How to work as a mobile journalist

By Mecca Slaughter

What is a smartphone without apps? No this is not a joke, this is real life. In the past 8 years, smartphones have become the norm. We look at them to add and subtract, read books, text our grandmothers and check when that new movie is playing. But for journalists they can be used for much more. 


Val Hoeppner of Val Hoeppner Media, or as she likes to call it, “CEO of Me,” gave a presentation at the 2017 MobileMe&You conference titled, “How to Work as a Mobile Journalist.” The presentation centered around apps that journalists can utilize on their phones in this mobile-led world. She told the audience, “If it doesn’t work on mobile, it doesn’t work.” This means that because we are in the age of the smartphone, it cannot be ignored, it should be utilized as effectively as possible.

The focus should not stay on what we can do today, but what we can achieve tomorrow with the mini-computers we hold in our hands. Journalists have to look toward the future because, as she mentioned, even the smartphones we use now will one day be the like the flip phones our grandparents use.

“The beast is hungry, and I’m not talking about our president, I’m talking about mobile devices,” Hoeppner told the audience. With this she did not just drop the mic and walk away, she continued by showcasing some key apps that journalists can download on their phones and apply to their lives to create a better future for themselves and their work. There were three categories she focused on; mobile video, photojournalism and audio and documentations. The following is a complete list with short descriptions of the most popular ones:

Mobile video

· Movie Pro – This allows you to have a lot of control over your video. The app allows you to listen live to the sound you are recording. With audio being an important aspect of filming, video being able to plug in your headphones and listen can make your job easier in the end. The app costs $4.99.  

·  iMovie – This multitrack editor is best on the iPhone. It is also a free app.  

· Videoshop or Key Master – Used on Android

· CNAMAKER – Great for live stream


· VSCO – A free app both android and iPhone, with this you can post directly from the app to social media

· Filterstorm

· Teripix

Audio and Documentation

· Textgrabber – You can scan documents, edit them digitally and copy and paste.  It does digital text for courts and attorneys, and even translates between languages. It recognizes 60 languages and translates about 40. Cost is $7.99 – $9.99.

·  Tape A Call – Record cell phone calls

·  ITLAK Premium

· Canva – You can create mobile graphics and social media headers with this phone app. It also allows you to create your own geo filter and come up with custom templates.

· Adobe Spark Video – Create video with text from mobile devices or your computer. You can also add voice-over in this easy to use, free app. 

· Reporters Committee First Aid App – You can navigate access issues concerning courts, public records and public meetings, download your state’s laws, or call their hotline and they will argue your case for free. It stays up-to-date with newly passed laws.