Toolbox Newsletter XXIII

April 6, 2021

Editor’s note: This is another entry in a series of guest newsletters on mobile journalism and great reporting apps. This newsletter was written by Corinne Podger, a digital media consultant and educator specializing in digital multimedia and social media production, mobile journalism, podcasting. She also advises newsrooms and content producers on designing workflows at the intersections of digital innovation, audience engagement, and business strategy.

Five of my favorite apps

I’m delighted Mike’s invited me to guest-write this newsletter. I’m a media development consultant, and most of my work involves training journalists on news skills and digital tech. You can learn more about what I do and contact me here.

One of the topics I specialize in is mobile journalism, because smartphones allow reporters to make professional content affordably, and that’s a priority for most of us nowadays. 

Most of us have heard of Filmic Pro, Otter, Anchor, and Luma Fusion, so I’ve dug a bit deeper in the cupboard to find some gems you might not have tried before. They’re all brilliant, and are either free, or affordable to reporters on a budget.


Mike’s January newsletter mentioned VN, a terrific free multi-track video editing app. Those of you on iPhones might like to know there’s an audio equivalent – Ferrite – which offers full multi-track audio editing, as well as audio recording in lossless WAV and compressed MP3. The app has a simple YouTube channel with tutorials. 

GIF Toaster

Recently I was looking for a GIF-maker that allows you to create GIFS out of anything – photos, video, photo bursts, and live photos. I came across GIF Toaster, which does all this and for a few dollars it allows high definition downloads. Much better than the grainy generics recycled millions of times. And it’s available on IOS and Android

Alight Motion

I get that some of us have to learn how to use After Effects, and you have my admiration and sympathy. But for fast production of animated graphics, nothing beats Alight Motion. You can create templates for graphics you use all the time, too, so you can edit a package for the evening bulletin or web update without going in to the office.

It’s available on IOS and Android, and costs $US5 a month. That’s a quarter of what After Effects costs, and the developers at Alight are great people to deal with. 

Here’s a tutorial to get you started: 

Send Anywhere

If you’re working with a combination of IOS and Android phones, and Mac and PC computers, transferring files can be a nightmare. Send Anywhere solves the problem. Select the item you want to send, and tap ‘Send’. It generates a link with a unique code that a recipient can use to download the content – to their phone or laptop – immediately. It’s available on IOS and Android. You can pay a few dollars to remove in-app ads, but they’re not distracting, so the free version works fine. 


Podbean is a podcasting app that’s had a lot of love and attention from its developers in recent years. You can use it to listen to podcasts – but you can also use it to make podcasts – and it integrates seamlessly with the desktop version. Find out more on the website

Around the Web

Keeping up with mobile apps is a constant slog, so here are a few sites I rely on for the latest news and information. 

Smartfilming Blog: This blog by Florian Reichart is a must-read. It’s regularly updated with information about apps, equipment, and smartphones. 

Mojofest Facebook Group: Back in 2015, about 300 mobile journalism practitioners and trainers got together for the first international mobile journalism festival. A Facebook Group was created for us to keep in touch, and now has nearly 7,000 members from all over the world. A great place to learn about apps, phones, equipment and techniques.

Mobile Journalism Manual for Reporters and Newsrooms: This is an online guide to getting started in “mojo,” for a journalism audience.

Cultures of TikTok in the Asia Pacific: This conference was organized by Australia’s Curtin University in December, and they’ve just put all the recordings online. Forget Netflix; this is what you need to catch up on this weekend.

In Quotes …

“A free press is the unsleeping guardian of every other right that free men prize; it is the most dangerous foe of tyranny.” — Winston Churchill


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