By REBECCA LATTANZIO
Skype has emerged as one of the trendiest new tools for journalists, especially journalism students. The application started for most people, including myself, as a fun and different way to keep in touch with friends that were a long distance away. It added a new dimension to the phone call or Facebook chat, it seemed more personal and lets face it, more fun! Over time, though, journalism students have realized the far reaching benefits to Skype. Journalism professors practically encourage us to use the tool for interviews now.
Anyone who has used Skype even for a minute has noticed its video chat and instant message features, but it has much more to offer. The same way we record interviews with our sources, Skype can record conversations; just make sure you ask your source for this permission first. Opening a Skype account also allows you to connect to landline phones, cell phones, and create and online phone number. After creating an account you can use SMS text messaging, voice mail, call forwarding, caller ID, call transfer, and even a voice mail to text application. Skype is also great for any of your work that involves a conference conversation or interview. Their group video chats and group instant messaging are very easy to use. The list of uses of Skype goes on and on.
Some of Skype’s services do come at a cost, but they are generally low and well worth it if you use it to its fullest. Skype also makes payment convenient and simple with pay as you go and credit options.
Some of my favorite features on Skype, besides the obvious ones, include their file sending and screen sharing options. You can easily send pictures, video, and countless other file types through Skype and you can also share everything that you are looking at on your desktop with other Skype members all for free. Skype can easily become a way to organize all of your multimedia aspects in one place simply.
Blogger Amy Gahran agrees with my stance on Skype, saying “every journalist should use it.” Gahran goes in more detail about Skype’s pricing and calling features. Most of us still consider the Skype world relatively new and in general the public hasn’t even scratched the surface of its uses, but its catching on quickly and a look at Skype’s website will show you that it is only getting larger by the minute.