A few months ago, we asked readers to fill out a survey and provide some of their favorite journalism tools.
The good news is, most of them are free and available to anyone and everyone who needs them; the better news is that we have multiple people singing the praises of common tools including Scrivener, Evernote and the omnipresent Google programs.
What tools (apps, programs, etc) do you use to help organize your workflow?
Here, respondents gave us everything from a trusty ol’ reporter notebook to some higher tech, 21st Century capabilities:
Microsoft OneNote was touted by one person: “Catch all notebooks for project memos, form letters, emails on projects, organized by topics. Coupled with the OneNote add-in for Microsoft Outlook to make it easy to move emails from one inbox to project folder.
Trello project boards were upheld for the ability to “keep action items in the proper priority buckets.”
Scrivener and Evernote appeared multiple times in different answers. “I use them to categorize and organize my folders and sub folders for topics and related content towards my true crime newsletter and my blog focused on local independent pop-punk and punk bands.”
PowerPoint Design’s Ideas feature was praised because it “quickly and automatically creates clean, eye-catching layouts from multiple photos, which you can then export for an alternative featured image.”
And sometimes the simplest answers and tools are best: Email inbox organizing tools, from Outlook to Gmail to Chrome extensions. “I keep emails unread until I am ready to act on them. I use the search function to find what I need and slide stuff to save into a special folder.” Another person sang the praises of If This Than That, calling it “simple and streamlined.”
For something different, try using not a tool but the Airplane mode: “To prevent phone call and Face Time disruptions of recordings during an interview. Airplane mode makes certain that calls won’t stop the recording like it usually does.”
What tools (apps, programs, etc.) do you use to help with your writing?
Here again the responses ran the gamut, including nothing in particular but an organized mind to some simple add-ons.
Microsoft Word Fast Fox Text Expander has been praised for allowing a user to “store repetitive text material and recall it into documents or emails with a few keystrokes.”
For those who have to transcribe their work, two suggestions: Temi.com, which offers “automated transcriptions of audio, 10 cents per minute. Not verbatim but 80-90% accurate, with text synch’d to audio.” This helps to provide “a roadmap to a long interview, helping me go back and quickly find the portions I want to transcribe verbatim to use in a story.” The other tool for transcription suggested is the Rev app, which will “translate a recording in less than 24 hours. It’s great if the interview is an hour long or more,” but here, too, there is a fee for service.
Another person really likes Werdsmith, calling it an “easy app to just pull up a blank page for note taking and easy location later.”
Don’t discredit Notes or email, tools so simple they’re built into most phones as a default.
What tools (apps, programs, etc.) do you use to help with research/collecting data?
New entries include Hunter in combination with the LinkedIn Sales Navigator plugin for Chrome and Gmail. Using the two tools in combination can help track and confirm email addresses, while Hunter can help find email addresses which can be verified via LinkedIn. There’s a free version that can do all the work without a payment.
AppleNews+ was suggested for “reading and researching long-form magazine pieces for content and quotes.”
Microsoft Excel was suggested as it assists in “collecting data, creating graphs from that data and it’s easy to copy and paste in other documents.”
One respondent relies on Feedly for managing RSS subscriptions.
Our friends with Pew Research get a nod as well: “One of the best national organizations that collect and observe data.”
What tools (apps, programs, etc.) do you use to help with visualizing data?
Data visualization isn’t quite a big concern or need among our survey respondents yet, but they do have a few suggestions:
What is one piece of technology you can’t live without?
No surprise here: smartphones are top of the heap here. From voice recording apps to digital notepads and email within a few taps, they can do everything and we rely on them to do just that.
Runners up including Adobe Audition, a recorder, SD card adapter for smartphone (“makes it easy to transfer pictures from a DSLR or other camera to a phone for quickly posting high-quality images on social”), and voice dictation.
Did your favorites make the list or are there other tools you’ve used in your journalism work that might be of help to others? Feel free to add to our online resource by taking our online survey. We’re also conducting an online survey on how we can improve our podcast. If you fill out one of our surveys, we’ll send you an It’s All Journalism mug while supplies last.