Getting the Most of Smartphones – Carl Corry



In today’s pursuit of news gathering, less is more, said Carl Corry, online editor for local news at Newsday and a speaker at Tuesday’s KipCamp, a short-term fellowship designed to help journalists make better use of online tools.

“Everyone should have either an iPhone or an Android,” he said.

Corry stressed that being “multimedia lite” — using as little bulky technology as possible — is essential. Harnessing speed, audience interaction and robust storytelling are critical to build job skills expected in the field today.

Journalists should not hesitate to incorporate smartphones into their everyday work.

“The time is now,” Corry said.

 “Must-Haves” for Smartphones

 Corry encourages journalists to survey their surroundings for available resources. You can cut costs by using wireless providers with the best connectivity (Corry likes Verizon), syncing with free networks in coffee shops, and using airplane mode on your smartphone. It is vital, he said, to monitor battery life.

“Always keep your battery in mind. In the cold weather, the battery life drains even faster than normal,” said Corry.

To improve battery life, consider getting a portable battery “juice pack” such as Morphie Juice Pack ($100) or New Trent iGeek external portable battery ($60).

Additional must-haves:

  • smart gloves, which allow you to use a smartphone without taking off your gloves
  • windsock for your iPhone/Android
  • external microphone to plug into smartphone
  • external lens for smartphone camera
  • external light to improve smartphone video and photo quality

Tips for Success

 Corry urges journalists to post and share material immediately, rather than waiting until the end of the day to write a story.

“Invite others into what you’re doing,” he said. Reply to emails promptly, stay well-connected and initiate involvement from as many others as possible, he suggested.

When shooting, Corry said, remember to:

  • Horizontally compose your photos and video (all posted videos are horizontal).
  • Eliminate camera shake by anchoring yourself to anything possible. “Hold your breath if you need to.”
  • Use airplane mode when shooting, so you won’t be interrupted by a call.
  • Shoot for at least 10 seconds of video footage.
  • Use your car as a makeshift sound-editing booth.
  • Keep finished video clips to 30 seconds or less to keep audience attention.

The Importance of Smartphone Photos

Smartphone photos are becoming accepted forms of mainstream photojournalism. Corry cited a photo of Yankee Alex Rodriguez on the front page of The New York Times. It was taken with an iPhone.

“Take the advantages that a smartphone has and amplify them,” said Corry.

“I’m not going to be the guy to tell you that an iPhone replaces everything . . . but it is what you have available.”

Smartphones can be powerful, useful and effective. Sharing photos immediately from the scene brings a new level of speed to storytelling, he said. When reporting crime and terrorism, smartphones can be less threatening and “spy-like.”

Amazing Apps

 Many smartphone apps can be downloaded for free or just a little money, Corry said.


  • Photogene
  • Camera+
  • Snapseed (photo app from Google)
  • Virtual Photo Walks (from Google+) An unexplored journalism opportunity, Corry said. Sharing your view through platforms such as Google+ can allow others to experience a changed perspective on an issue or event.
  • Vine, 6-second, digestible clips that can be embedded on Twitter or within stories.
  • Instagram (photo and video)

 Audio/Audio Editing:

  • SoundCloud. Tracks where you are via GPS
  • VC Audio Pro
  • Voddio. Popular audio editing app software
  • Google Voice. Free phone number you can call through Google to record phone conversations. (Hit “4” before you dial a number). Note: A time limit restricts your recording time. Turns voicemails into texts.

Video Editing:

  • Video Camera Pro
  • iMovie
  • Vine has the advantage over Instagram video in that is embeddable natively into Twitter.



One thought on “Getting the Most of Smartphones – Carl Corry

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