Mobile apps keep coming

The smartphone is a journalist’s Swiss Army knife. It’s a camera. Now it’s a voice recorder. Then it’s a note pad, a cloud storage device, even a newspaper.

Smartphones demand journalists learn to operate in a mobile-first mindset. Don’t be surprised when you see CNN reporters using their phone cameras to report from the scene of a story.

In 2013, when this book was launched Poynter made a list of useful iPhone apps for journalists, including   Dropbox and Instapaper. A year later, they are golden oldies. University of Miami student Nick Swyter created an updated list using the new app ThingLink.
  1. Videolicious: Shoot video from a smartphone and select images and videos to play over that recording.
  2. Qwiki: Transforms photos and videos into video slideshows with captions and music.
  3. Banjo: Locates social media posts near breaking news and trending events.
  4. Ustream: Video streaming right from your smartphone to your own online channel.
  5. Camera+: Sophisticates the camera of any smartphone. Adjust focus, exposure and stabilizer settings among many other features.
  6. FiLMiC Pro: Inserts professional quality video camera features into a smartphone. Adjust frame rates, white balance, audio levels and set exposure among many other features.
  7. Watchup: Designs personal daily newscasts from a collection of local, national and international news channels.
  8. iCitizen: Tracks a customized list of political issues, government representatives and allows users to participate in political surveys.
  9. ThingLink: Embed text, YouTube videos and photos as clickable content onto an image.
Assignment for students: Are these apps useful? Do you know better ones? Come up with a better list and add it to the Poynter Institute post.

Assignment for teachers: Review the ideas developed by the Teaching News Terrifically contest in 2012 and 2013 as well as this blog post on 20 tools and apps. Try a few of the TNT lesson ideas. Can they be applied to the newer tools?

Class discussion: Would you use Google Glass? In Chapter One of this book, the author predicts wearable media will be a next-generation news trend. See this National Public Radio report of a documentary filmmaker who captured video of a crime using the camera in his Google glasses. He says they will “revolutionize” citizen journalism. University of Southern California professor Robert Hernandez agrees and even teaches a class on Google Glass journalism. Do you agree? Is privacy an issue?