Four must-have apps for today’s mobile journalist

Today’s journalists on the forefront of the industry and now learning mobile journalism: using mobile devices like iPhones and iPads to create journalistic work at an equal caliber of traditional journalism. As a student in the mobile section of a class (J2150: Multimedia Journalism) at the University of Missouri, the number one journalism school in the nation, I want to share with you the apps we have used in our class to become the mobile journalists of tomorrow. After each app, I've included some work I have done using each app.


Camera + is the normal iPad camera on steroids. It allows users to adjust exposure and focus from a simple pinch of the fingers. A handy live horizon line that I have never seen on other apps ensures that the photo being taken is level. Exposure is easily adjusted with the swipe of a finger. Another reason it is better than the typical built-in camera is because it allows users to white balance and auto-adjust to different levels of lighting and weather. Photos are saved automatically to the camera roll, allowing for easy organization. Another helpful tool is the burst function: holding down the shutter to take quick, consecutive photos. This is important for capturing motion in a fast-paced scene.

An unedited photo I took in Camera +

An unedited photo I took in Camera +


SnapSeed is a photo editing app that allows users to perform Photoshop-esque edits from a mobile device. The clean and organized interface helps users keep track of each and every edit. There are nine different tools and twelve different filters to give users the variety needed in editing journalistic photos. Aside from typical editing functions like exposure and cropping, SnapSeed also has healing, transforming and a blur to imitate the quality of a traditional DSLR camera.

A photo I edited in SnapSeed to blur everything except for the sticker.

A photo I edited in SnapSeed to blur everything except for the sticker.


Ferrite is the recording app of dreams. The app has different upgrade packages for heavy users, but the free version should suffice for a college student completing assignments. It has in-house editing tracks with a pop-up menu allowing users to cut, copy, paste, delete, split and more from a simple tap. It performs nearly the same functions as Garageband and has a sound quality comparable to other desktop programs. An export function allows users to export straight into another editing app, like Pinnacle Studio, to pair the audio with photos or video. See the next point for an example.


Pinnacle Studio is the ideal app for creating audio slideshows. It is incredibly easy to drop photos in from the camera roll or audio from an app like Ferrite into the timeline and edit from there. The app offers a variety of transitions and titles for any kind of audio slideshow. Although relatively simple, it can create the same time of audio slideshow a desktop app could.

Here is an audio slideshow I produced. The audio was recorded and edited in Ferrite, the photos were taken in Camera + and the project was put together in Pinnacle Studio.

Five tips for journalistic interviews


Study up on your interview subject before even formulating questions. In the interview, you will seem more knowledgeable and professional while also avoiding asking questions that could be answered with a simple Google search or a quick glance at a LinkedIn page.


Mimicking their movements can psychologically make someone more comfortable with you. If they lean forward, you lean forward too. Brandon Stanton, founder of Humans of New York, says it’s all about your energy. If you exude nervousness, so will they. Try your best to be warm and open and listen attentively. Watch this video for other tips from Brandon:



Make sure everything is working before proceeding with your interview asking them to state and spell their name. There is almost nothing worse in journalistic interviews than conducting the entire interview, realizing some of your equipment wasn’t working and needing to ask the interviewee to sit down with you again.


This should come after careful research, as mentioned in Step 1. After your preliminary questions, questions should not be able to be answered with “yes” or “no”. Ask questions that evoke emotion. Ask questions that will help you tell the story. Ask questions that get good quotes and challenge your interviewee to think.


Although you show treat your interviewee with respect and consideration throughout, the end is your final impression and chance to be in their good graces. You never know when you’ll need to reach out to a source again. Thank them for their time and ask if they have anything to add that you didn’t address and if they could point you in the direction of your next steps.