Working with the web as a journalist is really exciting because of all the opportunities it offers. From advanced search tools to social networking, video publishing or online photo editing, the web has really transformed how journalists see their job. I personally use many different online applications every day and am constantly on the lookout for other tools that can improve my workflow and help me as a journalist. I also have a few handy desktop applications installed for tasks as varied as photo editing, writing, reading feeds, creating presentations or recording audio. So what sort of software does a journalist need to have on his PC?
Start with RSS. To follow all those news stories and be up to date with what’s going on in the world you need to have a proper RSS Reader set up. Now I personally use Google Reader, which I find very simple, but I’d recommend FeedDemon to anyone looking for a desktop solution. You can create news watches based on keywords and file stories in specific bins. Many journalists nowadays have a blog to showcase their talent. To post from the comfort of your desktop you can use ecto, which supports all sorts of blogging services like TypePad or Blogger and lets you manage your entries from your desktop.
If you’re looking to prepare a phone interview, the best solution is to call up your interviewee with Skype and to record it all with Audacity. You’ll be able to clean up and edit the interview and save it in the format you like best. For recording and editing screencasts, you should use the Camtasia Studio editing suite. While definitely not as advanced as Avid or Adobe Premiere, it’s the perfect tool to quickly record, edit and produce in minutes. Web presentations are popular with the crowds and make for great, vivid descriptions of stories. With Soundslides you can easily create any sort of audio or image presentation for the web. We could also recommend Photoshop for editing your photos and Flickr to upload them on the web.