Building on the video and photo apps recommended in a prior post, the Kiplinger Program has corralled other mobile tools to explore for reporting and storytelling.
For starters, to keep yourself on top of your game, you must have active devices, meaning they are properly charged. Portable options are plentiful these days. You can pick up a 2200 mHa charger for $5. Typically they are good for about 80 to 100 charges.
But, let’s widen our view. Consider some of the following ways to make sure you’re prepared for life beyond the outlet. A good, reliable charger with 300 charges shouldn’t cost more than $50.
Solar chargers are plentiful, so if you plan a beach getaway, this may be the best way to keep powered without being tethered to an outlet. If you want to store energy, carry it along with the suntan lotion and your paperback. Here is a list of the top 30 charging devices as determined by digitaltrends.com. All of these are one-stop shopping on Amazon.
Ever been caught in mid-flight with a depleted cell phone battery? Reach into that “one personal item” you’ve carted onboard and pull out this device. It pulls solar power from your above-cloud location and converts it to a fully charged phone. So you don’t freak out fellow passengers, you might want to let your flight attendant know what this device is before suctioning it to a window.
Steller allows you to combine video, text, audio and photos into a seamless multimedia story using your iPhone, iPad or Android device.
The app lets you pull in video and photos from your camera roll, edit them, write text to accompany them and drop in audio if you like. Steller will create your storybook before your eyes and allow you to share it on social media. Like Instagram and Twitter, you can develop an audience of followers. There is similar app, BonJournal, that looks like Steller and operates similarly but is available only for iOS devices.
Periscope is getting a lot of play from journalists because you can live report and get instant feedback from followers. Periscope’s slogan is “Enjoy the world through someone else’s eyes.” In essence, it’s a live feed direct from you to your audience. Think of it as a live shot on TV with instance audience commentary. Reactions are mixed. With any instant audience connection you will likely get trolls, but mostly, journalists consider it a positive experience.
Don’t wait to learn new tools until you’re in the heat of the moment. Skills are best honed when the pressure is off and you can have fun. Try live reporting your rides at the amusement park, your son’s sandcastle building or another adventure.
TapeACall is one of the best apps for broadcast-quality recordings. Available in 35 languages, the app is used widely internationally. Like other recording apps, it works by merging its access number with your call, which can mean lag time while you’re setting up the merge. However, it does record both incoming and outgoing calls, so you can set up the recording before dialing your source.
It allows you to label recordings, upload them to Google Drive, Evernote or Dropbox and share them via Facebook, Twitter or texts. The app costs $7.99 annually. However, TapeACall doesn’t charge monthly or per-minute fees, so if you’re recording a lot, you’ll probably come out ahead by making the initial purchase.
Lastly, experiment with Dragon Dictation. It’s an easy app that allows you to dictate your thoughts, interviews, notes or story into your cell phone and then watch the sounds translate into text. Clean-up likely will be needed unless you speak with perfect diction. It’s free. Once the text is created, email it to yourself. Upload it on social media or send it off as a text.