When Tony Russell heads out to cover a story for KOTV in Tulsa, Oklahoma, his toolkit includes two phones and a host of apps. His favorite is Instagram.
“I use Instagram because I like to show viewers what I’m working on,” said Russell, who goes by @tonyrusselltv across social media. “I also like how Instagram can share my photo across Twitter and Facebook.”
Russell says there’s an active subculture of people who use the #tvnews #tvphotog #tvreporter tags on Instagram and he wants to tap into their interest.
When it comes to the most useful app for breaking news and time-saving, Russell says he uses Dropbox daily.
“I find this really effective on spot news. I can upload five photos, pop an email out with a public link to the newsroom and have it upload while I continue to work,” he said.
Of course, Twitter still matters, too.
“Twitter is the news breaking machine for me. When I post something that includes “RIGHT NOW” and “BREAKING” on Twitter I seem to get the most feedback,” said Russell.
He’s quick to point out that he does not use Twitter to post old stories or ask viewer questions. For him, Twitter is about staying on top of the big story with “happening now” information.
Depending on where you work, Russell says certain apps may be more important than others. For him, a key app is RadarScope.
“I work in Oklahoma and this is the premier app for storm chasing and tracking storms. This pulls in hi-res Doppler weather data,” Russell said. “It costs money, but I rely on it.”
Other apps that come in handy for Russell include AP Stylebook for the text version of his stories, UStream to stream video and something called Hazmat.
“This app allows me to spot a hazmat triangle on a truck and quickly search for its contents,” Russell said. “Imagine rolling up to a spot news scene and you want to know that’s burning from the tanker? I can search through this app to find out what might be inside based on the triangle stickers on the side of the load.”
Russell says he relies on his two phones as an essential elements of his toolkit.
“The short videos I send are full-res videos shot on my phone. I upload them through Dropbox. All my ‘whips’ and pics are sent from my phone. Sometimes the Web will pull a still photo from our VO to use.”
To see more of what Russell does beyond the TV screen, check out NewsOn6.com.