As a (multimedial) reporter, I’ve been on the road for more than nine years. I have been a game kid and I love to try out new gadgets or apps that make it easier for me to work as a reporter. At the beginning of 2017, I would like you to invite you to have a look at my #homescreen and I would like to introduce a few apps and equipment that make life easier for me.
Although I have – depending on the current job – a DSLR camera (Nikon D300s) or a video camera (Canon EOS C100) or a reasonable audio recording device (Zoom H2n) with me, for fast assignments and everyday work, a few programs have been extremely helpful:
My digital office and memory I would not miss any more and I have also a paid pro-access added – not because of the larger memory, but because I can make pdf files searchable and edit them. In conjunction with the webclipper, Evernote is absolutely essential to me at office organization and research. To keep the overview, I use a fairly simple organizational structure with numbered notebooks (so I keep the overview always sorted:
INBOX / PROJECTS (for larger projects such as lectures, seminars, wedding) / IDEAS AND INSPIRATION (where I save new tools etc) / RESEARCH (su) / TO READ (CONTEMPORARY, With business cards) / MAIL etc.
Especially for me as a journalist I have to keep a clean view of my RESEARCH, where I simple also store a lot briefly find on the net. Therefore, it is important to keep an overview here. So I divided this notebook once more: for each country I am covering I have another notebook or for any bigger subject.
In addition to the desktop programme use of course also the app on the mobile phone, because I can add notes on the run quickly, as well as take photos of documents, which are then stored in text documents directly as a pdf. Because of the very, very good text recognition the pdfs are also super searchable.
I am now totally on automation – which probably contradicts every private sphere, but with this nice program I let different apps and devices communicate with each other. If the weather app i.e. tells you that it rains in the morning, you can have yourself sent an SMS or other message, which tells you to pack the umbrella. There are now countless such “recipes”, as IFTTT calls it. Journalistically I use it however e.g. for saving interesting links on Twitter: if I like them with a heart they are stores in another app and are markes as “to read”. Or appointments that I enter in the calendar are synchronized directly with my digital to do list.
A classic ToDo list for private and professional tasks that I regularly use because I can sync them with IFTTT and therefore have all the important dates in one place.
Pocket is my digital newspaper tray stack. My “Oh, I’ll read that later!” If I go through the various news and newsapps in the morning and want to read something later, I put everything into the pocket, from where I can then forward really interesting texts simply to Evernote.
How much time is actually spent walking through the Twitter or Facebook stream to see what interesting texts the digital friends recommend? This makes Nuzzel now for me. Connected to Twitter and Facebook, it shows me which of the most popular, mostly shared or otherwise important texts / links are up-to-date. You can also subscribe to “Newsletters” by subject area. Again, interesting texts end up in the pocket or at Evernote.
If I want to send photos or videos by mobile phone fast and easy, then I use the two Apps ImageShrink and WeTransfer. The first app is very simple to reduce the file size and via WeTransfer I can send very simple large data packages.
In the fast image processing on the road I rely on Snapseed. The app is very simple and free, and I can edit my pictures in a few seconds with the most important tools (brightness, contrast), cut and send.
Completely new on the mobile phone I have the “reporterapp” Cogi, which I so far only tested in the free version. I find the approach of the app pretty good, to not bring too much material from a press conferences and other appointments or interviews, if it has to go fast. At the beginning of a Presser, for example, I start a new session, the app records the sound, but does not save it. When I think “ah, that is now interesting”, I tell the app to record and it saves the sound recording until I say “stop”. The great thing about this is that the app jumps up to 45 seconds by time shift and also stores the previously mentioned. In addition, I can write small notes and take photos – and later also easily share them.
Anyway: the annoying topic “transliterating interviews”. I’ve been working on it for a long time because I’ve always been looking for a program that automatically transcribes interviews to me (see blog entry here). I am a big fan of collecting a lot of stuff, because you can use important interviews maybe even later again, or if you want to use another aspect of the conversation. But how to search sound recordings? You have to transcribe them! The perfect automatic solution I have not found yet. Therefore, I use Dragon. It is a language control program with which I can also dictate texts to my writing program. When it comes to interviews, I now do it like this: I listen to the interview with headphones and repeat the passages simultaniously. The computer is accustomed to my voice and so I can write the interview, almost in real time, which is an enormous time saving.
Let’s talk about “traveling”. As a reporter – and especially as a correspondent – you are often travelling around the world. Since you can easily lose overview, where you are now and where the direction to your hotel is or when the next flight is leacing from what gate. Tripit helps with the organization. Every booking confirmation from my mail inbox goes directly to the app and is listed there chronologically: when the next flight or conncecting train is leaving, where my hotel is located etc. Helps travel very much to keep track of.
In addition, I also specifically use the one or the other app (eg Tweetdeck for Twitter – but I do not have to say much more) or certain computer programs for spazzy problems (such as data visualization, etc.) but in the above Are the real standard apps I use almost every day.
I also love – depending on the field of application – my “reasonable” equipment. So when I work specifically for the TV or radio, I use of course my DSLR, my video camera or my recording device, but my mobile phone I have always on me. And since the quality is generally excellent (and you are just barely noticeable in difficult situations with a mobile phone), I usually have two or three additional gadgets to improve the recording quality.
For better sound recordings when filming with the mobile phone I use the Edutige EIM-003 for 55 Euros. Sure, it can not keep up with a professional microphone, but is small and improves the sound quality of the mobile phone tremendously. In addition, buy a small angle adapter, so you can record the video where you are pointing with the camera lense.
The handy “tripod”
The Shoulderpod S1 is now available for just over 30 Euros and I always have it with me. For two reasons: once because you can photograph and filme really steady from the hand and second, because thanks to the loop you have the mobile phone always around your wrist, it can neither fall down (into a ravine or a pond) and you don’t use it easily in touristic places or on demonstrations.
The mobile steady cam
Not always with me, but if I know that I want to film somehow longer, then I pack the Z1 Gimbal. The Cell phone is clamped, the device turned on, it tares itself quickly and one can make nice pans or camera rides or just shoot steady pictures with your phone. The handy device tares the slight tremor of the hand in all directions and keeps the camera quiet.
What apps and gadgets do you use? What programs or apps do you miss?