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Tool of the Day

Infogr.am: Another Web-based Tool For Creating Beautiful Infographics

Last week we told you about easel.ly for creating beautiful infographics in your browser, but we had a few gripes — it didn’t let you manipulate data or change color schemes, two things that are vital to custom infographics. Infogr.am, also a tool in beta,  lets you do both of those things and more —  perfect for a journalist, blogger or social media editor on a deadline.

The tool is dead simple, and with preset fonts, colors and templates, it’s hard to make something that doesn’t look great. See my quick example below (which, by the way, doesn’t display real data on Twitter followers).

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Easel.ly Launches Browser Tool And Templates For Quick, Easy, Beautiful Infographics

Did you know that infographics are 30 to 40 times more likely to be viewed and shared vs. text? At least that’s the claim that Easel.ly makes on its homepage. The new site, a project in beta, makes it super easy to use drag-n-drop templates to create beautiful infographics for free.  A demo video is embedded below:

For newsrooms, this site poses huge opportunity in terms of shareability of information across social media. Newspapers are the worst offenders when it comes to forgetting about graphics that make sense for the web. They’ll often repurpose something that ran in print, and often that graphic isn’t compelling enough to share on social networks — a space where visuals are constantly competing for users’ attention. But easel.ly is so easy to use that resources don’t have to pulled away from graphic designers; it’s a site that social media editors can use.

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Who’s Tweeting About Your Beat? TweetCharts Tells You

There’s a new tool for local reporters and editors, or those on specific topic or business-related beats, to figure out who the top tweeters are about their beats. Thankfully, you won’t need to hire a social media analyst to track this information down. It’s free and as easy* as crafting a phrase or hashtag you want to know about.

TweetCharts, a new site from Hubspot, does the data crunching for you. Just plug in your phrase or hashtag. It searches the past week’s tweets, and then, pops out lots of pretty charts to show your bosses you’re not just wasting your time tracking or participating in the Twitter conversation. The site explains at a glance who’s talking about the topic and generally, what they’re linking to or how engaged they are in the words you’re looking at.


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News Nerd Jobs: A Site For Submitting And Finding Journalism-Programmer Gigs

It’s a simple site, but it has huge value: News Nerd Jobs.

For those who are seeking or hiring programmer-journalists, the site contains a simple list — in the form of a public Google spreadsheet — of various developer jobs in newsrooms across the country. From the site’s description:

The news business needs people who can code in the public interest and build the digital news products of tomorrow. If you can code, there’s a job for you. Some of the top media companies in the United States are hiring developers right now.

I’d argue that this platform is potentially more effective than a huge database like Monster.com because it’s specifically tailored to coding jobs in journalism. Sure, you can filter big databases down to the kinds of keywords you want, but this site is populated directly by people in newsrooms who are looking for the same kinds of people: journalists who can code. It also helps that, because the site was started by Matt Waite, the network of potential applicants is top notch.

Want to add a listing? Just add a row to the Google Doc.

Tool of the Day: Knight Lab Releases Free, Easy Interactive Timeline

Newsrooms seem to have forgotten about a simple, tried-and-true form of storytelling: the timeline.

We inundate our readers with infographics and Storifies of the news. They are the cool, new kids on the block who are supposed to encourage audience engagement. There’s nothing wrong with these new ways of telling in stories — in fact, I love them. But the only time we hear about timelines nowadays is when it is preceded by the word “Facebook.”

Enter the Knight News Innovation Lab‘s newest tool, “Timeline.” It’s a free, open source tool created by former New York Times staffer and current Medill faculty member Zach Wise. With Timeline, users can tell stories via an attractive, easy-to-use timeline that incorporates the latest tweets, YouTube videos, Flickr photos, and even Google Maps. Read more

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