“The biggest challenge facing journalists in this new media age is knowing which tools to use, when.” (Bradshaw and Rohumaa, 2011)
The digital age brings an exciting range of possibilities for journalists, but its pace can also be a little daunting. We as reporters are expected to be more on it than ever before. Our phones are suddenly our greatest tool. There’s an endless stream of apps available, so here are a few must-haves to get you started… (and they’re all free!)
You’d have to have been living under a rock not to know about this world-dominating social media app, but Twitter really is essential. If you haven’t already, set up a professional Twitter account and get tweeting (or at least browsing!). It’s a perfect way to get noticed, make contacts and express your views to the rest of the world.
WordPress is used as a website software by all kinds of organisations, and it’s also the most user-friendly site for setting up a website of your own. There are all kinds of free themes to personalise your site, and with it’s own mobile app, you can even upload blog-posts on the go straight from your phone. Link it to your Twitter and it’s the best way for followers, contacts and potential employers to see your experience and portfolio.
Yahoo News Digest
Want a quick summary of the day’s top stories? Yahoo News Digest breaks the headlines down simply and interestingly. Padded out with photos, links, pull quotes, stats and tweets, the app gives you a quick little news digest twice a day, at times of your choosing.
It’s got the benefits of Google Alerts, without clogging up your email inbox. Feedly lets you search for news on particular topics, and compiles you a feed of results from across the internet.
Want to watch an event through the eyes of the people at the scene? Banjo is a geographically specific social discovery app that gives you an “all-access pass to live events and breaking news”. It shows you what’s trending nearby, collates relevant geotagged posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and puts them onto a map. It’s time and location specific – what could be better for a 21st century reporter?
Ever scroll down your Twitter feed and find all kinds of articles that you don’t have time to read? Pocket lets you save articles to read later. Just press and hold your finger over the link, select ‘send to pocket’, and the article will be ready and waiting in your Pocket app to read at your leisure.
You never know when you’ll have to drop everything and get somewhere quickly, whether it’s the scene of a crime or a local council meeting. Citymapper clearly and simply works out the fastest, cheapest, and most rain safe routes you can take across London to your destination. It works out the nearest bus stops, cycle docks and tube stations to your current location, and even tells you how quickly you could get somewhere by catapult!
For best results, team it up with Busmapper, which gives you even more accurate live updates on how soon your next bus will arrive.
When public transport just isn’t cutting it, sometimes a taxi is the only solution. Uber is the new answer to the black cab in London, sending a taxi at just the touch of a button. No cash required, and letting you split your fare, it really is the easiest way to call a cab. It’s also the cheapest, with much lower fares than your average London cabbie. Rumour has it an Uber rival is also on its way, with financier Nat Rothschild planning to release his cheaper alternative ‘Maaxi’ onto the streets soon, which groups customers travelling to the same destination.
One for the laptop or tablet, this handy programme lets you set up various different columns for getting the most out of your Twitter. Whether you want to keep tabs on particular users, groups or specific hashtags, TweetDeck the simplest way to keep an eye on lots of things at once. You can even set it up to show you all tweets sent from a particular location – follow this easy guide here.
If lists are your thing, EverNote offers a slightly more advanced version of Apple’s ‘Notes’, which still lets you sync across your devices. Get several different notebooks on the go, and you can create notes in either text, camera, photo, reminder or list form (it even has tick-boxes).
Time is everything in the world of news, so a journalist’s diary is his bible. Sunrise is organisational eye-candy. It syncs all your different calendars in one place, from your iCloud to your email to your Facebook, lets you add in pre-selected sport/national/religious calendars, and even throws in some weather. There’s even a desktop version, so there’s no excuse for missing that important meeting.
Think there’s something I’ve missed? Let me know @katie_strick or leave a comment below.