Five Tools Every
Journalist Should Use
Reporting & Writing Across Media
Presenter: Ryan Phillips
The Age Of The Mobile Journalist
As the landscape of information dissemination changes,
those in the industry must change with it.
Journalists have at their disposal a wide range of tools
aimed at making the concept of a “Backpack Journalist”
more of a reality.
For the first time since the advent of the internet,
journalists are forced to become tech-savvy.
Utilization is key
Despite the negative stigma, immediacy has become
paramount (Don’t forget accuracy)
There are tools available that will make your job as a
journalist easy ,but can that be a bad thing?
What benefits have you experienced with using
multimedia tools in your work?
While tech tools are nice, they are no replacement for
sound journalistic fundamentals (I.E writing, interview
skills, intuition, etc)
Online video platforms
Visual-based social media
Mobile Word Processors
Mobile note/recording software
When dealing with in-depth interviews, transcribing can
be time-consuming, especially when deadlines are
There is new software emerging that aims to help with
the transcription process, but be wary that this will
handle the bulk and not the entirety of the interview
process in terms of accuracy.
Examples: Dragon, Listnote Speech, Mac iOS dictation
Dragon Systems founded in 1982
Free in iTunes App store
Runs on Windows Platforms
Called DragonDictate or Dragon
for Mac on Apple Platforms.
Offers text-to-speech function
along with dictation
Advantages of Dragon
Saves time with transcribing long
Converts speech to text or vice
Is free on mobile platforms.
Simple interface, making it the
favorite among those who need
Has difficulty with punctuation.
Has difficulty translating regional dialects.
Paid version can cost $$$
Online Video Platforms
As the internet becomes the primary means of travel for
information, more online video platforms continue to
pop up including Vine and Tout.
Allows users to instantly watch short videos by only
scrolling through a feed, meaning instant uploading and
Platforms have been incorporated by journalists to
Released January 2013, owned by Twitter
Maximum upload size, 6 seconds
Can embed videos via social media.
Free app across platforms
Functions like Vine but offers 15
Allows you to follow other users and
also functions as a social media
Simple interface which makes it
good for taking and uploading
videos on the go.
Drawbacks of Vine and TOUT
Neither allows users to edit—What you take is what you
The short time allotment can narrow the scope of use.
Video quality may be questionable.
Visual-Based Social Media
Naturally, Instagram more
than 100 million users has
become the most popular and
widely used form of VisualBased Social media.
Others include Snapchat and
Allows users to see the story
as opposed to reading it.
w/Instagram, users can edit
photos (to a degree)
Advantages of Visual Based-Social
Personal connectedness with your audience.
Allows users to build their own audience
Allows for a small degree of internal editing
Allows users (or journalists) to instantly upload photos
that may be relevant to readers or followers.
Videos can be embedded in other social media outlets
Competition with an
Mobile Word Processors
Often when journalists are out in the field (at least in
the old days) their content output was restricted to a
typewriter or desktop computer.
With new software available, Word Processor and Office
Suites are now available on mobile platforms.
With this in mind, an entire news story can be put
together and formatted from a smartphone.
Docs To GO
Currently $49.99 in app store.
Allows user to access and edit word
documents and spreadsheets
Is a better format than note taking
software for constructing written news
stories that need to go directly to
Has a visual component that is
comparitevly equal to desktop office
Mobile Note-Taking Software
Many new apps are attempting to converge the many
tools that professionals use into a single platform.
This combines note-taking software, recording software
and organizational tools into one app.
Many try to do this, but the most popular has proven to
Combines concepts mentioned
previously, primarily functions as
organizational tool but can prove
beneficial to journalists.
Advantages- streamlining the
Disadvantages- can cause dependency
if relied upon too much, thus causing a
qualitative drop in journalist
fundamentals such as personal note
taking and listening skills.
Tools are great, but not a replacement for oldfashioned, time-tested journalistic techniques
They should be approached in a way that asks “How can
this improve the skills I have learned and are currently
With the push for immediacy in the media, it is crucial
to remember: DO NOT let your apps do your job.