By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF chair & freelance aviation/travel journalist and blogger
As chair of NABJ’s Digital Journalism Task Force and certified digital media geek, I get asked all the time what are the best apps journalists should have on their iPhones. There’s a lot of great stuff out there, and 10 different journalists would give you 10 different apps. Below are my picks, but I have many more apps I love to use.
- AP Stylebook: OK, this puppy costs $24.99, but I shelled out the bucks for this journalists’ bible. The app offers searchable listings for the main, sports, business, punctuation and social media sections, and it allows users to make custom entries and notes. It also lets you bookmark things — like datelines — that you tend to seek over and over.
- Camera +: I thought the iPhone camera app was perfectly fine. Wrong!! I hate to pay for apps, but this has been worth every penny of the $1.99 cost. I can use the camera flash as a continuous light. I can better control and focus my pictures. I can shoot in different modes. And I can automatically post to Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. Cool!
- TIE Photoshop Express and iMovie: You have a cool camera app. Now you need an app to edit and organize your pictures. Photoshop Express is it. You can crop, change the exposure, add colors and tints and upload to your favorite social media outlets. The MovieCamera app just rocks! You can use your flash to light a scene, it has auto focus, exposure and white balance, you can go hi res and HD AND you can see the sound recording levels.
- iTalk: The iPhone comes with a perfectly good audio recorder. But iTalk (the free version) is SO much more!! You get three levels of recording (good, better and best), a huge red record button and it puts your files in alphabetical order. You can email smaller files, but need to download iTalk Sync to transfer larger files to your computer. But if you buy iTalk Pro for $1.99, youcan use Dropbox to transfer your files.
- Audioboo: this app that lets you record up to five minutes of audio and attach a phot, that is easily posted to Twitter, Facebook, Posterous or Tumblr. Some folks even use it for quick podcasts and radio broadcasts.
- Evernote: I’m one of those people who is addicted to the Notes function on my iPhone. But the problem is, Notes is very static and I can’t access it when my phone isn’t around. In comes Evernote. This app is Notes on steroids. I can yype a text note. Clip a web page. Snap a photo. Grab a screenshot. I can snap a pic of a business card. I can store web pages. I can copy notes from Twitter. I could go on, but you get the point. The bonus is that I can access my Evernotes from any device — iPhone, iPad or laptop computer!
- Dragon Go/Dragon Diction: The Dragon Go app lets you speak to find the things you need. This app links you to everything from local businesses to books to maps to weather — all by voice. Keeping it in the family, I also like Dragon Dictation, which records you speaking and allows you to send an email, a tweet or a status update on Facebook.
- Ustream: this app allows me to shoot live video from my iPhone. I can also upload the video to my YouTube channel.
- Town Hall: For 99 cents, you can track current and past members of Congress, including links to official sites, news, Wikipedia, OpenSecrets, VoteSmart and GovTrack.
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary: this app is powered by Dragon Diction, allowing you to do voice searches of words. It will even pronounce the words you look up.