However, there are several options for recording phone conversations using the iPhone, Android, a landline or a computer, which will provide radio or podcast-quality audio or for those journalists without shorthand.
Apps for recording are limited because recording calls is illegal in many countries and much of the advice in online forums suggests jail-breaking your phone.
The US offers one iPhone app – called Recorder – that allows you to record outgoing calls.
Reporters in the US also have the option of using Google Voice for recording incoming calls, which is not yet available in the UK.
1. How to: record a phone interview from an iPhone, Android or landline with the option of a three-way call using ipadio
- Sign up for a free ipadio account. (All you pay for is the phone call);
- Call your interviewee;
- Use the + button and dial into ipadio (you will be given a dial in phone number and a pin when you sign up);
- ipadio then records the whole conversation and saves it as an MP3, which you can then download.
Call Trunk captures interviews by recording phone calls and securely storing them on the web. It is a paid for option but not expensive, with calls to a mobile costing around 16 pence a minute. Register with Call Trunk;
- Using Call Trunk's website enter the phone number you are calling from and the one you are calling;
- The interviewer will receive an automated call from Call Trunk and, seconds later, the interviewee will receive a call;
- Your call will be automatically recorded;
- Your recording will be saved as an mp3, which can be download from your Call Trunk account.
- Call the interviewee;
- Press the + button on your iPhone and dial your own phone number;
- Listen to the voicemail message and, after the beep, carry out the interview;
- You will then have your recording in your voicemail;
- To download this you will have to run a mini-jack into recording software, such as free open-source Audacity, and play it back in real time;
- You will be limited by the duration of your interview.
This is one area where Android has the upper hand over iPhone as there is an app that allows you to record a phone interview – and it is free. Record My Call doesn't work on every handset but you will find a full list of compatible phones here.
5. How to: record a phone interview using a landline and an MP3 recorder
You will need to buy an adaptor, which will plug in to your MP3 recorder, such as this one. The basic ones cost less than £20. Simply plug in to your MP3 player and hit record.
6. How to: record an interview using Skype
Skype provides great recording quality, much better using a landline or mobile, and it is free (though you may end up paying for a head set and for one of the recorders).
The other person will need a Skype account and to be in front of a computer. Alternatively you can buy Skype credit and call a phone from your computer at low cost rates. It is a great option for recording international interviews without spending a penny.
You will need to download a recorder for your Mac or PC. A full list of recording options is here.
Alternatively, you can record directly into Audacity, free editing software. You can find out how to record Skype calls in Audacity here.
Free daily newsletter
- Al Jazeera launches live audio streaming service for mobile-first audiences
- How CNN and Washington Post are experimenting with voicemail for audio storytelling
- 12 lessons about live radio and building a relationship with the audience
- WATCH: So you want to be a radio reporter?
- Tip: How to engage with your podcast audience on social media