Tablet Insight: Getting the Scoop in Journalism and Reporting

Journalism tablet insight

From live interviews on the street, editing in the newsroom and sharing pieces, tablets have entered the journalism in sometimes predictable and other times unforeseeable ways. But are they really revolutionary? This week’s column takes a peek into how tablets are making a name for themselves in the industry built on paperboys.

Breaking News

For ages, journalists and armchair news enthusiasts have relied on police scanners to keep on top of what is happening in their local area. With a new app for the Apple iPad, the 5-0 Radio HD Police Scanner, you can listen in on the latest police calls wherever you are. Combined with the growing availability of WiFi and 3G connectivity, you no longer have to be glued to the radio-like analog police scanner. Even if you are not a journalist, this is a great app for hearing about what’s happening—works especially great in the car, so check out one of tablet car cases to get the full effect. Bracketron and the Joy Factory each make affordable and great-looking mounts for your dashboard or in the back seat.

Police Scanner App

Recording the Story

Getting all the “who, what, when, where, why” facts in place requires quite a lot of organization, especially when you are covering many sides to one issue. An app that has been popular within many circles, not only journalists, is Evernote. Whether writing your own notes or simply taking pictures of them, Evernote keeps it all together. The app has been named as the top iPad app on many lists, it is also a plus for journalists who keep piles of notes and post-its and would ordinarily have no way or time to organize them. Evernote lets you access notes and scribbles from your iPad and even other devices. In order to get the best “on the go” fact scribbling, I’d suggest taking a look at tablet flip cases , which give you the old time reporting feel. The flip style can also act as a stand if you want to later type up your notes at a desktop.

Evernote app

Within any journalist’s mixbag of tricks is a well-crafted interviewing technique. While a tablet won’t help you pose interesting leading questions, it will help in recording your audio. There are many apps out there for this, but one that many journalists have taken a shine to is the Quickvoice. Clearly an advantage here versus older forms of technology (eg, mini disc, Dictaphone) is the easy transfer to computer for transcription or uploading a sound bite to the web. The best tablet case for this stage is the Griffin Airstrap for Apple iPad 2. With the Airstrap you can hold and adjust the Apple iPad 2’s mic comfortably while making an interview.

Quickvoice app

Sharing the Story

When reporters are breaking that story on the steps of the capitol or at a crime scene, sometimes the pressure to get all the facts straight live on TV is a difficult task. That is where the i-Prompter comes in. This kit lets your iPad function as a teleprompter helping on air, live reporting and more. You can also control preferences such as font, size, background, loop, and speed. Plus, the i-Prompter comes with an ‘i-controller’ mount that helps to set up your iPad as a teleprompter for use almost anywhere.

i-Prompter app

Most of the apps here, and even the way the tablets are being used, are 21st century innovations of older ways of getting the job done. For tablets to truly make there mark in the world of journalism—rather than just being a novelty—then we’ll have to wait for the next ingenious innovator who gets one of these in their hands. While 2011 saw social media and smartphones trigger and spread revolutions, riots and occupations across the globe, what will the tablet offer?

Tablet Insight is a weekly column by Thomas Andersen that focuses on the innovative tablet uses and considers what is the most compatible and necessary tablet case.
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