Posted in Education, multimedia journalist, Technology

My Tools & Apps for Digital Journalists: What You Missed at #NABJ18

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By Benét J. Wilson

One of my new favorite features at the NABJ Annual Convention and Career Fair is the Innovation Bubble. These are one-hour sessions where you can learn about digital tools and resources you can use in your newsroom that help you work smarter and better.

I was delighted when I was asked to do a session on all the digital tools, apps and resources that I use in my job every day. The room was packed, and it went pretty quickly, so I promised that I’d share the presentation, along with other tools recommended by the audience. My goal was to show you things you could use as soon as you returned to your newsrooms on the Monday after convention.

Click here to see my Prezi presentation with all the tools I shared. But I also got input from the audience on other tools and tech you may want to consider. Please feel free to add your favorites in the comments!

  1. EasyGif: Use this tool to make your own gifs.
  2. Atlas: From the publishers of Quartz, this tool to create your own charts that you can embed into stories.
  3. Pixlr: This desktop and mobile app is that is a Swiss army knife for those who work with photos, including photo editors, a screen recorder and a photo-sharing service.
  4. Google Scholar: Looking for experts to add to your story? This website serves as a repository of professors, scholars and lawyers who can help. Type in your topic and watch the magic!
  5. Hootsuite: This free tool allows you to schedule your social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube.
  6. Buffer: The free and paid versions of this web and mobile app also allows you to schedule social media posts. The paid version gives you great analytics about your posts.
  7. Over: Take your photos to the next level by using this tool to add captions, change fonts and play with filters. It comes with more than 4,000 editable templates, millions of commercial-free stock images and 20,000+ graphics.
  8.  Tape-A-Call: This app allows you to record calls that convert into MP3s that can be easily shared. Make sure to check your state’s laws on recording phone calls.
  9. Google Translate: This desktop tool and mobile app (iOS or Google Play) can translate more than 100 languages. It isn’t perfect, but it does a good job for basic things. You can type, speak or write words or short phrases. You can hold your smartphone camera up to a sign and have it instantly translated. You can download any language and use all these functions even if you don’t have Wi-Fi or cellular access on your phone.
  10. Knightlab tools: One I recommended in my presentation was Timeline JS. But Knightlab has three other tools designed to help you tell your stories. Juxtapose allows you to compare two photos taken at different times. Soundcite allows you add short audio clips to your story right under any text you choose. Storymaps allows you to create maps and add text that helps illustrate a story.
  11. Ground: This new app, created by a journalist, uses artificial intelligence to help users verify news events happening around them.
  12. Nappy: Looking for free African-American stock photos? This website has wonderful pictures of our people at work and at play.
  13. Snapz Pro X: Use this tool to record your screen or save it as a QuickTime movie or screenshot that can be e-mailed or shared on the web.
  14. Snagit: This is another tool that allows you to record your screen for videos and photos.
  15. EasyPrompter: This web-based app turns your computer, tablet or smartphone into a teleprompter.
  16. Hunter: Looking for the email of someone who works at an organization? This tool scours the web to find their name and email address.
  17. Whentogram: Let this app tell you the best times to post to Instagram.
  18. Unum: Use this app to craft layouts, create and tailor grid, save posts to drafts and plan the perfect Instagram feed.
  19. TilePic: Turn your photos into tiled banners that can be posted on Instagram.
  20. Google Keep: This tool allows you to take notes, lists, photos, and audio to keep up with your life.
  21. Quertime — 15 Online Tools to Create E-Magazines, eBooks and Digital Newspapers
  22. Quertime — 15 Online Tools to Create Impressive Resumes

Benét J. Wilson is the travel + rewards associate editor for MagnifyMoney.com and CompareCards.com. She is also owner/editor-in-chief of Aviation Queen LLC, a freelance writing and consulting business.

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Posted in Equipment, Innovation, journalism, multimedia journalist

Friday Fast Five + Five: Your Guide To New Media

  1. LinkedInHow to not make newcomer mistakes on LinkedIn
  2. JeffBullas.com12 Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make on Twitter If You Want More Followers
  3. Life HackerThe Best Extensions to Make Google Maps Even More Awesome
  4. Mashable12 Best iPhone Apps of 2014
  5. IJNETAnalice.me helps journalists automatically analyze thousands of documents
Posted in Education, journalism, multimedia journalist, Technology

10 Things You Can Do NOW To Step Up Your Digital Game

It’s a new year, and it’s not too late to add a work-related resolution — learn new digital skills. Don’t be afraid. We’ve compiled this list of 10 simple things to get you started!

  1. Hold and record a Google Hangout.
  2. Step up your game on Twitter.
  3. Record and upload a story on Soundcloud.
  4. Create an embeddable map using Google Fusion Tables.
  5. Try your hand at coding – for free!
  6. Test out these alternatives to a PowerPoint presentation.
  7. Learn how to make infographics.
  8. Take a Skillcrush class on becoming a WordPress developer.
  9. Whip up an embeddable timeline using Timeline JS.
  10. Learn Google Analytics with a free online course.
Posted in Education, Innovation, journalism, multimedia journalist

Happy New Year! Start Here To Jumpstart Your Career in 2015

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It’s 2015, and yes, we’re all making our New Year’s resolutions. One of yours should be to step up your digital journalism skills to keep you relevant in your current newsroom or help you become a star in a new one.

To that end, NABJ’s Digital Journalism Task Force and the Diverse Social Media Editors and Digital Journalists Facebook group will host a free series of webinars — New Year, New You, Part 2 — in January, all designed to boost your digital skills in 2015. Click here to see what we did in 2014.

First up, on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, at 8:30 p.m. ET, is “Tech & Tools Journalists Can Use,” a free hour-long webinar where panelist will share and demonstrate their favorite tools, websites, apps and technology that help them do their jobs smarter and better. We’ll leave time for questions after the presentation, which will be recorded. Our media partner for this event is AllDigitocracy.org.

Watch this space for other webinars we’ll be holding this month to boost your skills.  And if there are webinars you want to see, let us know.  Here’s to a great 2015!

Posted in Education, Equipment, multimedia journalist

Friday Fast Five + Five: Your Guide To New Media

It’s the end of the month, and very close to the end of the year. So below are not five, not 10 but 20 hacks, tips and tools you can try out as you work on boosting your digital storytelling skills in 2015. Enjoy, and happy new year!

  1. Medium – How they did it — Part 1: Spotting storytelling tools in the wild
  2. Knight BlogNew Digital Tools Every Journalist Should Try
  3. LinkedInThe Top 10 Get Sh*t Done Tools
  4. PBS8 Digital Tools Every Journalist Should Try
  5. GigaomHow to get faster answers to your searches in Google Chrome for Android
  6. IJNet – SoundCite makes it easier to add audio clips to text stories
  7. Blogging Tips – Top 10 Essential URL Shorteners 
  8. Knight Center, University of Texas – Maps, timelines and infographics: 5 tools to build your own interactive visualizations
  9. RebelMouse – 7 ways to write better headlines
  10. Re/Code Here’s the Twitter Tracking Tool More People Should Know About
  11. PBS10 Social Media Tips for a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign
  12. Mashable – 7 Tips for Surviving The Leap From Employee to Entrepreneur 
  13. Buffer Social – The Ideal Length of Everything Online, Backed by Research
  14. Gizmodo10 tricks to make yourself an Evernote master
  15. PBS11 Steps to a Better Twitter Stream
  16. Knight Digital Media Center – Tools for mobile community engagement
  17. Mashable – How I Gained 68,000 Followers by Live-Tweeting
  18. Socialbrite – 9 time-saving tips to write more blog posts
  19. Blogging Tips – 8 Ways to Use Video the Right Way on Your Blog 
  20. MediaBistroThe 7 Elements of an Optimized Twitter Profile [INFOGRAPHIC]
Posted in Education, Entrepreneur, Innovation, journalism

Unemployed? In Between Jobs? Launch That Blog – NOW!

When I do my free resume reviews for students and young journalists starting out, many times I either see gaps in employment or not enough internship experience or time on school media platforms.

When I discuss the findings of my reviews, I note the lack of experience or the gaps and ask what they are doing to continue to perfect their craft.  I get vague answers about how hard it is to find freelance work, and the conversation peters out.

The lack of freelance work is NOT an excuse.  With all the free and low-cost web-based platforms out there, there’s no reason why you can’t use them to showcase your work. I found a great article forwarded to me by one of my Twitter followers from the International Journalist’s Network blog: “Six tips for journalists on launching a successful blog.”

I blog here. I also created AviationQueen.com back in November 2010, and I regularly guest post on journalism and aviation blogs.  My blog and others were godsends when I got laid off in October 2011. Some gigs were paid and some were not, but all of them got me exposure and led to job leads.

But blogging is not the only thing you can do.  Create a talk show on BlogTalkRadio on the topics you hope to cover.  I met Hezzie McCaleb, one of the founders of Barbershop Sports, at the NABJ convention in San Diego. Check out their website and how they use BlogTalkRadio.

Other ideas to get your work out and practice your craft:

  • Create your own stories using tools like Ustream and post them on your own YouTube or Vimeo channel;
  • Start a Tumblr blog on a specific topic;
  • Offer to guest blog on blogs you admire and have some expertise in;
  • Create your own podcasts using tools such as SoundCloud, Cinch or AudioBoo;
  • Comment on blogs and websites you admire, using the URL for your blog so people can follow your work; and
  • Sign up for social media platforms to further promote your work.

I understand that we all have bills to pay, and sometimes we have to take that job outside journalism to make sure we have a roof over our head and food in the fridge.  But with all the tools out there, you have zero excuse not to keep up your journalism skills. Good luck!!

Benét J. Wilson is the vice president of education for the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force.  She also serves on the board of the Online News Association.  She is the coeditor of AirwaysNews.com and  a freelance aviation journalist and blogger.

Posted in Equipment, multimedia journalist

9 Great Holiday Gifts For Journalists

With everything going on in digital journalism these days, you can never have too many tools, tech and toys at your disposal. So below are some suggested gifts to buy the ink-stained wretch in your life.  Enjoy!

  1. Mophie Juice Pack — with all the ways we use our iPhones and iPads on the job, we will inevitably get to a place where an outlet may not be available. That’s when Mophie comes to the rescue. There are different versions, but I carry the Mophie Powerstation Duo, which allows me to charge my iPhone and iPad at the same time, quickly. Nice!
  2. Belkin Mini Surge Protector — Speaking of outlets, I carry this one, which has three plugs and two USB slots. The Belkin can be rotated to fit any outlet space.
  3. QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Earbud Headphones — sometimes when I’m working on deadline, I need to listen to one of my calming playlists and cut out the noise in the newsroom. So I decided to pay $299.00 for a pair of these puppies, which can also be used for conversations on the iPhone.
  4.  Brydge Bluetooth iPad Keyboard — You can read my review of the Brydge here.
  5. Newsprint skirt —  I saw a woman wearing this skirt at ta journalism convention and loved it. It is custom made by theVintage Galeria Etsy store for $45.95.
  6. AP Stylebook app – I’m loath to actually pay for an app. The most you’ll get out of me is 99 cents — until I saw this app. It costs $24.99, but it is worth every penny, putting the book on your iPhone. You can mark your favorites.
  7. GorillaPod Flexible Tripod — Jeremy Caplan of CUNY Graduate School of Journalism did a great presentation, “21 Ways to Awesome-ize Your Mobile Toolkit,”  and one of his tips was using this tripod when shooting video with an iPhone.
  8. Membership in a journalism organization — nothing shows the love like paying for your scribe to network and work on their craft in professional organizations. I’ll recommend the three that have me as a member — the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Online News Association (I’m on the board).

Benét J. Wilson serves on the board of the Online News Association. She is the immediate past chair of the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force and is coeditor of AirwaysNews.com.  She is also a freelance aviation journalist and blogger.