journalism, mobile, photography, tools

Apps for taking control and exporting your iPhone ‘Live Photos’

Have enjoyed using the Live Photos feature on the iPhone (models 6 and above), creating short little animated clips alongside a photo still.

There’s only one main drawback, in that outside of Apple’s world, you can’t simply download the file as video, they don’t appear as video files on your device. A minor irritation of being locked into Apple’s world. I see great use for journalism as well as family events.

But a few weeks ago I spotted an app Motion Stills (A Google creation) for outputting them as video files or looping GIFs, also the ability to compile multiple clips into a longer clips. Get Motion Stills here from iTunes.

A post inspired by video storytelling expert Robb Montgomeryhighlighting a similar appwhich lets you easily export the Live Photo files as videos, GIFs and grab frames from the clips – plus it’s only a 6MB file size, compared to Motion Stills 33MB.

But both are handy tools if you are using LPs regularly.

journalism, mobile, news, publishing, socialmedia

The newsroom strategy of the now

Never mind a vision of a newsroom of the future, here’s The Telegraph’s latest digital strategy, via @theguardian.

Regardless of anything else the Telegraph has done or is doing, the strategy as described makes sense in a stripped-down newsroom environment.

It highlights a streamlined approach to production and workflows, moving “beyond the concept of “digital first”:

“The engine driving the content decisions is the 80 million worldwide unique users per month. But readers of the newspaper will not notice a difference, the paper is still a crown jewel.”

Staff have been told to embrace a new editorial ethos with five main elements:

  1. One integrated print/digital newsroom.
  2. Two shifts worked each day, one from 6am and one ending at midnight.
  3. Three speeds to work at, from fast for breaking news to slower for a feature.
  4. Four key skills for each journalist: social, video, analytics and search engine optimisation [SEO].
  5. Five deliverable ideas required from each desk each day: including one video, one shareable and one interactive

Overall, I don’t see an issue with this as a set of guidelines on how a newsroom should be forging forwards in 2014.

The shift patterns – an open-ended discussion, dependent on news publication/resource etc. – apart the rest appears a realistic appraisal of how news content should be produced in reaction to how news consumers are hungrily consuming. So my take on the above list, in order:

  • 1. Content creation shouldn’t be split between teams, content is content regardless of publishing platform, seems inefficient to have multiple teams working independently on content.
  • 2. Technically you could argue journalists are somewhat on duty 24/7 in the social sphere – clearly unworkable and unmanageable long-term, but flexibility in working practices has to be acknowledged. The news cycle doesn’t/shouldn’t revolve around print deadlines any more – at least as little as possible given legacy media production needs.
  • 3. Different types of story need a different set of technical skills, quicker reaction to in depth research, all clearly underpinned by journalistic standards, ethics and quality, see @martinbelam on this: Oh my word the Telegraph has given up on reporting the news!.
  • 4. Four key skills:
  • Social is a given for news publishing, both as a means of finding, searching for news, engaging with the audience and pushing out content and links to content;
  • video  is an accessible means of content and can’t be ignored, but tools and quality control important;
  • analytics are vital, even simple page view figures give an idea of the potential audience or interest or success of publishing process;
  • SEO follows as a basic requirement, understanding how to write for digital platforms, be it hard news, features, and sharing on different social platforms – all require SEO understanding.
  • 5. Targets are always decisive for content creation outside of print, the digital world can take endless content, but some sort of guide for journalists even if not 100% strict is required.

Following up on the issue of targets:

Further reading:

Jasper Jackson at The Media Briefing asked: Can the Telegraph build a digital business model to match its new editorial focus?

These editorial changes look set to put the Telegraph on the right path editorially, but it will be interesting to see if the newspaper can come up with a healthy digital business model to match.

journalism, mobile

Useful free Android apps for journalists

Updated 16th November 2012:  Some useful applications to get started creating, broadcasting, storing and sharing content from an Android smartphone for journalists (I have experience of the Sony Xperia Neo (don’t laugh) and the HTC One S), many have Apple iOS counterparts: any comments, corrections, suggestions appreciated – @richardkendall

General tools

  • Firstly, depending on your device, I recommend installing the Ice Cream Sandwich Keyboard, does a nice job remembering words and works pretty efficiently
  • Dropbox –  for storing, sending and sharing files securely. Particularly photos galleries.
  • or Google Drive –  (used to be Google Docs) open/write/share documents using a Google account
  • Alternatively for viewing office docs: OfficeSuite Viewer 6 and Adobe PDF Reader
  • Google Translate
  • Google Mail – is a relatively pleasant experience on the HTC/Xperia
  • Tasks/to-dos: Astrid Task/to-do lists -, can sync with Google Tasks, recently updated, still fairly intuitive or Wunderlist, for task organising,  (thanks @chrismccormack1)
  • Evernote – is an impressive note taking/storing tool, with addons for taking audio notes and drawings, and like Dropbox you can sync your files across devices.
  • Power Note –  for saving and syncing bookmarks with your account.
  • For articles saved, or for saving on the move, Pocket -formerly Read It Later does a good job of dispalying articles efficiently and syncs across devices
  • The Met Office Weather Application is pretty good for latest forecast and warnings, you can store multiple locations
  • WiFi Finder for scanning for nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and public Wi-Fi

Travel and maps


  • Opera Mini  is the best browser I’ve used, it’s pretty quick, enable sending/sharing links etc.
  • Big names Firefox  and Chrome have their own decent Android versions now, and the Dolphin Browser is a strong alternative. All would do a decent job, but I’ve found Opera the most assured.

Social media

  • Twitter‘s own native app is not the worst option, but limited for advanced users.
  • Then there’s the official Twitter alternative, Tweetdeck where you can add multiple streams as columns
  • Hootsuite (which has recently acquired Seesmic) works pretty well as an unofficial alternative and includes Facebook, plus you can schedule tweets as with the desktop/browser version – unlike the Tweetdeck app
  • I’ve also tried TweetCaster  which has plenty of options for sharing/managing found links and information
  • Banjo –  taps into the most popular social networks (includes Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram) around your location (via @markwoodward)
  • Also an additional accessory is Buffer for timing future tweets* (*although this should be used sparingly and wisely)


Because you never know when you might need it: First aid by British Red Cross or St John Ambulance First Aid

And most importantly, for a break or time-killer, the addictive Pocket Soccer

By no means an exhaustive list, I don’t claim to have used every app in depth, but they all have high ratings and/or are backed by reputable developers/brands.

Further reading

Originally published 31 August, 2011