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Posts Tagged ‘tools’

Create Interactive Infographics with Easel.ly and (Then) ThingLink

A reader (and fun Tweeter) had a smart idea following our post last week on using ThingLink creatively in journalism. I had to pass it along.

One of the ideas laid out in that post was how to quickly make infographics interactive, adding another meta-layer to the data you already made look pretty. Ivan Lajara, engagement editor for Digital First Media’s East Region, had an idea to make that even simpler:

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5 Ideas for ThingLink’d Journalism

Interactives can easily take time, resources and skill-sets that not every newsroom (or individual journalist) has. For those situations, ThingLink is simple tool that anyone can pick up and use today (or, really, right now) and create an engaging experience that helps tell a story.

We’ve written about ThingLink before, but as more notable newsroom uses pop up, it’s worth again walking through where its strengths lay.

To do that recap: take a look at this interactive image that former contributor Elana Zaknow social media producer for The Wall Street Journal, used as an example in our previous piece. It was inspired by this tagged image by Berliner Morgenpost. Hover over the dots.

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Top 25 Most Popular Apps For Freelancers

When it comes to software and apps to help them work, it’s no surprise freelancers like free apps. But here’s another non-surprise from a recent survey of about 100 freelancers conducted by BestVendor: They also love cloud computing. Most of the top 25 most popular apps from that survey were a combination of both.

Check out BestVendor's infographic to learn more about the survey and see a few of their respondents' also-rans that didn't make the main list this time. Click the image to see the full size version.

In its survey due to be released Thursday, the New York-based start-up site aimed at connecting users with useful apps and software found not one of the top 25 most popular apps cited by the freelancers was a desktop-only program. Some of them have desktop components, but most were cloud-based apps or sites.

 

So what were the pack leaders? Well, if this were the Olympics, let’s just say Google would be the medal leader in this event, with seven of the top 25 apps the freelancers cited — more than a quarter of the list, including two of the top three. Yet, it didn’t take the No. 1 spot: File sharing and backup service Dropbox bested the big G for that honor.

Beyond file storage and email, several of the tools were directly related to the business aspects of working as a freelancer, with software to help manage projects, invoices, billing and budgeting.

To be fair, the demographics of the relatively small sample of freelancers surveyed about what software and apps they use to manage their work was skewed a bit: 44 percent worked in technology and digital media according to BestVendor. Also, primarily they were based in the U.S. and Europe. But this is still an interesting list of ideas for freelancers looking to add primarily free tools to their tool box.

In rank order, the 25 most popular freelancer tools are:
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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

‘7 Habits’ (and Tools) for Highly Effective Journalists

Headlines following the recent passing of Stephen R. Covey have mostly included reference to the management and self-help guru’s immensely successful book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

The permeant reference is with good reason: the book was on The New York Times best seller list for more than five years, and it’s sold over 25 million copies to date. As I reflected on the best way to manage my own career, I couldn’t help but think about how Covey’s book probably had good insight in its pages for me, too — a journalist who fights the demands of an always-on news cycle, yes, but also a person. A normal human being.

Journalists are people, too. Here are some takeaways for how Covey’s seven habits can apply to our field, along with some practical tools and strategies to begin making them your habits, too. Read more

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