Feb 072013

iPhone and gear photo by Neal AugensteinThe iPhone has become an essential part of many if not most journalists’ tool kits, in part because so many free or low-cost apps make it easier to report with an iPhone than other smart phones.

We’ve written about some of these apps before, but not lately, and things obviously change fast. So it was a pleasure to see today’s journalism chat on Twitter about iPhone reporting cover so many apps and options in one place.

Marc Blank-Settle of the BBC College of Journalism said he thinks it’s essential to get an XLR-mini adapter like this one so you can use an external microphone. But Neal Augenstein, who reports almost exclusively with his iPhone for WTOP Radio in Washington, DC, says he gets unacceptable digital noise from every external mic he’s tried (and he’s tried many) so he uses the built-in mic with a windscreen.

That said, Augenstein did have some caveats about using the iPhone’s microphone.

Augenstein mic tweet

Augenstein uses Voddio, from Vericorder, for editing and uploading audio and video. He often uploads his stories from Vericorder to Soundcloud, making them easy to share

Other participants in the chat favor Audioboo, but Augenstein says it that because it does not allow for editing he hasn’t found it as useful.

Jeremy Rue of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism likes FiLMiC Pro for video.

Other participants mentioned:

ProCamera, which offers separate focus and exposure control for both photos and videos.

CamScanner, which converts documents to PDFs that can be emailed or uploaded to cloud storage. (GeniusScan is a similar app.)

Dragon Dictation, for transcription. Blank-Settle says it works pretty well if you speak slowly, but it’s not foolproof when it comes to transcribing interviews. Kim Fox of the American University in Cairo recommends the Transcribe plug-in for Chrome, but it’s not clear if it also works on mobile devices.

The BBC has been using Luci to report live from the field via iPhone. Here’s a how-to:

Still want to know more about mobile reporting? Check out this field guide from Berkeley, and follow the iPhone reporting adventures of Neal Augenstein on his Tumblr.

My favorite comment from the Twitter chat was Augenstein’s answer to the question of whether people take reporters seriously when they use just an iPhone. “I work in radio,” he said. “They never took me seriously anyway.”


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