Twitter, Tweetdeck or Hootsuite (Free-$2): Forget wit, these days, brevity is the soul of breaking news. We’ve seen over and over in the past two years that Twitter is already the go-to source for real-time news updates. Your readers expect you to tweet, and increasingly your editors will too. Sure, you can text in Tweets, but using a dedicated Twitter app will help you to respond to and incorporate reader feedback into your coverage more easily. Apps also keep your streams organized, which is invaluable when you’re tracking and tweeting all at once.
Camera Plus for iPhone or Camera 360 for Android (Free – $4): The stock camera apps on the latest smart phones are fine most of the time, but sometimes getting a decent shot from the field requires some extra tools. These two apps load up your phone with the basic features of regular point-and-shoot cameras — color correction, a timer, finer-grained zoom controls and, most importantly, image stabilization. The apps also include some gimmicky color and filter effects, and Damon Winter brilliance aside, you should probably avoid using them for your news coverage.
Ustream Broadcaster or Qik (Free): If you’re covering a significant breaking news story, Ustream or Qik can broadcast all the action on your website immediately. Bandwidth issues do limit any mobile video streaming, and the sound you capture with a mobile phone mic can be pretty lousy. You’ll probably want to use a more stable setup for planned events, but you can’t beat Ustream or Qik for speed and convenience.
Dropbox or Google Docs (free): I keep certain files in the cloud so I don’t lose them, and so that I can access them easily. I keep a mileage spreadsheet, source lists, a to-do list and certain notes files as Google Docs so I can read and modify them anywhere. I keep presentations and big documents in a Dropbox account, so if I get in a jam, I can reference source material quickly. Having mobile access to these items ensures that you’re never stuck without an important number or a crucial piece of data. A lot of my friends also swear by Evernote, which I have used with varying degrees of devotion. I prefer the Dropbox/Google docs combo, but Evernote may be perfect for you.