Apps for mobile journalists

By: Hannah Schmidt

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Thompson Foundation
The smartphone has advanced since it first debuted. Now it has greater streaming ability, storage capacity, and photo and video quality.

Journalists now have easier ways to shoot, edit and share content faster than ever and in any situation. As assistant professor Karen Mitchell says, "The best camera you have is the one in your hand."

Here are some of the apps available for mobile journalists to capture and edit audio, photos, and video.

Are we missing one you prefer? Let us know.

Audio apps 


Price: Free

Availability: Android & iOS

What it does: SoundCloud allows you to pause and make minor edits as you record. The app only allows cuts from the front or back of the audio clip, so it's almost essential to edit as you record if you want to cut out a your own voice. When you are finished recording, the app allows you to post the clip to your SoundCloud account and share it on social media platforms.
Screenshot: Voice
Record Pro app

Voice Record Pro 

Price: Free

Availability: iOS

What it does: Voice Record Pro allows you to set your recording quality with preset options, or you can choose the advanced option and set the levels yourself. As you record, you can monitor the audio levels, adjust audio input, and take notes while you record.

The app also only allows you to trim the front and end of an audio clip. The app allows you to save your finished recording to a variety of places: your phone's photo album, Google Drive, DropBox, SkyDrive, or SoundCloud.

Photo apps 


Price: $1.99

Availability: iOS

What it does: The app includes many tools to create high-quality smartphone photos. It allows you to set exposure and focus separately allowing for the lighting not to be determined by the focal point. Camera+ also gives you up to 6 times the zoom than your normal camera. It also has a stabilizer function to steady the shot, a horizon leveler to see if your shot is level and a basic crop tool.

Another feature is the Clarify function which allows you to distinguish what kind of light you are dealing with whether it be sunset, portrait, cloudy or fluorescent. When you are satisfied with your photos, you can share them to Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.


Price: Free

Availability: iOS

What it does: This free version of GorillaCam has a rapid-fire mode so the photographer to take a series of photos, from 3 to 60, in quick succession. It also has a shake-protection function where it will wait until the camera is steady before it takes a photo. The app also has a stop-motion mode where you can capture different frames and then it puts the photos together in a video. For this app, you can tap on any part of the screen to take a picture. This app also shares photos to your social media platforms.

Video apps 

FiLMiC Pro

Price: $4.99

Availability: iOS

What it does: FiLMiC Pro includes features 4 times the zoom and allows you to set the focus, exposure, white balance, audio input and frame rates. It also includes a stabilization function. You can monitor the audio and pause as you record. The app also only allows you to trim your footage from the front or end of the clip. If you want to edit the footage further you will have to use another editing program. You can share clips on social media, or save them to DropBox or your phone.


Price: Free

Availability: iOS

What it does: This app layers your narration with videos or photos from your phone library. Step one asks you to choose photos or videos to include. The app recommends using short, horizontal videos for the best quality.

Screenshot: Videolicious app
Step 2 has you record yourself talking about your story. As you record, select which elements you wish to appear that point in the video. If you do not wish to record yourself and simply want to put the elements together, you can skip the step.

Step three asks you if you want to include music behind the elements. You can choose theme music provided by the app, or music from your own music from your device. If you don't want music, you can skip this step as well.

The app then puts all of the elements together with transitions between each element. The app doesn't allow you to control the type or length of transitions. You can save the video as an SD or HD file, and upload the video to Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

Photo editing apps 

Snapseed & Adobe Photoshop Express

Price: Both free

Availability: Android & iOS

What it does: Each app offers very similar services. You can take photos in the app or select photos from your camera roll to edit. Each app allows you to adjust the exposure, white balance, saturation and contrast in your photo. They both include crop, straighten and rotate tools. Both apps also offer filters and borders. You can share your photos on social media networks.

Here are additional resources on mobile journalism tools:

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