Posted in Education, journalism, multimedia journalist, Technology

Carnival of Journalism: What Tools Do You Use To Work Smarter?

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

I am one of those people who love the latest in tech tools, toys, apps and programs that help me do the business of journalism.  Every Friday on this blog, I share some of my favorites as part of the Fast Five series.

Which is why I began to drool when I saw the topic for this month’s Carnival of Journalism: “What are your life hacks, workflows, tips, tools, apps, websites, skills and techniques that allow you to work smarter and more effectively?“

That being said, I’ll narrow my list down to my top five:

  1. Twitter: this program (and its accompanying tools and apps) has become my number one tool to getting the job done.  I use it to post stories, find sources, get story ideas and crowdsource for information.  I use Echofone on my iPhone, UberSocial on my Blackberry and split between TweetDeck and HootSuite on my desktop.  And a bonus for me is both TweetDeck and HootSuite give me access to Facebook, which I don’t use as much as a professional tool.
  2. 10000 Words: this website is at the top of my Google Reader.  Ever since Mark Luckie started it up, it has been my go-to site to keep up with all the latest  in tips, tools, apps, websites specifically targeting journalism.
  3. iPhone 4: my dad bought me the 32 GB version for my birthday last year, and I thank him for it every time we speak.  I can update my WordPress blogs, shoot live video with Ustream, edit video with iMovie, access all my contacts using LinkedIn and Plaxo, take and send pretty good photos, record interviews/podcasts and post them on AudioBoo, I can check the AP Stylebook and upload to my YouTube channel. Oh – I can also make phone calls!
  4. A tie – The Digital Journalist’s Handbook by Mark Luckie and the No-Fear Guide to Multimedia, by Prof. Mindy McAdams: when I started on my road to multimedia nirvana, these two guides were extremely helpful.  Even today, I still look at them as inspirations.
  5. A pad and ink pen: amazingly enough, this is still a very effective tool for getting your stories.  I always have at least one pad and three ink pens on me at all times.

I love all the stuff that has helped this old-school journalist make the transition and keep up (somewhat) with the kids.  But I always emphasize that while you can have all the tools in the world, they aren’t worth a pitcher of warm spit (hat tip to former FDR VP John Nance Garner) if you don’t have the basic writing/reporting/editing skills down pat.  So have fun with the toys, but don’t forget the skills that actually make you a journalist.



Home of the National Association of Black Journalists's (NABJ's) Digital Journalism Task Force

3 thoughts on “Carnival of Journalism: What Tools Do You Use To Work Smarter?

  1. While I always keep my pen and pad, digital camera and voice recorder readily accessible, the one tool that makes reporting easier is my smartphone. The capabilities are endless when it comes to smartphone reporting.

    – I can capture video, take pictures and record audio. (I did my first radio wrap using an i-Phone!)
    – I can make notes and write stories in my Blackberry’s notepad.
    – Now that blog sites like Tumblr and WordPress have phone apps, I can instantly share my stories on various blog platforms.
    – I can easily get on the internet and share breaking news on several social media sites.

    I remember when I did my very first multimedia story. My voice recorder ran out of space and my digital camera died while I was getting my story, but my smartphone saved the day!

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