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A screenshot of FiLMiC Pro

With more and more journalists using iPhone to record video for broadcasting online or on television, I thought it was a good time to look at the an app that is said to be the industry leader. FiLMiC pro is recommended by the website and mobile journalism trainer Glen Mulcahy, among others. The app itself includes some useful pointers about how to use it but you can find some good tips on the developer’s homepage.

You can read my story here: FiLMiC Pro – review: the Journalist May / June


This spring has seen a mix of successes and failures for programmers hoping to automise elements of journalism.

In mid-March the LA Times broke the news of an earthquake in the city within minutes of it taking place with a story written by a robot, but published by a human.

However, the Guardian’s experiment was not as successful as its own robot generated story came up with something barely intelligible.

My column reflected that this was good news for journalists on the whole, although I concede there may be times when robot journalism might help us rather than undermine us. You can read the story here:

Other useful links:

When Robot journalism goes wrong, example 1:

When Robot journalism goes wrong, example 2:


Livescribe 3 Pen Notebook App

One of the technology trends that media experts predicted for 2014 is a shift away from mainstream social networks towards private apps like Snapchat and Whatsapp, which are also known as chat apps. My column focused on the challenge for journalists who are going to have to find new ways of connecting with these audiences either for newsgathering or sharing news with them. You can read the column here.

I also reviewed the latest version of the Livescribe smartpen. I tried the pen out in several situations and it worked well in a lecture theatre, a meeting room and in a phone interview. The recordings synced well with the penstrokes on the e-paper. However, regrettably, I was pressed for time and was not able to explore another element of this pen – the handwriting transcription feature – before my deadline.

Another function of the LiveScribe app that I missed first time around was the ability to take pictures which can sit amongst your notes. You can even scrawl comments on them which can be useful for explaining what appears in an image.

But ultimately, these features don’t make a significant difference to my view of the product, which I was fairly impressed with. However, they are worth considering if you are thinking of investing in a LiveScribe pen.

Here are links to some articles I found useful when researching this column:

The Journalist, March / April 2014, private social networks

Chat apps and the future of news, BBC News

Snaps from last night, Nieman Journalism Lab

 The Journalist, March / April 2014, LiveScribe

Livescribe month my first technology column was published in the Journalist magazine – you can download it here (December 2012 / January 2013).

I subsequently worked out that it was only my third byline in print this year, showing the extent I have shifted over to online platforms. Perhaps this is why it felt a bit odd not having to link to my research as I would normally do as an online journalist.

I am now looking ahead to the next column and have the nagging thought that the difficulty of linking in print is a real disadvantage with a tech column. As a result, I have decided to start linking to some of the websites I found useful while researching my column via this blog.

Here are some links that relate to one of the articles in my last column.

The Journalist, December 2012/ January 2013, smartphone recording

The Best Voice Recording App for iPhone, Lifehacker

iOS apps reviewed: Voice Memos (no link available for stock app), Audio Memos

The Best Voice Recording App for Android, Lifehacker 

Android apps reviewed: Tape-and-Talk Voice Recorder, Smart Voice Recorder, Voice Recorder (no link available for stock app)

Audioboo have launched private digital voice messages on the internet and it will soon been on iphone and android

Private messaging from Audioboo

I must admit that I have been very lazy about putting Audioboo to good use. That could all change with the recent introduction of private messaging via its web service.

One of Audioboo’s drawbacks until now is the fact that you have to share your boo with the world. Today, I received an email saying that Audioboo has now introduced private messaging and when I logged into my account I found a private boo from Audioboo fan Stephen Fry explaining the changes. Read the rest of this entry »

Originally uploaded by Immagina.

I love getting something shiny and new to play with. I’d been looking to replace my dictaphone (wasn’t bad for recording, but playing back on a PC was a little fiddly), but I wanted to get something for doing more professional sounding recordings.

I’ve recently started a blog about my local area and would like to record some podcasts. So after toying with the idea of getting a Zoom recorder or a Kodak Flip Killer Zi8 (actually a video camera) I went for this bad boy.

The Tascam DR-07 is an entry level digital stereo recorder. It has more settings than I am used to so it takes a bit of fiddling around to get the right sound. My first attempt to record was spoiled by picking too high a recording level (and also by a coughing fit in the middle) but I put a useable bit on Audioboo to check out the results. Read the rest of this entry »

Lonely Planet guides have been a faithful companion to scores of backpackers over the years. Even in the digital age, a guide by Lonely Planet or one of their rivals, features prominently on most travelers packing list.

More than three decades on from the first edition of South East Asia on a Shoestring and the basic format of the Lonely Planet guide has remained largely intact (with a few tweaks). But its publishers are changing – last year founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler sold the company to the BBC, though Lonely Planet’s HQ remains here in Melbourne.

Last week, I was privileged to get the chance to get a look inside of Lonely Planet’s Footscray offices to find out more about the company’s latest projects. My guide Matthew, from Lonely Planet’s digital division, has recently exchanged rainy London for Melbourne and is working on lots of exciting initiatives following the BBC’s purchase of the company.

Read the rest of this entry »

About me

I'm a London-based journalist with more than 13 years’ experience. I have worked as a freelance online journalist for Channel 4 News and the BBC. I have also experience of working on magazines, as a television researcher and of PR. Please see my biography or email me for further information.

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