by Leo Wiles
28 February 2018
I just started freelancing and got a new iphone. I’d love to hear which apps everyone uses to make their lives easier. Anna
Smartphone technology and accompanying apps have never been more affordable and varied as they are today – it’s like a virtual Swiss Army Knife of goodies at your fingertips. Most of us would check our social feeds, emails and the latest news headlines before our first cuppa of the day goes cold – but that’s not where its usefulness ends. Your phone also doubles as an alarm, calendar, walkman, torch (or a mirror to help you apply lipstick with the reverse face camera).
But there are countless other ways to turn it into the most versatile journalistic tool too.
Take a picture I admit I bought the iPhone 7 thanks to its dual lenses. Not just to record my family’s antics, but because I sadly did not inherit my Nan’s photographic memory. Instead I rely on my iPhone’s camera to take images of ink cartridges so that I buy the right replacements, people’s business cards, receipts, favourite wine labels, my car park space and level in huge shopping centres and the fridge door shopping list. I’ve even be known to snap my kids when we attend a community event so that if I ever, heaven forbid have to report them missing I have a record of what they are wearing and up to date info that can be distributed. Oh, and of course you can always take a photo of your story’s subject if need be. Just remember instead of trying to filter a shot to make it work, take the time to take a better second image and tap the screen to sharpen before taking.
Easy Release – Model Release App If you intend to publish your interviewees image, especially if you’re including shots of their offspring it’s always a good idea to dot your I’s and cross your t’s with a quick easy to fill out model release form.
Tape a Call If you don’t have a landline anymore and pretty much operate completely on mobile, Tape-A-Call is a no-brainer for interviews. It allows unlimited recordings at a cost of around $14 per year and involves ringing a number to patch you and your interviewee into a conference call before recording. It’s also easy to share digital files to send to your subject or your editor (and it works seamlessly with the app Rev.com if transcribing makes you break into a cold sweat).
Stitcher If you’re crazy about podcasts, this is a great way to stay one step ahead of all the hot new ones and you can create playlists of all your favourite episodes and shows.
VC Audio Pro If your audio requirement is at broadcast level, VC Audio Pro seems to be the audio recording editing app of choice by mobile journos. Not only does it record high quality audio, it’s designed for multi-track editing on your iPhone or iPad. It does not however allow you to add in tracks recorded through other means.
News, Feedly and Flipboard These three are a must for keeping abreast of news headlines and filtering specific stories by topic. Easy to mark articles to read later. And if you’re researching a big story or keeping an eye on a company or person, RSS reader Instapaper, or Pocket are great options for saving links to read later.
CollectMore App We’d hope you’d never have a need for it, but many freelancers swear by this app for chasing late payments (or clients who refuse to pay at all).
Which smartphone apps would you be lost without?