• Motorburn
      Because cars are gadgets
    • Gearburn
      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
    • Ventureburn
      Startup news for emerging markets
    • Jobsburn
      Digital industry jobs for the anti 9 to 5!

Android apps: ‘Manna from heaven’ for writers on the road

Not too long ago, journalists rushed off to a story armed only with pen and paper. They gathered information and scribbled down notes before rushing back to the office to write it up and submit the story.

The advent of the internet changed everything about how the news industry operated. That transformation has been well-documented. In 2011 the development of mobile apps is heralding a second revolution as the web goes mobile, and smartphones make the life of a journalist simpler, while greatly increasing the number of responsibilities that journalists have.

The role of a journalist has changed. Now you must be jack of all trades; combining print with audio and video, and making sure that stories can be published using various platforms. On top of this, writers not only publish stories in the mainstream media, but also use social media to publish or enlarge their audience.

Google’s Android Market has a number of apps that are extremely handy for travelling journalists.

I am working on a Samsung Galaxy cell phone, which is already loaded with software, but to get the most benefit I needed some extras. Making notes or writings stories with the standard applications on the phone is tiresome. Play around with Evernote, which is a note taking system; each note can be given a tag and photos or audio files can be added.

Adding multimedia to your stories is a cinch with Android. Sending them to Flickr or Picasa is fast and easy, if you want to do some editing to your pictures, then Picsay is an interesting application. Qik is perfect for publishing your video’s, while Audio Boo is quick and easy to publish audio quotes.
If you want to share your stories with your laptop or desktop, Dropbox is an incredibly useful tool.

Apps to co-ordinate with social media are particularly strong on Android. Facebook, WordPress and the Twitter client Twidroyd are no trouble to install and to use.

Web2.0 brought real-time communication to the web. Now all these goodies are available for mobile as well. Whatsapp (a smart phone messenger) and Skype are useful, although Skype still doesn’t sync perfectly across all versions of Android. CertainTeed is a QR reader and is helpful for connecting to web pages by scanning the image. This app helps you avoid a lot of complicated typing.

Writers on the road often need to know what the weather is going to do. There are many good weather apps out there. Personally, I installed Weather. A currency converter is unavoidable when you are travelling across borders, but it is not only the currency but also language that can be an obstacle. Google Translate gives me at least a clue of how to respond.


Nearly all media establishments are publishing apps to download their news on the phone. Most of them are still for free. Browse the Android market to find your favourite publications. Newspapers are discovering a new way to make money, by either selling the apps for a small amount to download the content, or giving the app away for free but with pay per view restrictions.

Author | Peter Verweij

Peter Verweij
After 30 years of lecturing and training at the School of Journalism at Utrecht in journalism, politics and new media, Peter Verweij, started in 2005 his own company D3-Media, which focuses on the following areas: Production of journalistic content for multimedia media and blogs; Research in the area... More
  • James

    Love the link to a warez site for “Production on the go” (Documents to Go?)