8 Best Apps for Journalists Must Use This Year

Check out these best apps for journalists that help streamline a reporting workflow and help you earn more from news writing.

I worked as a journalist for several years, in a news office and in the field. Journalism can be a good career. However, it is a demanding profession thanks to deadlines, the 24-hour news cycle and the expectation on professionals to produce accurate news content in a variety of formats. Thankfully, the right tools can help reporters and journalists accomplish all this much easier than years ago.

Journalists can use apps to help them keep track of notes, write feature stories and edit their work on the go. They also need a tool to organize photos and research. The best apps for journalists will help them organize ideas, check grammar and transcribe audio files, like phone calls and podcasts, into text.

Deciding on the best apps for journalists is not an easy task, but a few stand out. By adding these to your reporting arsenal, you will be well-equipped to write about current events important to your readers.

Best apps for journalists to improve productivity

1. Scrivener

Ideal for long-form journalism

Scrivener compile
Scrivener is ideal for long-form journalism

Originally designed for book and novel writers, Scrivener can also be helpful for journalists. It’s particularly good at editing and managing long-form feature pieces. Its popular corkboard feature lets writers easily track ideas and move those ideas around an outline to create their finished article. Scrivener can also serve as a home for research for news stories. It syncs with Dropbox and works nicely on a tablet, meaning journalists can use it to write on the go.

To learn more, read our Scrivener review.

Pricing

Scrivener costs $49 for Mac and Windows, $80 for a bundle of the two platforms, and $19.99 for the iOS device app. An educational license for students and teachers is available for $41.65.

Best Use

Scrivener’s ability to organize research and manage complicated writing projects means it’s ideal for journalists who regularly write longer pieces and perform interviews.

Pros
  • Compiles all note-taking and outlining into an organized, customizable document using the binder feature
  • Stores reference and research material alongside the writing
  • Can reference interview notes, websites, images, videos, and more all in the same word processor where you write your articles
  • Has project targets to help keep journalists on-task
Cons
  • No Android option for mobile journalism
  • Designed for book writers, so it may have more features than you need
  • No free trial
  • Can be cumbersome to learn

2. Grammarly

Ideal for grammar checking and avoid plagiarism

Grammarly
Grammarly is a useful app to check grammar before publication

This popular grammar checker is helpful with digital journalism because it checks work on the go, offering both a web-based checker and a plugin to download to the browser. Journalists can use it to call all of their work for grammar and spelling mistakes. It’s also good if you want to scan articles or stories for instances of accidental plagiarism before publishing. That way, a reporter can insert links or attribute as needed.

To learn more read our Grammarly review

Pricing

Has a free version and a paid version which starts at $12 a month, depending on the plan you choose.

Best Use

Grammarly is a robust grammar checker, and as such is a useful app to check grammar before publication.

Pros
  • Offers an effective grammar checker with the free version
  • Has a Microsoft Word and browser plugin to use the app without necessarily going to the web page.
  • Identifies and offers suggestions to correct spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and syntactic errors to clean up the writing.
Cons
  • Offers few features beyond the grammar checker
  • Is not foolproof and writers will still need to proofread their work
  • Does not integrate with all platforms, such as Google Docs and MS Teams
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3. ProWritingAid

Ideal for grammar checking feature stories

Prowritingaid new UI
Prowritingaid is a great grammar checker for journalists

ProWritingAid is a good tool for journalists who write longer-form stories. It contains dozens of useful reports for improving the quality of a story or piece prior to submitting or publishing. It also works well Scrivener and it includes a plagiarism checker. It’s also cheaper than Grammarly making it a good choice for freelance journalists who must pay for their own apps and tools.

To learn more, read our ProWritingAid review.

Pricing

ProWritingAid has a yearly fee of $70, but you can save if you pay for two or more years at once. The service is $100 for two years, $140 for three years, and $240 for a lifetime membership.

Best Use

This robust grammar checking software helps with spelling and grammar errors as well as the readability score of a story.

Pros
  • Accurate, powerful grammar checking
  • Time-saving copy reports for busy journalists
  • An affordable option for editing and grammar
  • checking
  • Pleasing user interface
Cons
  • Strict 500-word limit in the free version
  • Does not edit large chunks well in Google Docs
  • Lacks plug-in for Apple applications
  • Less mobile friendly than competitors
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4. Rev

Ideal for interview transcriptions

Rev.com editor
Rev helps transcribe audio recordings into text to more easily integrate into articles

Using Rev journalists can send an interview to a human transcript via the Rev mobile app for a less than a 24-hour turnaround. It’s a good choice for journalists with a larger budget, on a tight deadline. Rev also supports AI transcription which is useful for checking an interview for facts although best not to quote the results verbatim in a news story.

To learn more, read our Rev review.

Pricing

Rev allows you to transcribe or caption for a cost of $1.25 a minute.

Best Use

Journalists who regularly perform interviews can send their audio recordings of those interviews and phone calls to rev to have it transcribed into text to more easily integrate into articles.

Pros
  • Gives journalists affordable pricing on high-quality transcribing service
  • Offers a fast turnaround for journalists working on strict deadlines
  • Returns interview transcripts ahead of deadlines
Cons
  • Struggles to transcribe technical words
  • Cannot always identify different speakers with automated transcript service
  • Expensive for freelance reporters

5. Dragon Dictate

Ideal for speech to text

Dragon Dictate
Dragon’s dictation programs work well for journalists who need to capture text while on the road

Dragon Dictate is a well-known app for journalists. It allows them to transcribe their spoken words into typed text easily, so they can make real-time notes on the fly. It is also an excellent program to capture voice memos. To get the most from it, check out our dictation practice guide.

Pricing

Dragon has many products but its mobile app, Dragon Anywhere, is available for $150 a year. 

Best Use

Dragon’s dictation programs work well for journalists who need to capture text while on the road and want to use dictation to do so. 

Pros
  • Provides fast dictation with a high recognition accuracy to help journalists with their work.
  • Adds unlimited amounts of dictation to the cloud
  • Mobile app syncs with desktop products
Cons
  • Can be difficult to learn to format using vocal commands
  • Loses its training at times and forgets how the user says a particular word
  • Requires lots of memory to run, especially with computer component
  • No support for Apple or Mac

6. Evernote

Ideal for managing news story research

Evernote graphical user interface
Journalists can add news story ideas into Evernote

Journalists need to take notes quickly, and Evernote lets them do this. It is a simple app that loads onto a mobile device to jot notes down as they go.

Evernote can capture just about anything, as it has an image capture, video memo option, and website clip-saving feature for breaking news stories a writer may find. OneNote is another popular alternative to Evernote which journalists can use for the same use cases. That may be appropriate if your newsroom relies on Microsoft Office 365, as it comes with that package.

To learn more, read our Evernote guide.

Pricing

Evernote has a free version, a personal version for $7.99 a month, and a professional version for $9.99 a month.

Best Use

Journalists can on their ideas and thoughts into Evernote when they have them, then splice those together for an article later.

Pros
  • Gives journalists a mobile note-taking option
  • Has a user-friendly, simple design
  • Allows for collaboration with journalism teams
  • Has a browser extension for web-based work
Cons
  • Requires paid version for the most features.
  • Can be hard to organize large numbers of notes using the folders and tags
  • Cannot copy and paste images from Evernote to another platform easily
  • Clunky

7. TapeACall

Ideal for recording interviews

TapeACall
Journalists use TapeACall to record their phone interviews easily and accurately

TapeACall is a popular choice for recording phone calls to listen to later. The call recorder works with both Android and iPhone. It’s a good choice if you spend a lot of time recording interviews on the go or in the field. It’s also quick and easy to use and has more features than the voice memo app. For example, it supports interview transcriptions and file sharing.

Pricing

TapeACall costs $10.99 a year. 

Best Use

Journalists use TapeACall to record their phone interviews easily and accurately.

Pros
  • Record Zoom conference calls
  • Integrates with Dropbox, Google Drive and other popular sharing platforms
  • Offers secure, unlimited storage
  • Share recordings easily on social media and via SMS
Cons
  • Requires three-way calling from the mobile service provider
  • Has no free version
  • Does not work well on a conference bridge line, as it causes a buzzing sound

8. google Drive

Ideal for news story collaboration

Google Docs Logo

Nothing is worse than losing a new story. Thankfully, services like Google Drive and Dropbox dramatically reduce the chances of this happening. Writing in Google Docs is particularly effective for journalists as these articles will sync automatically across all devices. The reporter can also use Google Drive to collaborate with their editor from anywhere. Google Docs also works nicely with grammar checking apps like ProWritingAid.

Pros
  • Free
  • Works on all devices
  • Built for collaboration
Cons
  • Less suitable for investigative journalism
  • Link sharing can be tricky
  • Requires internet access

Why Are These the Must-Have Apps for Journalists?

As you look over this list, you will notice a variety of products. Some are grammar checkers, while others focus on recording and organizing notes and interviews. So why was each one chosen?

Each of these apps was chosen because it offers:

  • Reliability: The apps do what they say they will do.
  • Affordability: For the service provided, the apps are affordable, and some even offer free versions or trials.
  • Mobility: These products allow journalists to use them while out in the field talking to people and gathering facts for their work.
  • Functionality: These apps perform an important function that journalists need to streamline their workflows.

A Final Word on the Best Apps for Journalists

Journalists must manage a lot of facts in order to write cohesive articles. Sometimes those facts, which might include interviews, video files, and images, are hard to track and organize.

The best apps for journalists make that task easier. They allow journalists to take their story ideas and organize them into a logical fashion, or they allow journalists to capture information quickly to retrieve later.

If you are considering a career in journalism, you will want to add some of these apps to your toolbox.

FAQs on the Best Apps for Journalists

What apps do journalists use?

Journalists use a range of apps to help them capture information and keep it organized. Some to consider include:
1. Scrivener for long form writing
2. Grammarly for grammar checkign
3. ProWritingAid for grammar checking
4. Rev for interview transcriptions
5. Dragon Dictate for speech to text
6. Evernote for managing research
7. TapeACall for interviews
8. Google Docs for collaboration

What recording app do reporters use?

TapeACall is popular with reporters on a budget. Those with more resources many use Rev. The voice memo app on a smartphone works well too and is free.

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Author

  • Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.