Modern Journalist Toolkit 4: How to Make a Phone Call

Modern Journalist Toolkit 4: How to Make a Phone Call

Right after I finished this video about making phone calls, my cell phone company announced that it is raising its rates by 40 percent.

I’m unlikely to get around such a major price hike by relying on one of the myriad phone apps I’ve tried, such as WhatsApp, Skype, and Viber. They have a variety of limitations—especially for calling sources who aren’t already subscribers—but the company will be charging a lot more for data too.

“How do you make phone calls?” is one of the most frequent questions that other freelancers ask me, which indicates that I’m not alone in seeking the perfect solution in balancing cost, quality, ease of use, and connection quality. Add in limited infrastructure—such as the lack of cell phone towers, or power failures—and it becomes clear that the only real answer is to have several workable options. When one tech isn’t working at capacity, I switch to another.

I have three main ways that I make these remote conversations that we still refer to as phone calls. In this latest video in the Modern Journalist Toolkit series, I explain why I use each one, and in which circumstances. I also debunk a few myths around Skype (for starters, it’s totally normal to use it to make audio-only calls where nobody can see you), and point out some of its lesser-known features that are especially useful for writers who make international calls.

I’ll address some of the issues related to calls and interviews in future episodes [see How to Take Notes & Record Interviews in Modern Journalist Toolkit 5], but for now, you can watch the latest video here:


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