The newly launched geojournalism.org site offers online tutorials for environmental journalists who want to use more data journalism, mapping and visualizations in their work. A big plus is that the tutorials are written in simple language with step-by-step instructions, making them easy to follow. And with a diverse range of topics, from tips on creating 360 degree photo panoramas to basic steps for creating animation or using a balloon for mapping, it’s worth having an explore for a bit of inspiration.
Tapping away on a tablet or smartphone can be a major hassle. The buttons are small, there are too many keyboards to have to flick through to find the character you want and it’s too easy to make mistakes especially if you have thick thumbs. But now a batch of souped-up text editing apps are making it painless for journalists to get their ideas and articles down and ready for publishing while they are away from home – and away from their laptops. OnMedia’s Sean Sinico has a round-up of useful plain text editing apps for the iPhone and iPad.
Perhaps the easiest way to describe JamSnap is as an iPhone app that lets you make an interactive image by adding snippets of sound and then share it through social media. It will remind you of other apps, but JamSnap is a deceptively simple idea that lets you tell a short story. Think Instagram, but with an audio clip to provide more context or natural sound. Think Thinglink, but easier to produce. And while SoundCloud and Audioboo both allow you to attach photos to an audio clip, JamSnap lets you grab the interest of the audience with an image first. That’s probably going to be more attractive to mobile users.
What is the iRig app?
These days, journalists with smart phones have a wide array of tools to use in their reporting. For those who need to record and send audio, the free iRig Recorder app for iOS and Android is worth checking out.
Steller is a free storytelling app developed by Mombo Labs. It allows you to create multimedia stories directly on your iPhone or iPod touch by adding photos, videos and text. After several months in beta, Steller was made available in March on Apple’s App Store.
The number of people using the web on their mobile devices is ever growing. Moreover, newsrooms are realizing that not only do they have to be digital first, but they also have to produce content that can be consumed on a small screen. It’s interesting to see how apps such as Steller are focused on producing multimedia stories optimized to be consumed on mobile devices only.
What is Meograph?
Meograph is a web-based multimedia tool that makes it simple to put together different elements such as video, photos, audio, narration, music, text and links to tell a story. What is especially nice about this tool is the ability to plot the changing location of events on Google maps and to also pin events to a timeline. The final product has similar dimensions to a YouTube video and also comes with a play, pause and stop button. Meograph embeds easily in websites or social media making it easy to share.
List.ly makes lists with a twist. It’s a web tool that lets you make collaborative lists. Think of them as interactive or living lists. A list generated in Listly doesn’t stay rigid or static. Users can not only view and share the list, but they can also add to it and give the list a ranking.
Listly recently integrated Twitter lists to its service. That’s what caught our eye. A public Twitter list remains useful when new sources are added and redundant ones “pruned”. Potentially, Listly could help make Twitter lists not only more useful in newsrooms but also offer a form of social media content that could attract a larger audience.
If This Then That (commonly known as IFTTT, pronounced ‘ift’, like the word ‘gift’) is a neat little online tool that can magically simplify your online activities by automating tasks. It’s based on the idea of “if this happens, then do that”. When I publish this post on WordPress (the ‘if this’ part), I can use IFTTT to automatically post the link to my Facebook account (the ‘then that’ part). Or else, every time I like a track on SoundCloud, I can get IFTTT to download it automatically to my Dropbox.
IFTTT supports a whole bunch of online applications (including all the major ones). The tool works by simple rules so that each specific event triggers a specific action. IFTTT calls these rules ‘recipes’. Once you have granted IFTTT access to the apps you use, you can create your own individual recipes.
IFTTT walks you through the process step by step and it’s really easy to use.
What is Creatavist?
Creatavist is a web-based storytelling platform developed by the media and software company The Atavist. Since 2009 The Atavist has used its Creatavist platform to produce and publish original long form narrative stories for the iPad. Now available in open beta, Creatavist offers tools for a variety of digital projects – from producing online books, magazines and video projects to even building your own app (as did the Paris Review and TED Books).
However, the most interesting feature of Creatavist for journalists might be the possibility of creating online multimedia specials that make use of parallax-scrolling effects – or short Scrollitelling as Benjamin Hoguet, co-founder of Djehouti (the company behind the storytelling software Racontr) likes to call it.
The acclaimed Snow Fall by the New York Times is probably one of the most popular and most praised “Scrollitelling” projects. However, since its publication, a lot of other multimedia stories have popped up, such as Killing Kennedy by National Geographic or the recently published NSA files decoded by The Guardian – just to name a few. Even though these specials are impressive, it is not as hard as one might imagine to create projects comparable to those mentioned. And using Creatavist combined with a bit of time and patience is definitely a good way to start.
Google has become an integral part of journalistic work. From Google search and Google Maps, to Gmail, Google Drive and YouTube, many of us use Google on a daily basis. Here’s a short overview of the most important Google tools for journalists.