When more than 50 percent of your audience says it accesses news on mobile, it’s time to listen up. Especially, when almost a quarter of them say they get news via a cellphone or tablet.
However, despite what Pew Research Center’s 2014 State of the Media reported, not all journalists and newsrooms have embraced the importance and benefits of mobile devices.
“People have crafted their own recipe for journalism and it works form,” said Poynter’s Ren LaForme (@itsren) on last week’s NewsU webinar Tools for Mobile Journalism 2015. “Why change a good thing?”
Over the course of the hour, though, LaForme built a powerful case for mobile newsgathering and reporting.
Besides the fact that your audience is already there, LaForme and host Lauren Klinger’s (@laurenklinger) top three reasons for adding mobile to your journalism toolbox are:
- Your phone or tablets puts “a supercomputer, HD video/many-megapixel camera and Internet machine in your pocket.”
- More intuitive apps now exist that make it easy for journalists to do things like video editing and publishing without a lot of technical skills.
- Jobs in digital reporting are on the rise, and understanding mobile is a requirement for many of them.
The problem is there are hundreds of thousands of apps out there. It can be time consuming to dig through them, and time is not a luxury most journalists have.
Fortunately, LaForme’s done the legwork for us — pulling together a comprehensive list of mobile tools for sourcing, reporting, multimedia, publishing, and security.
In his webinar, he walked through each one, covering what it does, how and why to use it, the cost, and the devices it’s available on. The fact that he managed to fit it all in in a little over an hour was a feat.
You’ll find our five favorites below. If you missed Poynter’s webinar, but would like to hear his full list of recommendations, a recording is available.
1. Cogi: How many times have you missed an awesome quote because you weren’t recording the conversation? Or what about the times you’ve recorded two hours of an interview to only get a minute’s worth of quotes out of it?
Fortunately, things are about to get a whole lot easier thanks to Cogi. As if by magic (not really – just tech), the Cogi app can go back a few minutes in time and record audio you “missed.”
If you’re going to be at something where you might need a soundbite, open up the Cogi app and start a new session. When something noteworthy is said, hit record.
The app will then go back and save that portion of the session. While the basic app is free to use, other features such as note transcription are available at a cost.
2. CO Everywhere: If you use social media as part of your newsgathering, CO Everywhere is a helpful tool on the go. The free app taps into geotagging to show you multimedia, tweets, events, and other updates happening in a particular area.
Set a boundary around a certain area and then monitor for possible story tips. LaForme used the example of circling a government building to see what’s being tweeted near the location.
It’s also useful for verifying whether people who are tweeting something on the scene are actually there. “It’s difficult to fake geotagging,” says LaForme.
3. Ad Hawk: Although this app may only be useful for election season, we’re adding it to the list because it provides an excellent public service (and has a great name!).
Created by the Sunlight Foundation, Ad Hawk is the political ad version of Shazam. Once your phone listens to an ad, the app analyzes the audio and identifies who is behind it.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the advertising hitting the airwaves during election season. Ad Hawk gives valuable background on the candidates, super PACs, and other issues being covered in the ads airing on TV and radio.
4. WeVideo: Poynter’s webinar covered many apps that will transform your smartphone into a broadcast-ready video camera and editing studio.
Some of the stand-outs included Videolicious, Vyclone, and Hyperlapse. However, my personal favorite was WeVideo because of its availability on Android, iOS, and desktop.
WeVideo makes it easy to edit, collaborate, and share your videos across any device. Whether you want to do it all on your phone or move from your phone to your desktop, WeVideo gives you flexibility. It also gives users one-click publishing and simultaneous distribution via multiple web and social platforms.
Want to boost your audience engagement? WeVideo also allows users to load brand content and offer it to their fans for remixing.
Although a basic version is available for free, WeVideo offers tiers for personal and business use.
5. AudioBoom: Social media is a visual-friendly format, but what can you do if you have audio you want to share?
Upload or create a recording on AudioBoom, then add an image and description and AudioBoom transforms it into a social-ready embed. Share it on Twitter and Facebook or add it to your site.
The free version of AudioBoom gives you up to 10 minutes of recording time per clip, while upgrading to Plus gives you up to 60 minutes per recording and other podcasting benefits.
From newsgathering and publishing to audience engagement, Poynter’s mobile tools webinar opened up a whole new level of productivity for journalists. However, LaForme suggested journalists use these apps with caution.
Mobile journalism tools are like Batman’s utility belt, he said. Although Batarangs and grappling guns are awesome, Bruce Wayne is still Batman if you take them away. The same goes for journalists.
Regardless of the tools you decide to use, you still must put in the time and do the work. You, your skills, and expertise make you a journalist. Mobile apps will only build on that.
Amanda Hicken is a media relations manager at PR Newswire. Follow her on Twitter @ADHicken for tweets about the media, Cleveland, and comic books.