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Posts Tagged ‘free tools’

National Journal Launches Document Library

nj logoNeed some background research for a complicated energy policy story? Or a good idea for your niche publication to demonstrate its value for readers?

Take a tip from the National Journal, which launched a the Document Library this week — free and unlimited to members and subscribers, free and limited for non-members — full of docs, white papers, reports, and more. From the release:

The new National Journal Document Library is a growing collection of research reports, testimonies, white papers, and press releases updated in near real-time from the websites of hundreds of sources that include global government agencies, think tanks, trade associations, and academic and corporate institutions.

As mentioned, member and subscribers can access the Library directly here. Non-members can access a limited version of the Library thru the policy verticals:  Energy, Healthcare, Tech and Defense. It’s not obvious — you have to scroll down the homepage of the section and you’ll see it next to the Twitter feed.

The library is interesting to me not just because it’s another resource, but because it’s another example of a publication making it clear that journalism isn’t just about reporting, it’s about researching. We all knew that, but it’s starting to be important to make that a key component of the business model. This is what First Look Media’s targeted ‘digital magazines’ are about, and in the same vein of what Ezra Klein is talking about with Project X – being not just about reporting the news but serving as a resource for the public. It’s about getting to the root of ‘journalism as public service.’

No better, or simpler, way to inform and educate than taking advantage of technology and making it free, to boot.

 

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Should I Animate That? 5 Questions for Animated GIFs in Journalism

If you’ve seen this coverage of an emotional Olympics race on Buzzfeed or this guide of gymnastic detail on The Atlantic Wire, you’ve recently seen some nifty animated GIFs in journalism.

(Note: I didn’t say GIFs about journalism, like these news cats. Hopefully you’ve already seen those.)

The success of GIF-infused content in actual news content has some media circles buzzing around a longtime internet graphic capability: “Is this an overlooked tool, or just a fad?, “Are we Buzzfeedifying maintsream news orgs, or is that a silly question now?”, and “should journalists embrace them, or are they somehow detrimental to the craft?”

They aren’t all simple questions, and I don’t have answers. (I actually posed questions here, too.) But I can comfortably say there are indeed reasons the animated GIF can work well to tell a story online.

Likewise, there are reasons it may not.

Putting other debates aside, here are five simpler questions for journalists to consider on a case-by-case basis before using an animated GIF to help digitally tell your story. Read more

KDMC Releases ‘freeDive’ — Searchable Databases For Everyone, No Coding Required

The Knight Digital Media Center at the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, acknowledging that people are hungry for data, has launched a simple tool that makes it easy to turn data into searchable databases. The tool, freeDive, uses the Google Visualization API to pull data from a Google Spreadsheet and generate an embeddable widget that you can drop onto any page — no coding required. You can see an example here.

The video below shows you the end result of a database that includes name, city and donation amount for 25,000 campaign contributors (meaning the tool scales well for large amounts of data).

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Once Upon A Datum: How To Create Visual Interactives In News Time

BOSTON — This afternoon at the Online News Association conference, Associated Press interactives producer Michelle Minkoff and WNYC’s data news director John Keefe held a hands-on, learn-by-doing session about creating quick data visualizations on a newsroom deadline.

Using free, open source tools and data sets, the barrier to entry for creating usable visualizations is lower than ever.

Michelle showed the audience how to make an interactive chart that graphs crime data using Google Chart Tools. She posted a full tutorial on her website and the downloadable source code for the visualization. Here are the key links you need to build a chart yourself:

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