Friday, April 26, 2013

DFM's Engagement Workshop: Three ways to get the most out of your iPad

Part of the resistance from journalists against new technology and digital reporting is the feeling that it's just one more thing you have to try to cram into a day.

But technology, particularly an iPad, can actually save you time and make your job easier in a lot of ways.

Here are three ways to get the most out of your iPad: 

1. Determine its role. This depends on the other technology you have available and your individual preferences.

* I view my iPad as my notepad, and I primarily use it for all of the same purposes: taking notes, my calendar, lists, audio recordings, communication (Facebook, Twitter, Skype, email, etc.).
* I think the iPad works great for reading newspapers and magazines via Flipboard -- much more eyeball-friendly than a phone.
* The iPad is great for managing and browsing Pinterest.

The iPad for taking notes: Notability
So, is the iPad the journalism god? What the iPad is good for.

* I think of my Macbook Pro laptop as my PC/desk in the newsroom, and I use it for those purposes: writing, editing videos, making larger visual projects, updating the web and playing with other web-based programs. I could write on my iPad (using the free Google Drive app), but I don't have an external keyboard. Instead, I use a stylus (about $15 at the Apple store) and jot notes in Notability ($1.99).

* I use my iPhone primarily for video, photos, phone calls (duh) and simple video and photo editing. Something about taking pics with an iPad feels, well, dumb. I don't feel like the videos turn out as well, either.

A story reported/filmed exclusively with an iPad (but edited on a laptop)

2. Prioritize and don't try to do everything.
Once you have determined your iPad's role, prioritize. Don't clutter your storage with 9,000 apps. Pick the best that work for you and become proficient in those. Stay open to experimenting with new programs, but don't be afraid to delete them if you're not actively using them; sort of like spring cleaning your closet.

Want recommendations? 
The basic writing/reporting apps a journalist should invest in

3. Accept its limitations -- and strengths.
For example, the iMovie version is seriously limited. The iPad isn't supposed to take the place of a laptop, and it doesn't.

However, because it has a stronger battery life than an iPhone, use it for tasks that require more time, such as writing questions before an interview, researching things on the road or listening to informative podcasts. The Podcasts app is one of my favorite and most-used features of my iPad.

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