- From monitoring tools to writing assistants and photo editing software, there are a couple of musts that make up any good journalist's toolkit.
- In this roundup, we will introduce you to the best journalistic software so that you can grab that new story before anyone else does.
- Discover more similar solutions in our Journalism Software page.
- Get the best of the best when it comes to digital tools that can enhance your work from our Software Hub.
In this digital age, you don’t need an exorbitantly priced program to become a top-tier journalist. Not every person can afford the Adobe Creative Suites, but that does not mean that you should abandon multimedia journalism. The web is crammed with Adobe alternatives and other programs that fit perfectly well in a journalist’s toolkit.
Some of these tools are available free of charge and keep the journalist current with every new info. Others enhance the journalist’s security and privacy by concealing their trails. In this roundup, we will introduce you to the best journalistic software so can stay on top of the game as a journalist.
A journalist’s work is as complex as they get and photo editing takes a great deal of their time. As the world’s most popular photo editing software, Adobe Photoshop is the natural choice for the job and it should not miss from any professional’s kit.
Its complex, yet easy-to-use toolset makes everyday edits like cutting, cropping, and corrections simple and accessible.
Speaking about accessibility, another important feature is its cross-platform functionality. Since journalists are always on the road (and they should if they are to catch a good story before anyone else), starting a project on the desktop and continuing it from the iPad comes in handy. This is just another way in which Adobe Photoshop makes itself useful.
Let’s quickly go through its key features:
- Lens Blur and Improved Content-Aware Fill
- Object Selection Tool (to create fast and precise selections)
- Enhanced Transform Warp (to add control points anywhere or divide your image with a customizable grid)
- Improved Properties panel with convenient Quick Actions
- Modern presets (easier, more intuitive, and better organized)
Grammarly is probably the best-known program for writing. Its browser plugin corrects grammar mistakes and bad phrasing.
It is extremely helpful when you need to recheck a text written very quickly or when you need to edit somebody’s work. It also provides you synonyms so you could diversify your texts.
This tool is the first in the list as a journalist needs, first of all, to write something from time to time and when this needs to be done in a short time – Grammarly is his best friend.
It is not so complicated to use it – Install it on your browser, restart the browser and you will have access to the best grammar-checking program available for free.
With the advent of Adobe Photoshop image editing software, it can be very hard to determine whether an image is real. As a journalist, it’s of paramount importance that all images be real and credible.
And since some social media fanatics are very good at making up rumors and manipulating photos, a tool like TinEye becomes indispensable in a journalist’s toolkit.
TinEye scours the web and tells you where the image was first published. So if you are not sure whether the image you have is for that mysterious animal that was caught in the sea, TinEye can help you figure it out.
The tool is free to use for non-commercial purposes.
To protect your privacy, it’s advisable to use Tor browser. Tor which stands for The Onion Router is a protocol that lets you hide your location, IP address, and any other data that might be used to identify you.
As a journalist, you will need the Tor browser to research state propaganda and to file stories with non-state controlled media without having to worry about the consequences of digging too deep as Tor will keep your identity anonymous.
⇒ Get Tor
Journalists are adept researchers, and any tool that widens the journalist’s angle of research can prove to be very useful. And that’s what Echosec does. Echosec is a journalistic software that can be used to search for geolocated posts on social media.
This amazing tool lets you draw a shape around a certain geographical area on a map and the software scans for what is trending and displays all the tweets that have been posted to that location within a certain period of time.
When you subscribe to the premium package, the tool further widens the scan to include YouTube videos and news posted on other social platforms within that region.
FiLMiC Pro is a mobile app that allows journalists to shoot videos like pros. The app allows journalists to shoot videos with manual controls like white balance, exposure, and focus.
This app brings the high-end features you find in digital cameras right to your smartphone. You can even monitor your audio levels using headphones and also shoot at various frame rates.
FiLMiC Pro supports favorites like Facebook, Pinterest, Vimeo, iMovie, Dropbox, and more.
Influence Explorer is one of the most used tools by journalists and continues to top the lists of the best journalistic software.
Influence Explorer is the central source of information on money and a country’s political influence. It can be a very useful tool especially when you want to get federal campaign finance data for candidates in an election.
You can use its robust search functionality to monitor spending by companies, industries, or even by politicians.
For a journalist to write informative content, they must stay current with changes and news in the world. They do not run a generalized blind search but knows who to target and where to get the right information.
To do so, they use specialized journalistic software such as the Website Watcher that keep them abreast of what is happening in the niche of their choice.
This tool automates the search process by monitoring your chosen websites and sends you instant updates when the sites are updated with new information.
This way, you don’t have to keep on checking and refreshing the web page from time to time.
The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is the perfect alternative to Adobe Photoshop. Released under the GNU philosophy of free software ownership, GIMP is your perfect tool as a journalist if you do a lot of photo editing.
You can use it for creating graphics, resizing, and manipulating photographs and videos for publication.
GIMP gives users the flexibility and power to transform images into remarkable creations. It can also be used to create graphic design elements, mockups, and icons.
⇒ Get GIMP
Created by a journalist who wanted to simplify the boring process of transcription, oTranscribe is a lifesaver for many journalists and writers.
This tool has an audio player and text editor. The browser-based program allows users to upload the audio and use the keyboard keys to pause, play, rewind, or slow down the audio.
All you have to do is drop your sound file into the app and let the software do the transcription. oTranscribe is a handy tool to use and a must-have tool for journalists who handle multiple interviews.
There are more powerful journalistic tools that you can use to climb the ladder but some of these tools will cost you a penny. So why go for the expensive software while the web has a universe of similar tools available for free.
Besides, even those who remove mountains began by picking small stones.
So whether you are a novice journalist en route to becoming the next CNN reporter or a fully professional journalist, you will need some of these tools to polish your work.
Do you have a favorite tool for journalists that you feel deserve a place on the list? Sound off in the comments section below.
FAQ: Learn more about journalism software
- What software do journalists use?
A journalist’s toolkit consists of various software covering a wide range of capacities from photo editing (Adobe Photoshop), text editors (Grammarly), security tools (like Tor browser), monitoring tools (like Website Watcher) to research tools (like Echosec).
- What are the tools of online journalism?
While there are many different options, Adobe Sparks’s Post feature is the best suited for online journalism thanks to its ease of use when creating social graphics, and short videos that can be quickly resized to fit any social media site or blog.
- What are the softwares used in research?
Thorough research that is well done implies a plethora of tools spread across different fields such as statistics tools, academic writing software, plagiarism detection programs, and platforms for tasks management and organization.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.