Any journalists here?

Hi there,

I’ve just discovered Scrivener, and while I think it’s a bit too involved for my day to day writing at work (deadlines every hour or two), it’s definitely going to help in my writing during my spare time.

Just wondered if there were any other journalists here, and if so what software (if any specific software at all) you use?

Oh, and to everyone - well done on maintaining the most grammatically correct forum around - such a refreshing change!


I’m a journalist, if you can call a food writer that. My tools are basically a browser, Scrivener, and Transcriva (for transcribing interviews). If you told me I could only have those things and iTunes, I’d be okay.

Though that’s probably cheating, seeing as how Firefox is basically an OS.

There are several journalists who use Scrivener. The most high-profile I know of is Michael Bywater, who kindly provided some blurb for the project page and writes for the UK broadsheets (he posts here so I hope he doesn’t mind me “bigging him up”).

Although mamster chooses to transcribe interviews in Transcriva, you can actually do so in Scrivener, too (just import an audio file, open it one split and a text file in the other, then use cmd-enter to play and pause the audio file whilst you transcribe it). The live word count, ability to transcribe and refer to research such as PDF files and so on and so forth should make Scrivener ideal for journalists, in fact.

But, you know what? I say that, and my better half is a tech journalist. I gave her my old iBook with Scrivener installed, and she keeps saying, “Yeah, I ought to learn how to use it.” And there she is, cranking out her articles in Word. Still. :unamused:


I’m a journalist (magazines and newspapers), and wrote about how I use Scrivener in Usage Scenarios. As for other software, Scrivener has pretty much replaced all the apps I used for writing (Word, Mellel, OmniOutliner, DevonNote), though I keep them all around just in case; I might actually use Devon for a book project if Scrivener proves insufficient for the vast amount of research it’ll contain, and OmniOutliner still makes a dandy quick outliner for short pieces. If I didn’t already have Word, thanks to a magazine I used to work for, I’d use NeoOffice for those rare occasions when TextEdit or Bean (nice TextEdit substitute I learned about here) isn’t enough.

Beyond that, I pretty much just use the apps that came with my Mac (Safari, Mail, iTunes, Stickies, OmniOutliner, Preview etc), along with freeware: Devon’s Word Services and EasyFind, Onyx, Quicksilver, RadioRecorder, iBackup.

I’ve only ever bought three apps: Mellel, Scriv, and DevonNote, and Scrivener is the only one I’m actually using now. I might have to check out Transcriva – thanks for the tip!

I call myself a journalist, because (in my view) once a journalist always a journalist, and because journalism should be an honourable profession not casually discarded. When I did it, it was for newspapers, magazines and television, and largely in the typewriter era.

Now, though it’s fiction that I do, the fiction is still strongly journalistic, and for me news is still a drug that I need to mainline several times a day.

Thanks for the feedback. I’m actually a tech journo too, so maybe it’s a mindset of that profession that makes us just bash things out in Word!

As for transcribing, embarrassingly I still use a micro tape recorder, although it’s near and has a handy pedal that I plug in and use to start and stop the tape while I type it up. I guess scrivener’s commands are exactly the same, but old habits die hard!

Sorry - I forgot to add any recommendations of software suitable for journalism. (Apart of course from Scrivener.) So here’s a software recommendation, using the word “software” in a very loose sense.

When I do any written journalism nowadays I still don’t electronically record the interviews. Instead I use a form of shorthand called Teeline, which I strongly recommend. Once you’ve learnt it, you can take a note that’s fast enough to keep up with almost any interviewee, and which allows you to scan what is said without time-consuming searching through recordings and/or transcripts. So you can work more quickly.

Here are some examples if you’re not familiar with it - page down to Exercise Eleven for the reputed final words of a British king. :slight_smile:

My other half had to learn Teeline as part of her NCTJ (or whatever it was) course that she took years ago, and she depends on it heavily for telephone interviews and suchlike. Looks like scribble to me (which isn’t that far from my normal handwriting…).

Wow! NCTJ - that takes me back. Shorthand, journalism law and… local government procedure? Something like that. I think I’ve got my certificate, somewhere.

Here’s another use for Teeline. If you’re unfortunate enough to be attending a management conference or similar in a room with no air-con, and it’s half-past two in the afternoon on a hot summer’s day… but you have a chum there who also knows Teeline, you can pass each other secret notes and cheer each other up…

Silly and childish, but tedium-busting, morale-boosting and maybe enough to keep you from dozing off… :smiley:

I’m a tech journalist, and use both Scrivener and Mellel. Scrivener is the powerful outliner, where I put all my researches and draft the article, splitting it into separate sections. Then, I write the final version with Mellel, ready to save it in RTF and send it to the magazine.


Journalist and author, one book and a lot of magazine and newspaper articles, among other things ( I use Transcriva to transcribe, DevonThink to keep vast amounts of text, Yep to manage pdfs (as a kind of safety net for DT) MarsEdit to post to my blog, Sente to find stuff and Bookends for my footnotes and references. For heavy-duting word-processing (as opposed to actually writing) I use Mellel. Sometimes for organizing a complex project I’ll use Tinderbox.

Neat idea to transcribe in Scrivener. I’ll give that a try.

Btw, has it occurred to anyone else that Scrivener could be used as a tool to present a talk, in place of Powerpoint? I almost tried that a couple of months ago, but chickened out. Now, with more experience, I might experiment with that idea.

Long live Scrivener!


Very glad I found this thread. For the grammatically minded - my excuse is that I’m Norwegian, so if I goof up the good languague on this board - sorry :confused:
Well, I’m a journalist, columnist and a writer. I’ve published a book of columns. But I write a lot of different things. I’m new to Scrivener and thought I’d only use it for my fiction. But as I get a grip on it, I see that it can be useful for other types of writing as well.
I usually just bash it out in Word, and lately mostly in Pages.
Do you who use Scr. for journalism import your work to Word/Pages before you send it on it’s way or just use the export option in Scr.?

I’ve been using Scrivener in all my journalism (columns and features) for a year. I just compile the draft, export to rtf and attach that file to an email to my editor. Most of the time, I just use rtf for all subsequent revisions, using Scriv’s annotations and highlighting features to signal changes and questions, but a couple of editors like to use Word’s comments feature, so in those cases, I use Word (I have an old version of Word X) or NeoOffice. I’ve thought about using the Pages demo the next time I get a Word doc back, especially if it’s the new docx version, just to see if it’s that much better than NeoOffice or WordX as to justify buying it. But as I virtually never print anything out anymore, that’s unlikely.

How times have changed. Here we are worrying about software to use. I can still remember working as a junior reporter with a beat-up Adler and sheets of what I can only describe as A5 toilet paper. One or two paras to a sheet max.

. . . but writing a nonfiction title, with a coauthor who works in Australia on a PC! I am exporting my Scrivener files to Word, then uploading these for him to look at/download at Google Docs.

I’m emailing the same Word docs to my editor, who will work on them in Word on the Mac, and return them to me with changes tracked. I’d really prefer not to use Word myself if I don’t have to, so I’ve been doing some tests using the Pages demo and, thankfully, changes appear to remain tracked. So all being well, I plan to revise the drafts in Pages, then export them back to Word for him for final tweaks, before it gets imported into InDesign and handed over to the designer.



But one cannot move soundfiles from iTunes to Scrivener? Can Transcribe do that? I use my iPod to record my interviews…

Me too. The roar of the presses, the smell of hot metal. I quite liked it all.

I would have thought you must be able to … you need to find the files in the iTunes library folder on your hard disk … they’re not that hard to find, and then you should just be able to copy them into Scrivener.


Yes, you can. Select the track in iTunes. Go File → Show in Finder (or press Apple-R) to reveal the track in a Finder window. Drag this track into your Scrivener project. Note that Scrivener makes a copy of the file, so your original is safe.

Also, remember that you can only import non-text files into the Research folder in the Binder. Scrivener won’t import any kind of sound file, not just from iTunes, into the Draft folder.

Great! And it works too. Great forum…