From taking meeting notes to recording audio for interviews, Evernote is a great option for reporters looking to keep their data accessible from any device. Space limitations mean you can't keep six years' worth of notes, but considering its ease of use, search functionality and ability to share information, it's a worthwhile addition to any reporters' toolbox.
A basic text editor allows users to keep notes and create to-do lists and simple tables, then organize them into notebooks and tag them with related terms for fast searching.
The main convenience of Evernote is that the data is backed up in the cloud and accessible across all your devices with a downloadable application or a Web-based version.
While you can access Evernote through its standalone application offline, any changes you make won't be synced and found on other devices unless you are connected to the Internet.
There are size limitations, so if you're looking for a place to keep huge PDFs, you'll either have to go premium ($45/year) or find another solution. All notes entered from a computer are saved both locally (on your machine) and in the cloud
A few other restrictions:
Although files you store in Evernote can be opened with separate programs like Word or Excel, they're stored as attachments to notes. That makes organizing a little more complicated. The program also forces users to browse for each attachment separately when uploading, but you can also highlight several documents at once and drag them over instead.
One of the other major perks of Evernote is that it allows users to share synced information with others -- editors or other reporters, for example -- whether they have Evernote or not. The share options include Facebook, Twitter, email, a link or a direct share of the full notebook with other Evernote users. Shared notes can be editable or read-only.
Storing all this information in the cloud might raise privacy and security concerns for some reporters. Evernote says they use the same basic security as email, and users have the option of encrypting their notes if they're storing sensitive information.
Evernote also keeps audio files and images, attaching them to new or existing notes. From its smartphone app, users can record interviews right into Evernote and tag them for future searching. The audio can be played through Evernote or saved elsewhere as a WAV file. Photos taken with a smartphone work the same way, and you can later download them from Evernote to post elsewhere.
Users can also grab images and info from the Web and save them directly to Evernote with a browser add-on, which requires users to be logged in. Using the add-on, I was able to clip the entire whitehouse.gov front page, which Evernote turned into a note on its own with a summary and date. It's basically a screenshot, which means you can't use the page once you've clipped it. Some of the words appear jumbled, so it's not a perfect tool for that purpose, but it's a good way to archive websites. You also have the option of grabbing just highlighted text or the URL. Both functions were smooth and seamless. If you grab some highlighted text, all URLs still function and both those and the text remain searchable within your note.
Given all its features, Evernote is a great way to keep track of notes, audio, photos and documents for day-to-day reporting. The cloud storage means accessing it from anywhere with an Internet or smartphone connection and you can't beat the (free) price.