Tools & Tech for Journalists
by Nanda Mohamed
Modern journalists should have their own digital toolbox that helps keep their stories organized and efficient. That is why we compiled a list of digital tools for journalists, to make their daily life easier.
Being a journalist isn’t easy, especially in the age of social media, fake news, and constantly evolving technologies.
Dealing with websites overflowing with information, pitching stories, sourcing quotes, keeping up to date with every new trend, and trying to build stories that people will actually read are just some of the struggles journalists face in their day-to-day work.
As much as it can be true that technology is difficult to deal with, some innovations can bring great advantages to the profession.
Here are 5 tools that journalists can use in their work process.
Digital Health Lab
In the midst of a pandemic, journalists are trying their best to keep up with all the information around it. On top of that, filtering through that information is a constant challenge.
Many reporters have had to adjust to working during lockdown and still staying informed and it has been difficult knowing which sources to trust and how to verify information quickly and reliably. That is why we decided to start this list with the Digital Health Lab tool.
Non-profit tech company Meedan launched a Digital Health Lab to fact-check covid-19 information by an in-house expert team consisting of public health researchers, epidemiologists, and infectious disease specialists. On the website, a FAQ section can be found which should answer most questions. But if you still cannot find what you are looking for, you can also submit questions and they will notify you when your question has been answered.
JSafe, an app launched by The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) to help journalists fight against threats and find the resources they need when they find themselves in threatening situations, is another tool that made our list.
The app is free of charge and can be used on both iOS and Android devices.
Female journalists are increasingly becoming victims of online harassment, be that sexual abuse, life threats, or verbal attacks. This app allows female, female-identifying, and non-binary journalists to report any abuse they face and receive the support they need.
On the app, you can report harassers, providing as much information as you have available, including social media profiles, evidence of abuse, nature of abuse, and additional comments and context. You can also toggle follow-ups on or off.
Nowadays, news articles go hand in hand with visuals and falling for fake news, especially around imagery and photos, has become a real issue. That is why we decided to include TinEye in our list of tools.
TinEye is an image search engine that uses image identification technology instead of keywords, metadata or watermarks.
When you submit an image on the website, the tool will search the web to find out when and where this image was used first. TinEye creates a unique digital signature of the image and matches it with other indexed images.
If all of this was not impressive enough, the tool also can determine whether the image has been digitally tampered with.
A big part of a journalist’s job is finding the contact details of people, and Hunter.io is a tool built specifically for that purpose.
It can search for email addresses attached to a specific domain like that of a company, or even a government agency. It only requires the user to input the URL of the organization where the person being tracked is working and then search for the individual.
If Hunter.io fails to find the email address it will come up with likely alternatives based on the common patterns of email addresses found in that domain. It also has a built-in email verification tool to check if the email address being looked for is working.
Not only that but the tool is also free for up to 100 requests a month. How could we miss adding it on the list?
Last but not least on our list is Otter for transcribing audio files and creating a searchable and hyperlinked transcript.
Otter is available as a web and mobile app and is free to use for up to 600 minutes per month.
The mobile version of the app has the capability to work simultaneously with the phone’s call recorder to transcribe calls in real-time. Imagine conducting an interview over the phone and having the transcript ready within a few minutes after the call.
On top of that, users can click on any word in the searchable text, and the app will play back that part of the recording.