Android apps for journalists 2012

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I’ve got a bit of recovery time ahead of me after surgery to repair my troublesome foot, during which I can’t sit at a desk. Seemed like a good opportunity to explore some apps for my phone and highlight some that I already use. Apologies in advance for some terse wording, because I’m using…WordPress for Android. Yes! Clean, easy and familiar. Check your stats, moderate comments, create and edit posts — it’s all here.My wishlist for it: smoother scrolling in the edit window and the ability to add a link by search rather than just copy-pasting into the URL field. Oh, and I’ve discovered it’s not super easy to manipulate images here. Maybe better for making drafts or adding updates and moderating comments.

Social

Andmade Share. Once you’ve got a few apps on your phone, your default share list gets pretty long, and invariably there are some things you won’t use very often. Andshare allows you not only to reorganize that share list, but also to share via multiple apps simultaneously, like if you wanted to both tweet and text something, or post to Facebook and save to Evernote. Found this one on Lifehacker.Twitter, Tweetdeck and Twicca. There are many Twitter clients out there, so you’ll have to play with them and see which you like best, but among the most well liked around the web are these three. I’ll contrast them very briefly:If you like your social media simple, the official Twitter for Android app is really quite good these days. It has everything you need, if not everything you want, and it’s pretty attractive.Tweetdeck is what I use on my personal computer, so I’m comfortable with it and have set up columns I like to follow. In addition to my main feed, I can easily scan my coworkers’ latest tweets, local influencers’ latest tweets and #Boulder and #CUBoulder hashtags, which are my paper’s coverage areas. And of course you can manage Facebook and Foursquare from Tweetdeck as well.

Twicca’s the hip choice at the moment for power nerds. It’s probably the most visually attractive Twitter app and can be customized with plug-ins. Here’s Lifehacker’s ode to Twicca and here’s an Android Market Play Store search for plugins (which, as always, you should use with caution).

Foursquare, Tumblr and/or Instagram (when it’s eventually released). With any of them, you can include text, a photo or video, a link and some geographic information. Depending on your social media philosophy, you might want to make one of these well known apps your phone’s HQ. I’m not a big fan of syncing up all of your social accounts, but I don’t get annoyed by reporters having sort of a message of the day — maybe one main photo or link that they send out across several platforms.

For example, if I’m reporting on a presidential debate in Denver, I might take a photo of setup at the venue (or, if I’m lucky, a candidate or subject of the story) and post it to Instagram or a Foursquare check-in that I also tweet. This is sort of the announcement that I’m starting to cover the event, then I’d call it quits on Foursquare for the rest of the evening and focus on Twitter, where people expect a higher volume of content. For my money, it makes sense to pick just one of these three — Foursquare, Tumblr or Instagram — and supplement it with Twitter.

Photo & video
As I write this, there’s a pretty fair amount of speculation that Instagram will be released for Android during South By Southwest Interactive this week or sometime very soon, Instagram for Android was on display at SXSW this week, but it’s still not quite available for public consumption. In the meantime, there are a perfectly good Instagram-like apps for Android users. I just use the default camera and share to various networks from there, but if you’re looking for a separate app, I hear PicPlz is the frontrunner (at least until Instagram, with its large community, branches out). Additionally, Jeanne Brooks, of the Online News Association, has compiled a list of other apps that approximate the functionality of Instagram for Android users.For video, I see people using both Qik, for short videos and live streaming and Tout, which markets itself as the one-click, 15-second video option handled much like Tumblr or Twitter — with “retouting” and all. Here’s a clip on Tout.

Productivity

Evernote for Android. If you don’t already know about Evernote, it’s basically a great information capture system. Take notes, record audio, take a photo and tag it all for easy finding later. Right now, for example, I’m gathering online comment policies, so when I come across one I want to look at later, I hit my menu button and share it to Evermore, tagging it “comment policy.” When I’m ready to write that post, I’ll go into Evernote and pull up that tag and have everything I’ve saved so far.


Great for gathering string in the digital age.

If This Then That. This isn’t an Android app, but a service that can turn you into a power user. Automate an endless number of tasks — like every time you take a photo with your phone, save it to your Dropbox. Or get a save your Foursquare checkins to Google Calendar to keep a log of where you reported. Automatically saved favorited tweets to your Read It Later account. Or automatically tweet weather advisories in your area as they’re announced:

This is a collection of mobile resources from Mike Reilley and the Poynter Institute’s Regina McCombs, Dave Stanton and Damon Kiesow, as well as many others. A list of mobile reporting tools appears at the end of this page. Most apps are tailored to the iPhone but have versions available for many other smart phones, too.

Mobile Industry Reading

Mobile Journalism Tools
A great blog on mobile media resources from Will Sullivan at the Reynolds Institute.

Poynter: 10 Questions to Craft Your Mobile Strategy
From Regina McCombs.

Steve Buttry: Mobile First Strategy
2009′s editor-of-the-year says newsrooms need to think mobile first.

2011: The Year Mobile Takes Over
Blog post with good stats from Jeff Sonderman.

Mobile-First Design Tips
Ideas on how to design for a small screen.

Mashable: Seven Ways Journalists Can Use Foursquare
Great basic tips.

10 Infographics on Mobile
Stats, facts and other resources.

iPhone Photography
TampaBay.com shows us that the iPhone camera can produce great work when put in the right hands.

Tips on Using a Camera Phone

Mashable: Best Android Apps for Photo Editing

Global Mojo
A great mobile blog.

ReadWriteWeb
Mobile and social networking resources galore.

Silicon Alley Insider: Moblie

Reynolds Institute: Mobile Journalism Tools Guide
Great list of resources from Will Sullivan.

GoMo News

The Pragmatic Bookshelf
Books, readings and other resources on building mobile sites (code mostly).

25 Essential iPad Apps for Journalists

Open Buildings: Archiving the World’s Built Environment
Cool site that uses GPS to track where you are and feeds information to you about buildings around you, from an architectural perspective.

Mobile Apps Gallery
Government-created mobile apps on hundreds of topics and services, ranging from weather to public works.

Video: Mobile Journalism 101
Tips from a Newsday reporter.

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