I was skimming through Twitter last night when I came across a tweet by @natziieebeyb mentioning my favorite app, Evernote, and I had to kibitz.
— Michael V. Hannigan (@MVHannigan) October 28, 2015
In the coolness that is social media, the folks from Evernote joined the conversation.
@MVHannigan @natziieebeyb We’d love to hear more about how you use it for reporting.
— Evernote (@evernote) October 28, 2015
I started to tweet back, but quickly realized there was no way I could answer the question properly on Twitter, because as a community journalist Evernote is basically the foundation for everything I do.
For nearly five years now, the first thing I do when I sit down at my computer is open Evernote. I have a hard time calling it an “app” because it is my most important piece of software.
Here are a few of the ways I use Evernote on a regular basis:
1. The obvious – I use Evernote to write all my stories. I love the fact that I can access my work across devices. For instance, I started this blog post on my phone and finished it on my laptop at home … and while that is pretty normal now, it wasn’t when I started using Evernote.
2. I keep all of my research and interviews together in a notebook for enterprise stories.
3. I store file photos.
4. I keep a notebook with all my Open Records Request letters.
5. I use the web clipper to gather background information.
6. I use If This Then That to capture my social media posts in a notebook.
7. I use tags and notebooks to organize my work according to beats.
8. I file government documents as PDFs. (This is invaluable because of the way Evernote searches within the PDFs.)
9. For events I know will generate breaking news — elections, for instance — I set up pre-written social media posts and blog updates so I can get out information fast.
10. I use a notebook named “Scratchpad” to write longer social media posts so that I don’t make a mistake before pushing the send button.
There are more and the beauty of Evernote is that I can adapt it to just about any of my needs. This is vital for me, because as a community journalist working in small towns throughout Texas I don’t have access to the expensive content management systems available at larger media outlets.
But I think I have better, because Evernote is my CMS and morgue. With my smartphone, I am always connected to years of information and data which often gives me an edge when competing against other news organizations in the field.
I have been using Evernote since 2011 and I believe in its usefulness so much that I have been a premium member for most of that time even though I almost never need the extra storage space. I consider it $5 well spent.