photo editing
VSCO Camera – Simple camera app that allows you to lock focus and exposure points. The app includes some basic photo editing tools. FREE — available on iOS and Android.
Camera+ – A camera app that allows you to shoot in automatic mode or manual mode. Use manual exposure, focus and white balance to get the best image. Basic photo editing tools. $3.99 — available on iOS.
FILTERSTORM – A photo-editing app for the iPhone and iPad. Filterstorm contains editing tools similar to Adobe Photoshop on your computer. You can edit using layers, curves for adjusting tone, color correction, sharpness, noise reduction and a history brush. Filterstorm has two important features for journalists: 1 – the ability to add IPTC or caption information to images and 2 – the ability to send images directly from the app to an FTP server, email, Dropbox and more. $3.99 — available on iPhone and iPad.
TERIPIX – Developed by photojournalists this app allows journalists to quickly add images to their digital platforms and archives. “Take pictures in the field, upload via smartphone, post to the media organization’s web site – all within minutes” according to their website. The other useful feature is that ability to add caption information to the image before uploading.
Video and video editing
MOVIE PRO – A filmmaking app with full auto and manual controls for focus, exposure and white balance. What sets this app apart from others is the ability to listen to the sound you are recording with your video. Using a TRRS adapter you can record sound and listen live. Movie Pro also features a single-track video editor so you can create simple videos and quickly publish them. $4.99 for iOS.
FILMIC PRO – Shoot video with manual controls like focus, exposure, white balance. Shoot various frame rates and monitor your audio levels through headphones.This is the app being used by filmmakers to create feature length films. $7.99 for iOS.
IMOVIE – The updated version of iMovie for iOS is one of the few video editing apps that has two tracks of video and two tracks of audio. Trim clips, bring them to the timeline, split clips, detach audio and much more. iMovie is my go-to video editing app on my iPad and iPhone. Free on new iOS devices, $4.99 to purchase.
VIDEOSHOP – Simple video editing app that allows you to trim, add text and other effects. Best part of this app is that you can create social videos timed specifically to Vine, Snapchat and Instagram. The timeline tool guides your editing for each social video platform. You can also upload video directly to Snapchat which means you can add more polished video stories in both horizontal and vertical formats. $1.99 for iPhone, iPad and Android.
VIDEOLICIOUS – Quickly add your voice to still or video images, Videolicious will automatically add transitions. Journalists can make quick and easy videos with voice over. Free personal account, business account is $60 per year – only available on the iOS.
Social media tools
BUFFER – Share to your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google + from one place and at optimal times. Add up to five tweets/posts to your “buffer” for automatic posting at the best times throughout the day. You can also schedule the buffered posts. Use the app, web version or post from Feedly, Nuzzle and other RSS feed apps. Free — available on iPhone.
HOOTSUITE – Allows you to manage multiple social accounts from one app. Manage multiple Twitter accounts, Facebook, Foursquare and LinkedIn. This app automatically shortens links and allows you to schedule tweets. Free — available on all platforms.
UPLOAD AND ROLL – Send photos, graphics and videos to your Snapchat from your iPhone’s Camera Roll. There are plenty of Snapchat uploaders on the app store, this is the one that works consistently. $1.99 for iOS.
PERISCOPE – Stream live video from your phone to your followers with this free app. Streams are pushed in real-time via push notifications. People watch it live, videos can replay for 24 hours and then they are gone.
IFTT – If This Then That allows you to use and/or create “recipes” that tell your apps what to do. One example is a recipe I use that takes my Instagram images and makes them native Twitter images then tweets them automatically. IF recipes run in the background once they are set up. DO recipes create a custom button with a function. FREE – available on the iOS and Android.
REPORTERS COMMITTEE FIRST AID APP – This app created by the non-profit Reporters Committee is designed to give on-the-spot resources to reporters who may have legal questions or encounter roadblocks while on assignment – See more at: http://www.rcfp.org/app#sthash.fkWozIYZ.dpuf. Free on Android, iOS and Kindle.
5-0 POLICE SCANNER – Allows users to listen live to local, national and international police, fire and ambulance radio traffic. This app runs in the background on your mobile device so you can listen while writing a story or capturing photographs. FREE — available on iPhone. Android offers a variety of scanner apps, my favorite is Scanner Radio.
MOBILE PATROL – Information from local law enforcement including arrests, sex offenders, emergency information.
Val Hoeppner, Digital, Mobile, Social and Multi-platform Storytelling and Training