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Five Best Free Apps for Journalists in 2013 | Journalism Journeyman
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Five Best Free Apps for Journalists in 2013

For the journalist on the go, a handy app can be just the saving grace that ensures meeting a timely deadline.  With smartphones becoming ever more impressive with their capabilities, journalists can rely on particular apps while reporting in the field all while maintaining a high level of professional quality work.

While there are an abundance of apps that can be purchased for only a few dollars that can help get the job done, you don’t have to spend a dime to get the story.  There are plenty of reliable apps that make fact checking and verification a breeze while others allow for clear recordings and photos that can stand up to some DSLRs.

I’ve organized a list of my top five apps (in no particular order) that have always proven to be reliable when I’m in the field reporting.  Some may argue that a traditional pencil and a pad of paper are the best set of tools, but smartphones have so much to offer.  Although it’s always a good idea to have something to write with on hand in case of technical difficulties, smartphone apps can be used as a time saving measure that can help you organize all of your info while commuting from place to place.

Check out my list of the best smartphone apps of 2013 to see if any of these tools could help you out.

  1. OneNote is just the app to help you collect all of your thoughts in one place.  This Microsoft Office app can be used to take notes, write your to-dos, or even to start writing out your story.  There are many similar note-taking apps, but I’ve found OneNote to be my personal favorite.
  2. Hootsuite is a great social media tool that allows anyone to schedule out their social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.  In addition, it gives you the opportunity to consolidate all of your social media accounts to see what is going on with the people that you follow.  This tool allows users to maintain a social media presence throughout the day and only takes a few minutes to schedule out your posts each day.
  3. Finding an app that allows for respectable audio recordings can be difficult, especially if you don’t want to spend any money.  Personally, I’ve had a lot of success with iTalk, which allows you to record interviews and ambient sound that is pretty impressive.  When I’m in a pinch and need to gather sound for a radio story, iTalk is a great substitute for a Zoom or Marantz recorder.
  4. Google maps is probably my favorite app of all time.  I’m notoriously bad with directions and have relied on this tool on almost all of my assignments.  It’s a pretty straight forward but has saved my butt on more than one occasion.  If you decide to use any application on this list, Google maps would be the one that I recommend most to help you get to your interviews on time.
  5. Snapseed is a great photo editing tool that doesn’t over complicate the process.  It allows users to easily enhance photos, add effects, and share them with friends.  I’ve used this tool on many occasions and have always been impressed with the high quality of the edits.

While there are plenty of applications that can be handy in a pinch, these five have proven themselves to be consistently reliable, and free to boot.  Check them out on your next assignment to see how they can help you.


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About Sean Flynn

Sean Flynn is a recent graduate from City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. His work has appeared in The Buffalo News, Condé Nast Traveler, The New York Times 'Fort Greene Local', The Daily Meal, and FoxNews.com.

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