10 Tools Every Journalist Needs in 2017

There's no question we're asking reporters, photographers, anchors and producers to do more during the news gathering process. We're also asking them to connect with viewers more frequently on social and digital media. If they don't streamline the process or take advantage of tools that can make these tasks more manageable, the additional work can be overwhelming. It doesn't have to be.

Here is a list of tools and apps for your team to make not just mobile storytelling easier, but also their entire workflow more efficient. 

Adobe Spark – this free tool helps you create graphics, web stories and animated videos quickly. The app also offers story templates to make this process quicker.

Awesome Voice Recorder – this app has multiple uses. It allows you to record interview audio on your smartphone, which is helpful for logging interviews. It also allows you to record voiceover audio. If you need to send something back to the station, this produces broadcast-quality audio.

Engage by Twitter – this free app enables you to engage with influencers and top interactors, understand the metrics for your profile and dive into the performance of individual tweets. Learn more HERE.

gifs – face it, GIFs are fun. Some consider GIFs to be the most engaging type of visual content on the internet. gifs (yes, lower-case g) is an app that allows you to take any video, live or pre-recorded, and quickly turn it into a GIF. Here’s the cool part: you can link back to your site or social media account to drive traffic back to your digital properties.

GIF TIP: When it comes to GIFs, timing counts. Research has indicated that publishing a GIF within 10 minutes of a moment happening yields 800 percent more engagement than publishing it outside that window. Share that with your sports department. GIFs were made for sports.

RELATED: How to Use Instagram to Engage Your Viewers

IMovie - Apple’s simple editing software is a practical resource for mobile editing. You can add lower-thirds, audio and transitions to create a snackable piece of content or produce longer-form videos. The iMovie app is only $4.99 and works on an iPhone and iPad.

Sodaphonic – an online audio editor that lets you record and edit audio in your web browser.

Twitter Search – Twitter is, at heart, a phenomenal search tool to get a solid understanding of what’s happening now.  Beyond the “finger-on-the-pulse” aspect of the platform, it’s also a good way to crowdsource story ideas and sources. Search.Twitter.com is the url to take advantage of Twitter’s search function. For mobile newsgathering teams, bookmark THIS page and learn how to perform simple searches in Twitter’s search bar. Powerful stuff.  

Videolicious – another popular video creation app that many reporters already use. Its interface is built on the principle of simplicity. Each production is limited to 10 photos or video clips while the videos themselves are limited to 50 seconds, a great “snackable size”.

Vont - this free app allows you to add text on video. It’s great for mobile storytelling.

Simple Twitter image made with Word Swag

Word Swag – this is one of my favorite apps that allows you to add text to images. This $4.99 app offers pre-made templates and offers a variety of photo editing options to create an informative photo that's a 1-step process versus a time-consuming process that has you adding text, saving the photo and adding more text. It also offers background images if you need to simply create a graphic.

RELATED: Keeping Stories Alive

Each of these apps has a learning curve. It will take trial and error to get a solid understanding of these tools. Once you do, however, these apps can become a timesaver and indispensable part of your workflow.

The Takeaway

When it comes to social media, there is something new to learn every day. The key to having success on social is to be consistently open to experimenting with new apps, ideas and strategies. The tools will change. The key principles of telling good stories won't. Successful modern storytellers understand this and will be relevant in 2017 and beyond.