The summer would normally be a great time to be a reporter, commuting into work in the nice weather and enjoying the heat when reporting on your beat. Many of us, however, are still working from home.
Journalism.co.uk rounds up a handful of tools to use whether you are out and about, or still stuck inside.
Every reporter knows what it feels like to be on deadline and struggling to find a reliable interviewee. Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a tool that connects journalists with relevant expert sources and was designed by PR and marketing communications company Cision.
Both journalists and sources can sign up for free. After doing so, journalists can submit "queries" for sources on the platform to respond to. That submission needs to cover all the basic information: publication, an overview of the story, other requirements, desirable expertise, and - who can forget - the deadline.
Submit and wait for a response, and then you go from there. That simple.
Would you like to create some social space for your colleagues while you are all working remotely? Are you a fan of pixelated RPG-style graphics? Gather could be the answer you are looking for.
The online tool allows you to build and customise your own retro video game-style workplace. You create an avatar that you control as you move around the map using the arrow keys on your keyboard and invite your colleagues to join your virtual space.
As you move into other people's private spaces (like virtual work stations) or walk up to them directly, a video chat then boots up where you can start to talk to one another, or if there are multiple people, you can have group chats. You need to give Gather permission to your camera and microphone to enable this.
Gather is free for small groups of up to 25 users and it offers customisable maps, unlimited interactive objects (like games, videos and messages) and password-protected access. The paid tiers allow for more users and email guest lists that you can use for social events, conferences and larger remote teams.
The tried and tested Voice Memos on iPhone is a simple but trusty way to record soundbites from an interview. But we all know the pain of trying to transcribe audio through this method, especially verbatim, as you find yourself skipping back and forth through the clip to get the words right.
This app is very much the successor of the iPhone default memo app. You have a similar menu where you can record clips, with the option to record only speech (to minimise background noise). As you record, you can mark flags, which could denote your interviewee's responses or a particularly juicy quote. Then you have some options in the playback menu like speeding up or slowing down the clip, exporting it, and a big bonus, transcribing the audio to text. It is quite accurate but just go through it carefully to make sure there are no errors.
These are all free features. If you want access to a recording studio where you can edit clips you need to subscribe.
Love them or hate them, you cannot get far on social media without seeing an emoji.
It is easy to add emojis to your tweet if you are using a smartphone where a large menu of hand gestures, faces, food items, flags and so forth is only a few taps away. The trouble is, if you are using a desktop, like on Tweetdeck, you will need to find another way to add emojis to your tweets. You have two options.
There are shortcuts. On Apple Macs, you can press control + command + space. On PC, press: Windows logo key + I. This will bring up your emoji keyboard where you can search for what you need.
Alternatively, you can use online tools such as Emojipedia which not only gives you all the emojis but also all the variety for different devices, social media and web browsers. You can then easily copy and paste your chosen one. 🤓
Live video is a powerful way to connect with your audience. Platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook offer native features to broadcast live but these simple videos often lack features that make your show look professionally produced.
Be.Live is a live-streaming platform designed specifically for Facebook and YouTube, which gives you more customisable features like thematic coloured titles for your guests when they start speaking.
It requires you to sign in with a Facebook or Google account. There, you start to build the layout of your broadcasting screen, choose an output destination and then hit the big live button. It will also field the comments coming in through the chat.
The free version gives you some basic options to work with, including host screen sharing, a cap of two people on the video, the ability to schedule broadcasts, and running crawlers (call-to-actions on the screen). However, you are limited to three shows a month, up to four hours of streaming, your broadcasts are not backed up to a cloud and they are also watermarked. The paid tiers increase the available features, guest capacity and call quality.
What did we miss off? Send us your favourite and essential tools on Twitter @journalismnews