Friday, February 27, 2015

Colorado Press Association honors our social media work

Of all of the journalism awards, this is one of my favorites: to have been part of the team to win first place on the use of social media during breaking news, as part of our coverage of the 2013 floods. I remember staying up for nearly three days straight wrestling with Storify and Scribblelive and doing all I could to cover this event from my living room -- where I was trapped on a literal island of water. What a crazy week. I'm really proud that our hard work was recognized.

Read more about my social media reporting of the flood here:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Zombies ate my news article

Also read this article on

Halloween is such a forgiving holiday for crafters and DIY costume-makers; a little paint splatter, tear or jagged seam only adds to the character of the project.

The same goes for digital journalists. Halloween is a great excuse to experiment with new digital storytelling ideas and apps, without the pressures of breaking-news deadlines or the expectation that everything be impeccable.

With my creative engine already in fifth gear, I tackled the ubiquitous Halloween events story in a new way this year.

I picked the most unusual spooky event -- in our case, it was a zombie shoot at the firing range -- and I went through it myself. My easy, free and quick digital project could be transferred to almost any Halloween activity: a corn maze, haunted house, pumpkin-carving, even trick-or-treating. 

The challenge: How to make an entertaining, unique video using only my iPhone for filming and editing -- and don’t give away the spooky surprises along the way. 

My project: I rolled up to the local police and sheriff’s office firing range and got dressed in the required full gear: a vest, pads, helmet. I turned on the free time-lapse app, Lapse It, and started filming. I taped my phone to my vest; no GoPro needed.

As I wound through the haunted house with my gun, shooting paint pellets at people dressed up like zombies, my phone captured the experience in time-lapse, giving enough of a teaser without giving anything away.

When I got back to my car, I moved the project to my photo album, then into the iMovie app that I already had. In iMovie, I added a simple title, transitions, a few still photos and royalty-free music. 

However, Lapse It allows you to add music right in the app, so if you don’t have or know iMovie, no need to complicate the project. 

In addition, in the app you can trim/cut your time-lapse video, add special effects and change the number of frames captured per second to give your video a different effect and adjust the length. I used 2.44 frames per second for some parts and 10 frames per second for other parts of my video. 

In total, the video took me significantly less than an hour to film and edit. 

I published the video on our website, along with the traditional Halloween events main bar and events sider. No doubt, this video is unusual for a newspaper (hello, dubstep?!), but hey, it’s trick-or-treat time, and sometimes you gotta keep readers on their toes. 

View the full video below:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Yes, I really DID say that ...

"Interactive images are sort of like traditional print infographics, except bit by a radioactive digital spider that transforms them into heroic superhero graphics, writes Aimee Heckel, explaining they are one of the easiest, most flexible and exciting ways to digitally transform a story."

Yes, I really did say that.

Read the whole story and get some fun tips on how your newsroom can use interactive images here! Plus, get five different ways to use interactive images in your reporting today.

Monday, August 18, 2014

I ran off and joined the circus

And documented it with a ton of videos, photos, news articles and Dramamine pills.

Monday, July 28, 2014

I created the worst online dating profile ever

For a story about how to make an effective, quality online dating profile, I went ahead and did the opposite: I created the worst profile ever.

I had seven messages in 30 minutes.
Maybe I accidentally made the best online dating profile ever?

The full story is scheduled for release in upcoming weeks. Get a sneak peak here. Click on the rainbow NewHive icon to enlarge.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Giving Fourth of July Coverage a Digital Kick

Check out the article I wrote for about our unique, digital, Fourth of July coverage.

Aimee Heckel explains how she and her colleagues at two other newspapers decided to spice up the traditional July 4 fireworks story by using new digital tools to transform a “where-to-see-the-fireworks” story into something readers never experienced before.   

Read the full story here.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

NetNewsCheck runs a story about our project

Play, play, play. That's what we do all day.
And write bad poems, apparently.

What do you think about this idea? Could it ever work?

Read the full article here.