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App of the week for journalists: Vyclone, for video from different angles

App of the week: Vyclone

Devices: iPhone

Cost: Free

What is it? Vyclone is an app at that allows up to four phones to record footage of the same event, then automatically stitches snippets of each separate recording together to form a multi-angled video of the same event.

How is it of use to journalists?

This app was nominated by journalism student Sam Kirwan (@Journoable on Twitter) who says Vyclone is a great way of getting footage of a protest or an event (Olympics footage, anyone?) from several angles.

It’s a great way to get up to four separate angles or perspectives on a single event in a quick, easy, user-friendly way, eliminating the need for post-production. Ideal for journalists covering an event as footage can easily be posted to websites and social networks in an instant.

 

Kirwin adds:

It’s quick, easy, and ingenious. Plus Ashton Kutcher invested in it, for what that’s worth! It’s a great app though, ideal for concerts, protests, and so on.

One option users have is to search for other Vyclone users in the same area, creating a multi-angled video with contributions from the crowd.

Have you got a favourite app that you use as a journalist? Fill in this form to nominate an app for Journalism.co.uk’s app of the week for journalists.

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Tool of the week for journalists: WolframAlpha

Tool of the week: WolframAlpha

What is it? WolframAlpha bills itself as “a computational knowledge engine”.

It is like a search engine but where search engines “index web pages, then look for textual matches, then give you lists of links to follow”, WolframAlpha uses “built-in knowledge curated by human experts”.

According to the site, “it works by using its vast store of expert-level knowledge and algorithms to automatically answer questions, do analysis, and generate reports”.

In a video introducing the engine, Stephen Wolfram explains that it’s an “ambitious project that’s just getting started”, and encourages users to expect it to get better with age.

How is it of use to journalists? One of the reasons journalists turn to WolframAlpha rather than Google is to verify information.

For example, in this guide to verifying information from social media, Claire Wardle, director of development and integration at social news agency Storyful, says journalists there use WolframAlpha to ask certain questions, such as the weather in a certain place at a certain time, to verify images or video shared on social media.

In the above example I asked WolframAlpha for the weather in Damascus, Syria. You can also get cleverer and ask a question such as “what was the weather in Islamabad the day Osama bin Laden was killed?

A word of warning: as with all statistics, do cross-check. For example, ask WolframAlpha how many journalists there are in the UK and it encourages you to ask the question around “reporters and correspondents” in the US.

WolframAlpha tells you there were 46,130 reporters and correspondents in the US in 2009 (which seems low, although Jon Slattery’s blog does report a 2012 figure of 40,600 “editors and reporters” in 2012 based on stats from the American Society of News Editors). It gives average salary ($34,360 in 2009) and the median wage yearly change (-$430) and presents you with graphs and charts.

Do you use WolframAlpha as a journalist? Any tips? Share yours in the comments section below.

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App of the week for journalists: Socialcam

July 18th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in App of the Week, Broadcasting

App of the week: Socialcam

Phones: iPhone and Android

Cost: Free

What is it? A video-sharing app that has had 16 million downloads.

How is it of use to journalists? Socialcam is being used by various news outlets, including the Washington Post, which is using the app for its London Olympics coverage.

The app got numerous mentions at Friday’s news:rewired – full stream ahead conference on digital journalism.

  

The app allows journalists to record and share videos and encourage participation by the Socialcam community. For example, the Washington Post is encouraging people to take videos with suggested topics being “a tour of an Olympic venue, an interview with a Londoner, fan footage of an amazing victory, cultural events in London”.

Those who add videos are encouraged to tag them “Washington Post” to alert the news outlet to the submission.

As the name of the app would suggest, one of its strengths is the social aspect, particularly with Facebook sharing, which gives news outlets and journalists yet another way of engaging with the Facebook community.

Have you got a favourite app that you use as a journalist? Fill in this form to nominate an app for Journalism.co.uk’s app of the week for journalists.

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App of week for journalists: Shhmooze, for networking at events

App of the week: Shhmooze

Phones: iPhone

Cost: Free

What is it? An iPhone app for networking at conferences, meetings and events

How is it of use to journalists? This app is for journalists who attend conferences. It’s app of the week this week as we are encouraging delegates to use it at Friday’s news:rewired digital journalism conference.

The app requires you to upload a profile picture (you will need an avatar-type picture on your phone) and you can then search for the event, check-in and see who else has done the same.

 

I first came across it and used it at the Guardian Activate Summit and found it useful.

If you are hosting an event you have to submit details manually and wait for approval.

Have you got a favourite app that you use as a journalist? Fill in this form to nominate an app for Journalism.co.uk’s app of the week for journalists.

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App of the week: 360 Panorama, for ‘multilayered storytelling’

July 4th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in App of the Week, Photography

App of the week: 360 Panorama

Phones: iPhone, iPad, Android

Cost: £0.69

What is it? An app to take panorama photos

How is it of use to journalists? Speaking at the Guardian Activate Summit last week, Wall Street Journal social media editor Neal Mann (@fieldproducer on Twitter) spoke about the potential for the role of “multilayered storytelling” in journalism.

He used the example of how long-form journalism could be accompanied by an additional “layer” of a map showing the location where tweets were posted and photos were taken, as Mann did when sharing updates on a recent trip to Burkina Faso. He also said how journalists are starting to share “background” to the story such as 360 degree panoramas.

If you want to try this out there’s a fantastic app for that. Using the 360 app, simply point the camera and your phone will automatically take a series of pictures and stitch them together in real-time.

 

The app also allows you to add comments and show the location where the panorama picture was taken.

Have you got a favourite app that you use as a journalist? Fill in this form to nominate an app for Journalism.co.uk’s app of the week for journalists.

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App of the week for journalists: Stamped, where Time is sharing film reviews

June 27th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in App of the Week, Freelance

App of the week: Stamped

Devices: iPhone

Cost: Free

What is it? An iPhone app that allows you to share and discover recommendations for films, books, music, restaurants and more.

How is it of use to journalists? This app is one social media managers should be aware of, music journalists and anyone who writes book, film or restaurant reviews.

The app, which launched in November by ex-Google employees, works not by encouraging users to give a restaurant, book, film or track a star rating, but people add a stamp and a line explaining “what makes it stampworthy”.

A handful of news sites have pushed out reviews with links to their sites, including New York Magazine and the Austin Chronicle, which share restaurant reviews, and Time magazine, which is posting its “all-time 100 movies” and recent film reviews.

Stamped users can then comment or like a review, engaging with the news site.

 

During a wider conversation about the use of social media at Time, Cathy Sharick, managing editor of Time.com, told Journalism.co.uk how her team started using Stamped about six weeks ago.

The way we look at new platforms is that we like to get there in early and see what happens.

I think over the next few months they have some things coming out that will probably grow their audience so we want to see where it goes.

A few specialist journalists, including movie critic Peter Travers, share their reviews and engage with users of the network.

Other journalists have also recommended and reviewed products (such as Instapaper, Apple TV and Google Maps).

For more on Stamped see this post on TechCrunch.

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App of the week for journalists: Snapseed, for fast photo tweaking on the fly

June 21st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in App of the Week, Photography

App of the week: Snapseed

Phones: iPhone / iPad

Cost: £2.99

What is it? A photo editing app that allows you to crop, straighten and enhance images from your phone.

How is it of use to journalists? It’s useful to be able to edit images on the fly, whether adding to a blog post, news story or sharing on social media.

The app has functions, including to allow you to crop, sharpen and straighten images; alter brightness, contrast, white balance; change to black and white, and add effects.

 

Snapseed also offers a desktop app (both for Mac and Windows) priced at £13.99 / €15.95.

Have you got a favourite app that you use as a journalist? Fill in this form to nominate an app for Journalism.co.uk’s app of the week for journalists.

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App of the week for journalists: CoveritLive

June 13th, 2012 | 2 Comments | Posted by in App of the Week

App of the week: CoveritLive

Devices: iPhone/iPad, Android

Cost: Free

What is it? An app that allows you to liveblog using the CoveritLive liveblogging platform

Nominated by: @chitchatjourno,

How is it of use to journalists? CoveritLive has been around for a while as a liveblogging platform. It started life at the same time as ScribbleLive and has been joined this year by Ocqur and Gen Live Desk, both newcomers in offering liveblogging tools.

CoveritLive, which recently switched to a paid-only service, is regularly used by journalists, whether reporting from events, elections or conferences.

 

The app, which allows you to add text, photos, audio and video, also allows you to manage comments from readers of the liveblog and add and filter tweets.

Journalism.co.uk has used CoveritLive to cover our news:rewired digital journalism events. We’ve found it works well to use the app in conjunction with a laptop, typing in updates and using the app to post photos, video and audio.

In nominating the app, @ChitChatJourno said:

It’s great for when you want to interact with people live. You can also link your Twitter to the app which makes it great to promote yourself as well.

Have you got a favourite app that you use as a journalist? Fill in this form to nominate an app for Journalism.co.uk’s app of the week for journalists.


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App of week for journalists: WordPress, now with easy comments moderation

May 31st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in App of the Week

App of the week: WordPress

Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android

Cost: Free

What is it? WordPress for iOS has new features, including easy comments moderation, push notifications (for WordPress.com) and improved iPad performance.

How is it of use to journalists? Journalists and bloggers who use WordPress may have dismissed the thought of using it on a phone as it is far less fiddly to write a blog post and add pictures from a desktop.

However, version 3.0 of the iOS app, released last week, has a number of new features worth knowing about.

Perhaps the most useful of these is the ability to moderate comments with a simple swipe gesture.

  

A post introducing the new features describes the “swipe-to-moderate toolbar”.

Swipe over any comment in the comments list to bring up a moderation toolbar – no need to use bulk moderation or go to the comment permalink. It’s right there, and it’s fast. Another nifty change is the highlighting of new comments in the comments list when you’ve refreshed, it makes it easy to see what’s new.

If like this Journalism.co.uk editors’ blog, which runs on WordPress, you get a high volume of comments – most of them spam – this feature that allows you to easily moderate from your phone is a plus.

Bloggers using WordPress.com-hosted blogs have another new feature for comments: push notifications alerting you when a comment has been posted.

The updated version seems more stable on iPad, with 44 bugs and crashes fixed for this release.

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App of the week for journalists: TweetCaster, a Twitter app with souped-up search

App of the week: TweetCaster

Devices: Android, iPhone/iPad, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Bada

Cost: Free (or £2.99 to go ad free)

What is it? TweetCaster has several features not available in Twitter’s own app.

How is it of use to journalists? The Android version of TweetCaster was nominated for app of the week by Richard Kendall, web editor at PeterboroughToday.co.uk, who said:

I have found it faster than Twitter native app and smoother than Tweetdeck with plenty of options for sharing/managing found links and information.

TweetCaster has several functions you won’t find in Twitter’s own app, including a much more powerful search and filter that allows you to search your own timeline, all friends’ tweets or one person’s tweets.

You can also search for a keyword in nearby (geo-located) tweets, something that has obvious possibilities for journalists out on a breaking news story.

 

It also comes with Facebook integration, allows you to see who has re-tweeted a tweet and has a “zip it” function to allow you to mute a keyword, Twitter user or a trending hashtag.

Have you got a favourite app that you use as a journalist? Fill in this form to nominate an app for Journalism.co.uk’s app of the week for journalists.

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