Pass the hot cocoa and start unrolling the wrapping paper, the season of giving is upon us.
Since the business of news does not slow for the holidays, many journalists are topping their wish lists with new widgets, gadgets and apps for the newsroom. Whether it’s for a coworker, boss or spouse, here are a few ideas of what to buy a journalist this holiday season.
- GoPro Hero 3+ Cameras These compact and lightweight cameras create new possibilities for multimedia journalism coverage. “[I’ve been] hinting to the family that I wouldn’t turn down a new GoPro – certainly adds a whole new dimension to video storytelling,” said Bob McCall, a producer for the Associated Press. GoPro cameras are waterproof and mountable so they can be taken anywhere—first stop: under the Christmas tree. Starting at $199.99, gopro.com
- Dot Line SMART Bracket This gift will ensure that shaky iPad videos become a thing of the past. The SMART Bracket allows journalists to connect their iPads to a tripod or monopod for stable video footage. “With the popularity and influence of smartphone and tablet photography, video, and documentary work growing at an enormous rate, I foresee more and more journalists using brackets with their digital devices,” said Timothy Jacobsen, a freelance photographer based in Maryland. “Other than that, I am hoping that people stop (oh please, please, please stop) taking vertical videos with their smartphones and tablets,” Jacobsen urged. $39.95, bhphotovideo.com
- “Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship and Betrayal,” by Nick Bilton Written by a columnist and reporter for The New York Times, this book reveals the unexpectedly dirty path that led to the Twitter we know today. “As the company became successful, secrecy and power plays inevitably ensued. Bilton infuses genuine drama into the alliances and ousters and betrayals…” according to The New York Times Sunday Book Review “Four Characters.” $15.42, Amazon.com
- Pebble Smart Watch The job of the journalist is ‘round the clock. The Pebble Smart Watch is a sleek accessory that can keep up with the constant developments of the job, while also keeping track of precious time. The watch uses Bluetooth technology compatible with iPhone or Android to make text messages and other alerts viewable right on the wrist. $149.99, bestbuy.com
- Stocking Stuffers:
** Oem Kikkerland Hubman 4-way USB Hub There are never enough USB outlets for the audio recorder, flash drive, camera and phone. This little desk buddy can split four cables on one USB outlet for optimal file uploading—Problem solved! $12.99, newegg.com
- **Stick-Up Weekly Calendar It’s easy to get consumed in work at the computer and lose track of day-to-day tasks, but that’s no longer an excuse, thanks to this post-it calendar, which can be stuck right on the desktop. $10, poketo.com
- **iTunes Gift Card For the techno-friendly, apps are always a win. Hint at downloading apps like Magisto, a movie-generator that offers a fun and simple three-step process to edit videos with flare. Genius Scan is another convenient app that allows reporters to scan paper documents and email them as a PDF. Prices vary, Itunes.com
- Burner Phones Journalists say disposable phones are a key tool in a post-Edward Snowden era — amid worries the federal government is collecting data on cell phone and email usage — and would make fabulous gifts for this holiday season. “If you are dealing with a sensitive source and sensitive topics, you don’t want to use your personal phone,” said Andy Carvin, senior strategist at NPR. Prices vary, radioshack.com
- Gag gift: Ostrich pillow This special pillow might look a bit odd when engulfing someone’s head, but could be helpful for a quick desk nap– and who wouldn’t love a nap? Come to think of it, even a nap would be a great gift for a journalist. And it’s free. $99 for the pillow, studiobananathings.com
– This story includes contributions from AJR News Editor Lisa Rossi