I recently celebrated a birthday marking a somewhat large number. The occasion got me to thinking about the things I have learned in my time, and I realized there were a few “rules” I tried to follow. They are:
1. Don’t panic: Keeping calm is the first step to solving any emergency or problem.
2. Carry a pocket knife: You’d be surprised how often it comes in handy.
3. Your family is always your family: They’re the people you will see your whole life, so you better learn to live with them.
4. Do more than what’s expected: Nobody remembers the average employee/player/friend.
5. Never stop learning: The minute you stop learning, you get left behind.
6. Pray thank you: No matter your circumstances, remember to be thankful for your blessings, because there is someone who has less.
New technology isn’t just changing the way we publish our content — it is also giving us a whole new box of tools for doing our job.
Evernote is one of the most useful of the new tools. A web-based program for taking and filing notes, Evernote tames the avalanche of information that is always threatening to overwhelm the local journalist. The program not only allows users to file notes in text format, but also as photos, audio files, or PDFs. The notes can all be organized into files called “notebooks,” and everything is searchable.
In addition, there are Evernote apps for computer desktops and both Android and iOS. That means all of your information is at your fingertips regardless of where you are.
With the free version of Evernote, you are allowed to upload 60MB of information per month. As a journalist, you know I love free things, but in this case I happily spring for the premium version. For $5 a month (or $45 a year), you get 1GB of space per month and better search options.
Evernote does have an affiliate program, but I have not taken part. I do not receive any money if someone goes and signs up for Evernote premium. I did that so you know I am being absolutely honest when I say every journalist should be using Evernote on a daily basis.
Here are some ways I use Evernote:
- As my personal content management system. I write all my stories in Evernote, and file them along with relevant information and interviews. This makes it easy to call up background information months from now when I have to do a follow up story. Using Evernote as my CMS also gives me flexibility to work anywhere. I’ve written stories on my Android phone while waiting for the doctor.
- As my morgue. I file the PDF of each week’s front page in Evernote. Because the program can read text within a PDF, I can use the search function like an index. Because I give each PDF the same tag, I can look at the year’s front pages with one search.
- For interviews. Evernote allows you to record audio through your smart phone. I actually have a different recording app I like to use, but when I’m done I attach the audio file to a note and file it away. I also save email interview threads this way.
- For photos. Evernote’s camera function makes it easy to take a photo with your smart phone and turn the pic into a note. I’ve used this function to record posted meeting agendas and to file the score book after a basketball game.
Give it a shot and see how quickly you get hooked.