By: Sarah Marshall
A selection of tools and apps for the student journalist’s toolbox
As soon-to-be journalism undergraduates were picking up their A-level results yesterday, Journalism.co.uk’s Twitter followers (we are @journalismnews) were recommending apps and tools student hacks should know about before they start university.
Here is the list, which is in no particular order and by no means exhaustive:
If you don’t have a Twitter account, ensure you sign up before you start. And if you haven’t got to grips with using it to search for sources, learn how to mine for information. See our list of 10 technical Twitter tips for journalists.
2. Hootsuite / Tweetdeck / Seesmic
You are going to be using Twitter whether or not you are studying a print, broadcast or digital journalism course. In order to create columns of search terms, organise the people you follow into different lists, and perform other tasks, try Tweetdeck, Hootsuite and Seesmic. Find out which you prefer for using Twitter on you desktop.
A widely-used blogging platform. It is worth learning your way around WordPress before the course starts.
Storify allows you to curate and narrate stories using social media. It is less than two years old but has become a verb commonly heard in the newsroom. “Let’s Storify that”, you are likely to hear. Take a look at example Storifys, sign up for a free account and give it a go.
Soundcloud is an audio platform. It is popular for music but is being used by a growing number of news outlets both for recording and sharing interviews and podcasting.
SoundCloud allows you to save your audio privately so you can upload your interviews from your phone and access them later on a computer.
Audioboo also allows you to save and share your sounds and used by many journalists and Stephen Fry is a fan. The free version allows for recordings lasting a maximum of five minutes and all audio must be saved publicly.
8. ScribbleLive / CoverItLive
Ocqur a much newer (and free) liveblogging platform, which is currently available by invitation only.
10. Pocket / Instapaper
Evernote allows you to save notes, voice recordings, photos and more by using its smartphone and web app.
Dropbox allows you to store files in the cloud, providing access between your devices and on your personal and university computers.
13. Google Docs
Google Docs allow you to privately share or publish text documents and spreadsheets. How many news outlets and projects are run on Google Docs, we wonder?
14. Google Reader / Reeder / Push Reader
If you do not currently use RSS feeds to follow news sources, it is time to find out how RSS works. Here’s a guide (from 2005 but still relevant) on getting to grips with RSS in three minutes. It is also worth reading this 2009 post on using RSS and social media for newsgathering.
We suggest you add this Journalism.co.uk RSS feed giving you news on innovations in digital journalism, plus the app of the week for journalists, tool of the week for journalists and tip of the day.
15. Zite, Flipboard, Pulse News, News.me
Zite (Android, iPhone, iPad) and Flipboard (Android, iPad, iPhone) are a just two of many social news reader apps that make surfacing stories based on your social media contacts and interests a joy. See our list of 10 seriously smart RSS readers, social magazines and aggregator apps.
16. Delicious / Pinboard
Delicious and Pinboard are both social bookmarking services. Like Pinterest they allow you to save links and follow other users’ links. Delicious is a favourite of journalists; Pinboard has received much praise but unlike with Delicious you have to pay.
If this then that is a fantastic tool that “puts the internet to work for you”. You can connect your various accounts and set up rules (called recipes) such as if you favourite a tweet with a link, it automatically saves to Delicious. See our 10 ifttt recipes for journalists.
18. Filmic pro
Got an iPhone? Download Filmic Pro and you have a video camera with manual controls.
19. 1st Video
Got an iPhone? Download 1st Video and you have a portable editing suite. It takes a bit of getting used to some of the swipe and pinch gestures. Here is our ‘how to shoot and edit video on an iPhone‘ guide to help.
20. Qik / Bambuser
You are going to need a voice recorder. If you have a smartphone you can download any one of a number of apps. If you have an iPhone, we recommend iSaidWhat?!.
And after you’ve recorded an interview via a voice recorder or Skype (see our 10 fantastic apps, tools and tips for recording audio and find out how to record a Skype call via iPad and iPhone), we recommend you transcribe using a Chrome extension called Transcribe (one of 10 free apps in the Chrome store that journalists should know about).