App offers useful tips, solutions for journalists

By NICKY DIAZ

This week, I was assigned a story at the last minute for our school newspaper, The Miami Hurricane. In the middle of midterms, work and classes, I conducted interviews and transcribed them.

But when I sat down on Wednesday to write it, just hours before it was due, I was stuck. I sat and stared at my blank Word document for a few minutes, then I decided to do some research. I figured there had to be an app that cures writer’s block. Well, I was right.

I found Help! For Writers, an app by The Poynter Institute and Roy Peter Clark. Clark is a writing teacher and has written several books on strategies for writers. He has also organized a course available to students on Poynter’s NewsU.

For just $1.99, you get more than 200 tips, which are separated into stages. The home screen will ask you which part of the writing process you need help with. From there, you’d click on “getting started,” “hunting and gathering,” “finding a focus,” “building a draft,” or “making it better.”

Users can also favorite tips that they find useful or would like to return to eventually. Clark makes sure to offer answers and solutions to the some of the biggest problems that journalists face. And if the tip you first receive doesn’t help, you can always ask for another tip or solution.

Not only is the app helpful for writer’s block, but it is also a great way to organize the reporting process. This should be a go-to app for all journalists.

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