28+ Apps That Make Your Journalist’s Life Easier Than Ever

Lina Timm
Lina Timm
Jul 25, 2016 · 8 min read

Working as a journalists demands so many different tasks: Discovering new topics, doing research and remembering it, using social media, editing photos and videos and organizing all of it. Didn’t you wish now and then there would be an app that makes your work life a lot easier?

Well, there is an app for almost everything. You just have to know which one is best. We asked our Slack community of digital journalists which apps they can recommend. Here they are — 28 apps in five categories to make your life so much better and more efficient.

This article is part of the weekly challenge in our Slack Community “Digital Journalism Rocks”. We started a Slack team for all those who love digital journalism and love to share their knowledge. Interested in joining us? It’s free. And it rocks. digital-journalism.rocks. #djrocks

Reporters Work

1. Timecode Log

It is a simple app that is very helpful if you need to log or take minutes of a press conference and you later want to find that exact soundbite again for video/audio. Everytime you hit “Enter” it automatically writes down the current timecode in HH:MM:SS. You get used to it very fast. A must have for journalists, according to Sebastian Rippert.

2. Tape a Call

A very useful app for recording phone interviews — which ist especially interesting if you don’t have a landline phone anymore but only operate on mobile. It costs 9 Euro in the App Store but is worth that money as it is very useful and convenient according to Gianna Grün. In addition to that there is also an app from Deutschlandradio Kultur that records the voice of the interviewee using his/her phone mic. You can find a download link here…

3. F-Secures Freedome, Signal & iPGMail

One thing that is a must for journalists is secure communications. VPN-Apps like F-Secures Freedome, a Messenger like Signal and a PGP-App like iPGMail are crucial when it comes to working with important sources and whistleblowers. So every journalist should have some of these apps installed.

4. Pushbullet

Pushbullet is very useful for sending links or any sort of media between your phone and browser, while working on stories. You can also type text messages on your laptop and send them via SMS, see your phone’s push notifications on a Mac or send files through it. It is a very powerful tool for anyone who is jumping between devices from time to time.

Staying on top of what’s happening in the world

5. BriefMe

BriefMe is a mobile news ranking app that shows you what the world is reading right now. Its algorithm uses social media signals to determine which stories are the most important ones. So it is a GREAT way to keep up with trending stories!

6. Breaking News

The “Breaking News” app pushes alerts about news events as soon as they happen to your phone by scanning and verifying social media content. The app’s push notifications give you some extra time to prepare news for your website because it adopts the news so fast that you can, in many cases, simply be faster than others in covering news events. BTW: You should really check out their Medium page, too. Find it here: Breaking News.

7. Google News

You might already be familiar with Google News but it is mentioned here because it gives you a very quick overview of what is generally happening in the world from a mix of news sources based on your location/preference AND THEN it gives you all the articles to all the obscure topics that interest you — which is great for catching up on topics that you would otherwise read up on from three to five sites per topic. It has a simple (and a bit ugly) interface using likes and dislikes (important). But the magic clearly happens in the predictive algorithms working in the background here.

8. Yahoo News Digest

Yahoo News Digest is rather useful as a briefer for the day. If you want to be updated with short summaries of the top stories that are going on worldwide right now in a very clean and beautiful interface, Yahoo News Digest is the right app for you.

9. Stitcher

Stitcher is an app that helps you discover exciting podcasts and keep up to date with them. It is very inspiring — so give it a try if you are listening to podcasts on a regular basis and are keen to find out the newest ones before everyone else does.

10. Feedly

Once you start using Feedly you won’t be able to live without it anymore very soon. It is an RSS reader that gives you a quick overview of what other news sites and online publications are writing about on the day. Plus it’s easy to mark articles, that you then want to share with your team. Just awesome!

11. Inoreader

Speaking about RSS readers you should also try Inoreader. Simon, who added this one to our list, calls it his “personal must have app” because it “is just better in every single aspect” than Feedly or any other RSS reader. So you should really give it a try, too — and tell us inside our Slack community which of them you liked more.

12. Pocket

Journalists are always collecting great articles as references and sources for further research. But sometimes it is a messy info overload. That’s where Pocket comes into play: You can save links you want to read later there. It has a neat browser addon, and its Twitter-API and tagging system are the perfect combination to help you organize your private library.

Organize Your Workday


IFTTT enables you to set up customized actions with so called “Receipts”. What is very useful for journalists here is the possibility to get push notifications to your smartphone via IFTTT. For example whenever one of your favorite blogs publishes a new article you get a notification on your smartphone and can access it directly. So you’ll never miss that important update of the company you had to cover again.

14. WorkFlow

WorkFlow is sort of an IFTTT clone but for your phone. For example it allows you to automatically strip URLs found on Twitter down to the core, unshortened version, without all the bad “utm=” stuff. But it holds so much more in store, since it allows you to simply build workflows all by yourself with many different variables. Don’t worry if you’re not into coding, there is not much involved for the easy solutions. And for everything else there are sites where you can find ready made workflows for all kinds of things like downloading Instagram images or YouTube videos or even way more complex processes. There also is a Twitter Channel devoted to posting the best workflows, as well as a WorkFow directory.

15. Evernote

You all know about it and a lot of journalist can’t work without Evernote anymore. You can store your to-dos of the day or any other lists, drafts, thoughts you can think of. You can also bookmark every useful web page you need in one click thanks to the “Evernote Clipper Chrome Extension” and a useful email address that creates a note instantly with anything you put in a mail.

Social Networks

16. Tweetings & 17. Swipe

If you want to substitute the normal Twitter app with another solution you should have a look at Tweetings. Also Fenix and Talon do a very nice job here. There is also a solution for Facebook which is called “Swipe” that is basically a wrapper for the mobile Facebook website — which is way better for your battery and better for your privacy.

18. Nuzzel

Nuzzel is a good way to alert you to the stories everybody was talking about while you’ve been away from Twitter. If you ever go away from Twitter. Strangely enough, from a technical point of view Nuzzel is a Facebook-like algorithm on top of Twitter, using your social graph to filter relevant information. But it works — and it’s actually pretty fast.

19. Snapchat

An app that shouldn’t be missing on this list is Snapchat. Because it’s 2016. It might be a challenge for many journalists, but Snapchat is bringing many trends to global audiences, e.g. vertical video. Also it seems to be the next big thing for the next generation — so if you didn’t give the app a try yet, you should do so right away. It is never to late to join the party.

Photo & Video

20. Snapseed, 21. CensorHD & 22. Hindenburg

You can edit photos with Snapseed, movie clips with iMovie or CensorHD and audio with Hindenburg. And put it all together to eventually create something new (Cameo, Splice, PicPlayPost, Funimate, Stellar). What a brilliant time we are living in.

24. Quik

Quik enables you to make social media friendly videos. It makes the editing process — which can get disastrous on a mobile phone if you us the wrong tools — really easy. You can add filters, text or other effects on your clips in an instant and make stunning short form videos in seconds.

25. SnapMovie

26. Hydra

Hydra lets you take perfect HDR Pictures even in the most difficult light situations which makes it a great companion to the standard iOS Camera app.

27. Enlight

Enlight is such a powerful app when it comes to mobile photo editing. You can make real art out of your photos — or you just add the one or two filters that give them the extra touch of focus for sharing them on Facebook. It does have a few drawbacks, like switching back to default color choices every time you close a tool, but overall it’s one of the most complete image tools for mobile out there.

One more thing…

28. Headspace

And with all the buzz and hectic business, don’t forget: let your mind take a deep breath here and there! Headspace is a brilliant app to learn and keep on practicing meditation. In its pay version (not cheap at all but worth its money!) it even has a three minute mode to fight a meltdown. And we all have met tons of journalists who could use that.

Want to geek out about digital journalism? Join our Slack Community! It’s free. And it rocks. digital-journalism.rocks

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Digital Journalism Rocks

We are a Slack Community that loves digital journalism.

Digital Journalism Rocks

We are a Slack Community that loves digital journalism. Every week we start a challenge among our members to gather their knowledge in tools, best practices, experiments. You can follow our findings here on Medium.

Lina Timm

Written by

Lina Timm

Digital Enthusiast. Journalism and Startups. Program Manager @MediaLabBayern. Founder of digital-journalism.rocks.

Digital Journalism Rocks

We are a Slack Community that loves digital journalism. Every week we start a challenge among our members to gather their knowledge in tools, best practices, experiments. You can follow our findings here on Medium.