Five more reporting tools for getting things done
Now that we’re heading into a new presidency, I’ve been thinking a lot about privacy and efficiency. Going forward, I’ll be pursuing national reporting and local investigative reporting projects. But since I’m not on staff, I’ll have to be careful about my time, money and internet activities—not just because of Trump’s disdain for journalists, but also because of the continuous stream of hacking stories. Aside from not clicking on suspicious links and investing in antivirus protection, I want to see what other measures I could take to protect myself and sources.
There’s also a matter of getting things done quickly. Many reporters dread transcribing their recordings. Plus, managing social media for a blog or personal site usually requires a social media assistant. If you missed it, here’s my previous list of useful digital tools. Take a look at this new selection of tools to help navigate the internet privately and speed up tedious tasks:
Hootsuite: This app allows me to manage my social media channels while I’m on the go. If I see a story that might be of interest to my readers, I can copy and paste the link into the app and schedule the post to go out later—all within the app. I can tag other social media accounts in my post, and shrink links for tweets. The best part is the app is free. It’s available on iOS and Android.
Voicebase: I recently found Voicebase via this article on other helpful mobile reporting apps. I can’t stand transcribing long interviews, so the thought of having a low-cost transcription service was too good to pass up. I’ve tested after conducting a recent in-person interview, where the audio was pretty clear except for the hiss of heating vents beneath the conversation. The web app allows you up to 50 hours of free transcriptions, and after that, it’s 2 cents per minute. The machine transcription takes up to two hours to complete depending on the recording length. Of course, the machine is not 100 percent accurate. I had to listen to the recording and correct the audio as I went, but it cut down significantly on the time and effort required to do it myself as well as the cost of having another person transcribe it. Of course, I wouldn’t use this for any sensitive recordings, because it’s not wise to have certain information stored on another company’s servers.
DuckDuckGo: If you’re looking to browse the internet without being monitored, start with this. This search engine lets you search without being tracked. You can switch from your current search engine to DuckDuckGo on your Apple and Android devices or use this URL.
Tor: For any investigative reporters looking for sensitive information on the internet, try the Tor browser. It’s an internet browser that uses the DuckDuckGo search engine and allows you to browse the internet anonymously. Note: when using this browser to log into your email, you’ll probably receive a notification about someone logging into your account from someone else. Don’t worry; it’s simply because the browser is concealing your location.
Signal: You’ve probably already heard of this app, but if not, you should look into it in order to protect sensitive communications. Signal lets you send and receive messages without being monitored by the company thanks to end-to-end encryption. You can do group chats, use your current phone number and contacts, and avoid making a separate login for the app. It’s available on iOS and Android.
What are some of the tools that you use to get stuff done? Leave a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.