WHO doesn’t like the odd shortcut to help make a mundane task that little bit easier and quicker?
With that in mind I’ve compiled a list of Google Chrome extensions that should prove useful for journalists looking to speed up their productivity.
Some are also available for other web browsers, but I’ve focussed on Chrome as it’s now the most popular browser.
I’d also love it if you can share your own favourite extensions for journalists in the comments below or by tweeting me @steve_cummins.
My must-have app, I spend 30 minutes at the end of most days going through the links I’ve saved in Pocket. Completely free, Pocket allows you to save articles to one place by simply clicking ‘save to Pocket’. On Chrome, the extension places a button to the right of the address tab for easy saving, IOS gives you a save option, while Twitter has also now integrated Pocket. The Chrome extension is particularly useful because all it takes is a simple click, while it also stores the article across all platforms. Useful for when you are scrolling through Twitter and spot an interesting article you’d like to read later. It’s also useful for reminding you of moments of inspiration for pitches or stories.
Created by journalist, this free web makes the time-consuming task of transcription a little easier by housing an audio player and text editor in one tab. This removes the need to toggle between two programmes, such as iTunes and Word. Basically you upload your .mp3 file (other formats are supported) and then use the keyboard shortcuts to play and pause, add time stamps, and slow down and speed up the recording. The transcription is auto-saved so if you lose internet connection, the text is not lost. A great app.
Twitter is now firmly a vital tool in the journalists’ toolbox. You, of course, already use it for tracking stories, breaking news and inspiration. However, If Twitter has a downside, it is that it limits vision to a single feed, which can be problematic due to the pace in which Twitter moves. Step forward then TweetDeck. It is the solution that allows you to set up lists – or tabs – to monitor various feeds, trends, hashtags and accounts at a glance. It is directly integrated through the Chrome extension and can be set up to provide alerts so that you can passively collect a lot of information without having to spend too much time searching. An alternative to Tweetdeck is Hootsuite, which has similar functionality.
Boomerang integrates with Gmail and is great for managing emails. It has two great core functions that journalists will find useful – allowing emails to be sent later, and the “boomerang” of putting important emails back to the top of the inbox to remind you to respond to them. For example, if you want your email to hit a person’s inbox first thing on a Monday morning, but are only online Friday, you can use Boomerang to schedule the email. It will also remind you if the email has not been responded to, which is perfect to ensure that things do not get lost in the noise. You can also use Boomerang Calendar to schedule things directly to the calendar without having to leave the email.
Another tool that integrates with Gmail, Rapportive helps you make professional connections with PR contacts, sources and others without having to waste time searching for them on all forms of social media. What it does, is automatically display all a person’s relevant contact information once they email you. So the Rapportive sidebar will show you their Twitter handle, Facebook link, LinkedIn account, and recent tweets Just tap “Connect” to the relevant information to connect with them. There’s also a really great hack here to help you find anyone’s email address within certain parameters.The process here still requires a bit of trial and error, but it works faster than randomly sending out emails.
OneTab is a lifesaver for online journalists who find their computers moving slowly because of the amount of browser windows that they have open. What this extension does is it will speed up your computer without losing all of your tabs by condensing them all onto one single web page full of links. Users can then break out a tab from the list to use or break out all tabs. It’s also completely free, with no ads or pop-ups to deal with.
Along with Tweetdeck, Hootsuite is one of the best Twitter management options out there for journalists. Where Hootsuite differs is that it can display all your social accounts as opposed to just Twitter and, through its Hootlet option, it also allows you to easily share content you spot online through the click of a button. Posts can be scheduled manually or using Hootsuite’s AutoSchedule feature, which it claims will target the optimal time to reach your audience.