More Apps and Tools


☀☀☀☀☀ Team communication is revolutionized with Slack, a website and mobile app that allows companies or groups to stay in touch with each other and organize projects. Could be useful in a newsroom or anywhere people work remotely. Great way to stay on topic and to pitch ideas. Example: I’ve got one Slack channel for story ideas, and one for social media tips. Anyone can contribute to these, but private channels are also available. It took about 15 minutes of exploring the app to finally get the hang of it, but the bottom line is: it’s worth the learning time. This app makes communicating easier, period. Major media companies who use this to improve their communication are The UK Times, Lush Cosmetics and —Melissa Szenda


☀☀☀☀ With Chatfuel, anyone is able to create chatbots to engage with audience on messages. Chatfuel currently only supports Telegram, a secure Cloud-based messaging app, but has plans to soon support bots on Facebook Messenger, Slack, Kik, Whatsapp and Viber. Chatfuel provides a much simpler way to create bots than with classic coding. However, setting up a bot does take some time to program with the features you desire. By using Telegram, and chatting @Chatfuelbot, easy to follow directions are given to create. Bots are becoming more popular, especially with the newest Facebook news. Companies like CNN are beginning to use bots to interact with news consumers to deliver relevant and personalized news to individuals. It’s a great idea to test these new waters and create your own bot with Chatfuel. — Melissa Szenda


☀ ☀ ☀  AppLock allows you to put a password on different apps, features, photos, and videos on your phone. Once the app is downloaded, you immediately create a multiple-digit code that will be from then on your password. From there, you can choose what you want to be locked or unlocked. There is also an option where you can actually hide AppLock itself somewhere in your phone in order to take an extra security step. This app is useful for someone who shares or gives their phone to other people, but doesn’t want anyone to have access to their contacts or pictures. You can download it from Google Play.  — Ashley Altmann

Photo published under a Creative Commons license by Steven Lilley

Flipboard (Web)

☀☀☀☀☀ Imagine a website filled with articles you’re interested in — or better yet, stories you’ve glanced at and want to read later. Flipboard (web) is that site. To customize my feed, I was given 18 tailored topics to click on. The astonishing part of this was the selection — “Longreads,” “TED Talks on YouTube,” “Los Angeles Times,” “Big Ideas,” “Slate,” “The Hollywood Reporter” — things a website would know by tracking my internet history. While I’m impressed by the result, Flipboard falls on the creepy side of the spectrum of customization (if you don’t scrub your search history).  —Kelsey Hess


☀☀☀ Flipboard is a culmination of articles from various news organizations. By creating an account, users can set up their news interests. You might want to know more about international law, or film, or business. A home page displays articles based on these interests, displayed by relevance and timeliness. After clicking through a story, users can find more related stories and add topics of interest. Certain news organizations, however, limit access to their journalism, which restricts usage. So users must connect their news subscriptions to the app for unlimited access. For journalists, Flipboard can be a useful research source. —Victoria Grijalva


☀☀☀ CodeRED sends subscribers safety messages based on the geography of their choice. Public safety officials must initiate the alerts, which can range from warnings about escaped inmates to “boil water” notifications. The problem: if the public safety officials don’t use this app then you won’t get the information you need. There is a small subscription fee for enhanced service, such as weather warnings. If their local officials used it, it would be the quickest way for journalists to get official safety reports. —Gregory Walsh