The 3 Best Apps for Journalists

By Shar Martinez
November 15, 2017

EDITOR’S NOTE: I originally published the article below on Xanjero Media.


Journalism has reached a new era. We no longer have to wait for tomorrow’s newspaper or the standard nightly news broadcast to get updates on stories. We’re in the digital age now, where the majority of people use the internet to share and receive news 24 hours a day. It’s amazing to have constant access to an immense amount of news outlets where we receive up-to-the-minute updates. However, as journalists, how do we keep up with it all? Two words: Mobile apps. Working as a digital journalist requires a variety of duties: discovering and keeping up with the latest news, doing research, using social media to follow up on leads, note taking, writing articles and more — so much more.

Being a reporter is hard work, hopefully these apps will make your life as a journalist a bit easier.

1. Reddit: Trending News & Tips

Reddit app.

Reddit allows you to have access to breaking news and trending topics. You’ll also discover funny jokes and the latest memes. The official Reddit apps has the fastest-loading interface with it’s infinite scroll and autoplay GIFs. GIFs, pronounced with a soft G, are rapidly becoming apart of digital journalism and allows you to easily promote your story. So, that’s an added bonus to this app.

In addition to staying up to date with the latest news and having some light fun with GIFS, with this app you can:

  • upload your own images and articles
  • share images and articles from other users
  • discover and interact with thousands of communities, this is great for receiving feedback from others in regards to your own article and to read the opinions of others regarding the latest news
  • customize your news feed to topics that you are interested in, such as business, politics, sports etc.

This news app currently has a 4.4 rating out of 5. It’s available for Android devices and is compatible with iPhones, iPads and iPods. It requires iOS 9.0 or later.

2. WordPress

Wordpress app.

This app is extremely helpful for bloggers and journalists. Having a WordPress blog or website isn’t only useful for sharing the news but it’s also helpful in building your brand and networking with others. WordPress has 74.6 million users, it’s by far the most popular content management system. With the option use an unlimited amount of hashtags, you can potentially draw a hefty number of viewers to your articles with this app alone.

The WordPress app allows you to:

  • publish articles and pages anytime, anywhere
  • edit posts and pages
  • draft new content
  • view stats
  • moderate comments
  • upload media

This social networking app currently has a 4.7 rating out of 5. It’s available for Android devices and is compatible with iPhones, iPads and iPods. It requires iOS 10.0 or later for Apple devices.

3. Notes

Notes app.

If you’re an Apple user, this app comes installed on your device. The notes app is great for jotting down things on the go, such as headlines, to-do lists and web links. This app is great for drafting articles, as it allows you to implement photos into the text. With iCloud, all of your notes are synced to all of your Apple devices (iPad, computer etc.), so that you won’t ever have to worry about losing your notes.

The Notes app allows you to:

  • invite others to view your notes
    check off lists
  • add attachments such as maps, book covers, front page articles
  • scan paper documents into your notes
  • add photos from your device into your notes
  • create sketches
  • take handwritten notes on blank, lined or grid paper
  • create labels to organize your notes

This productivity app is currently unrated and is available in over 30 languages. It’s compatible with all Apple devices.

In the age of constant new information, these 3 apps combined will help your life as a journalist to be a bit smoother.

Guns + Mental Health

By Shar Martinez
November 6, 2017

On Sunday, Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire at the First Baptist Church in the small town of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The shooting, which has been described as the worst mass shooting in Texas history by Governor Greg Abbot, left 26 people dead and multiple people injured. The massacre left about 4% of the Sutherland Springs population dead.


The victims were aged 18 months through 77 years old.

After the massacre, Kelley fled the scene as he was pursued by 2 residents. The heroic residents chased him until he crashed his vehicle.

When officials arrived on the scene, the shooter was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Authorities stated that there had been a “domestic situation” between Kelley and his mother-in-law, who regularly attends the church but wasn’t there at the time of the massacre, before the shooting happened.

This comes just one month after the Las Vegas shooting that left 58 people dead and 546 injured.

Guns are not the problem.
Guns are not the problem.
Guns are not the problem.

Have you ever seen a gun just walk out of the store and take fire at everyone in sight?

Me either.

People who possess guns are the problem. Just as people who plow through large crowds of people with vehicles, or use acid or knives to attack others are the problem.

Is this a serious problem of mental health?

I don’t personally know Devin Kelley or any other mass murderers, so I can’t say, “I know for a fact that [insert name here] struggled with [insert specific mental illness here], that’s why [insert pronoun here] did it!”

However, in my experience alone, I’ve seen that mental health is not taken as seriously as physical health by society, medical professions included.

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), signed by President George W. Bush in 2008, requires doctors and insurers to treat mental illness the same as physical illness. Meaning that addiction or depression are to be covered the exact same as a general health check or surgery by insurance companies.

So what’s the problem?

Everyone doesn’t have health insurance.
Not everyone gets health insurance through their job.
For those who do, some plans are exempt from MHPAEA.
It doesn’t seem like anyone is doing much to promote compliance.
And several other factors.

As quoted by NPR, “A study suggests those doctors often fall short in treating depression because of insurance issues, time constraints and other factors.”

Unlike many physical ailments, mental health isn’t a disease that comes and goes. You can’t just get over it. There’s a stigma that disorders such as anxiety, depression, OCD, schizophrenia etc., aren’t real because they are neurological. These diseases are very real and can affect the entire life of those who suffer from such diseases, as well as those who are around them, which is all too common.

Mental health isn’t something that is talked about openly, often, because of the negativity associated with it. Those who need help will often never seek it because they feel may feel embarrassed or ashamed. Furthermore, because of the complexity of the healthcare system in general many people have no idea if they’ll be able to afford help or if they’re insurance plan covers it.

Additionally, if everyone goes around blaming mass shootings on mental health, those who suffer from it surely won’t feel comfortable addressing their illness.

For the fact that mental health isn’t something that’s physically seen and most people will never suffer from it, it’s easy to dismiss. And everyone seems to have an opinion about it.

Let’s break the cycle of negativity and focus on a solution.

Mental illnesses are real.

What we can do:
1. Let’s stop blaming guns for horrible disasters such as this and focus better on better laws and policies that regulate the manufacture, sale, transfer, possession, modification and use of firearms by civilians.
2. Let’s stop blaming mental illness for the inexcusable actions of others when we don’t know their stories in full detail.
3. Let’s practice better physical health. The body and mind are intrinsically linked. Physical health problems can lead to mental distress.
4. Let’s speak out for those who can’t speak, and talk more openly about it, just as we would anything else.
5. Let’s aspire to help others by using our platforms, and those who are in our very own communities by reaching out to them, giving them a nonjudgmental shoulder to cry on, and providing them with adequate resources.
6. Let’s not group people who suffer from mental illnesses together. Everyone’s situation is different.

Mental illness isn’t to blame for all shootings. It’s more complex than a mental health problem. However, mental illness should be brought to the forefront of our nation.