Friday, April 26, 2013

DFM's Engagement Workshop: Three ways to get the most out of your iPad

Part of the resistance from journalists against new technology and digital reporting is the feeling that it's just one more thing you have to try to cram into a day.

But technology, particularly an iPad, can actually save you time and make your job easier in a lot of ways.

Here are three ways to get the most out of your iPad: 

1. Determine its role. This depends on the other technology you have available and your individual preferences.

* I view my iPad as my notepad, and I primarily use it for all of the same purposes: taking notes, my calendar, lists, audio recordings, communication (Facebook, Twitter, Skype, email, etc.).
* I think the iPad works great for reading newspapers and magazines via Flipboard -- much more eyeball-friendly than a phone.
* The iPad is great for managing and browsing Pinterest.

The iPad for taking notes: Notability
So, is the iPad the journalism god? What the iPad is good for.

So you want to be a journalist?

Alyssa wants to be a journalist when she grows up. 
I tried but cannot convince her otherwise. 

She came with me to work on Thursday and helped me report a story. I showed her how I use my iPad to record interviews, and she even contributed some questions. One of the main things I wanted to instill in her is the crucial balance between being prepared yet flexible:

* I knew all of the background information possible on the topic when we arrived, but I did not prepare questions, because I wanted to let the conversation guide itself naturally. 

* I had a vision for how my final interactive graphic would look, and I edited/deleted my photos as I went along. I knew I wanted one photo and one video of each performer, and I deleted everything extra, to speed up my editing process back at the office. It ended up taking me one hour to put together a pretty extensive interactive photo, including dowloading/uploading time. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Prezi as an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at a show

Press "start Prezi" and click around on the interactive image, or click the arrows to navigate.

DFM's Digital Engagement workshop: Interactive images 101

I will be doing a presentation about interactive images at the Digital First Media's engagement workshop in Denver next week. Here is a glimpse at what I'll be sharing. I hope you come and ask me questions and share your ideas.

A rough estimate indicates there are 900 zillion new toys, apps, gadgets, website and ways to tell a story. The pressure to know and use them all scares many journalists away from trying. And it's no wonder. Our jobs have never demanded more work of us with fewer resources and a smaller staff.

But, if approached with focus, knowledge and strategy, "new media" can make your job easier. It can save you time. And it can provide new outlets for job satisfaction and achievement.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Using Prezi to tease an upcoming story

We had the Cassie Taylor Band in the Second Story Garage live recording studio today.
I hopped in and captured a few behind-the-scenes clips to tease the upcoming story and videos.

Interactive graphics as an alternative to photo slideshows

When writing a story with a list of visual items, such as a story about jewelry trends for spring, your first instinct is probably to put those photos in a slideshow online.

Every once in a while, why not throw them into an interactive photo instead?

Unlike a slide show, this allows you to do a more scrapbook-style approach to design and include as little or as much text as you want. You can also pair the photos with video and audio files -- and you can include clickable links.

Here's an example of a recent story about spring jewelry trends where I created an interactive image instead of a photo slideshow.

Click on the rainbow icon in the bottom left corner of the picture below to see the full interactive image, with video.

My three favorite ways to make interactive images

Presented to you in the form of an interactive image -- what else?

To learn more, click "Start Prezi," allow it to load and then click around on the image to learn more.

Introducing: The New Journalism Collective

The New Journalism Collective is an unofficial but very official-sounding group of journalists, comprised of representatives from various Northern Colorado newspapers who act as the modern journalism representative for those newspapers. 

Members of the NJC are tech savvy or simply curious about digital reporting, technology, social media and exploring how to push journalism into its next evolution. We meet monthly to share what we are working on, apps and gadgets and websites we've discovered, ask questions and throw around ideas on how to improve our storytelling, reach, productivity and creativity. 

Back in the newsroom, members continue to explore with digital reporting, while spreading the message to and offering to assist their colleagues, in an attempt to gradually but permanently transform the way news is reported.  

The current members of the NJC are: 

Currently seeking journalists from other area newspapers who are interested in joining our crew. Email and check back here for our next meeting. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Using Thinglink as a creative, visual way to preview an event

I'm writing a full preview about this aerial dance event on Thursday, but I'm also playing around with creative, visual ways to preview the event.

Here's a simple-to-do, interactive "photographic go box" that can be embedded into a story instead of or in addition to a traditional go box.

Using Thinglink interactive graphics to tease a front page

We've been playing with Thinglink more, to see if it might be a way to drive traffic from social media sites to our website.

What do you think?

Here is an interactive front page teaser from the Colorado Daily, made by editor Jenn Fields.
Here's a link to the other Colorado Daily Thinglinks.

I talked to Jenn about her experience with Thinglink front pages. Here's how it went down:

How long did you take to put one together?
It's quick -- maybe 10 minutes. Maybe 12 if someone distracts me with Internet cats. Basically, it's fast enough that I feel like there's no reason not to give it a whirl.

Using Vine for quick and dirty weather coverage

We've been having quite an unpredictable winter this spring in Colorado.
I've found the Vines app as a quick and easy way to give a glimpse at the changing weather.

Walking in a spring wonderland.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Add a watermark to your pics with Marksta: Rated B

This app might appeal more to pro photographers, but it has potential to benefit journalists/newspapers, too. Marksta is a nifty app that allows you to easily add a watermark and add a copyright notice to your photos before posting them online.

Why would a newspaper do this? Oh, I don't know -- copyright issues, to starters. Getting credit. preserving your work. Especially with social media, so many photos are lifted and reused without permission or proper credit these days. Marksta won't prevent the intentional cropping out of a watermark, but it makes it harder to steal images.

Cost: $1.99, which is pretty high for an app. I would rate this app higher if it were cheaper.

Here are some examples of what Marksta can do for your photos.

Original image, taken with my iPhone out the window of my car in a snowstorm, as I sit in the parking lot working, before my next appointment. Don't ask; I don't want to have to buy another coffee to get in a hour of mobile work.

Image 2, using a cropped version of the logo from my blog -- obv not designed to be a watermark. 

Image 3, created in about 30 seconds using some of the Marksta presets. 

Image 4, also using Marksta presets. Super easy to do -- and try to crop this sucker out, thieves! OK, don't. 

CP-Pro for quick video editing: Rated B+

Lately, I've been schmoozing with other smart journalists, and stealing their ideas and tips to make myself look better. And then I can share it with you, and then you can look better. It's win-win-win-win-win, really.

Last week, I sat down with Whitney Bryen of the Longmont Times-Call. She's been leading the new technology/digital first efforts on the east side of Boulder County. We shared a plate of guac and chips and shared our favorite apps, tricks and ideas for how to enhance our reporting.

Here are two apps I learned about from her and why they're worth your time and money.


Cost: $1.99

Why it could possibly be worth SO much money: Busy journos don't always have time to sit down with iMovie and edit a full video, with 19 different clips. This super simple app allows you to record a series of video clips in a row -- in other words, edit as you go. If you make a mistake, you can even go back and edit a clip and remove a section.

Vine videos: Rated B

Here's about the easiest way to create and share short video clips of events. Vine reminds me of Instagram, but for very short, looped videos. As a mobile journalist, I like to take pics of the places I go and post them on Instagram/Twitter, so people in the area know I'm around. Now I'm mixing it up with Vine, too.

How it works: Download the free app. Click the camera icon. Then touch/hold down the screen as long as you want it to record. The length of your video is pre-determined, and best to pick a few short scenes for your clip. Then add a location, title and share.


Why it's useful: It captures a little more of the scene than just a photo, and is especially useful for action, such as this Vine clip of my daughter playing ball in the Dollar Tree (oopsie).

Friday, April 19, 2013

My new favorite photo app: Camera+: Rated A

You know this app is solid when our chief staff photographer recommended it to a reporter, who is also a professional portrait photographer (who doesn't have second jobs around here?). That's a lot of photocred. 

What it is: Camera+ is my new go-to photo app for my iPhone. My favorite feature is the ability to separate exposure from focus. This allows you to control how light or dark your shots come out, while maintaining the focus.

Take this photo taken at Starbucks, below: a screenshot photo of my computer taken with a bright window background. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Glogster: Because I like the name: Rated C-

I played with Glogster today, mostly because I like the name.
It's actually for students, so I had to pull out my metaphorical fake student ID and remember how old I actually am.

Glogster's designed as a way to help students (and teachers) organize paperwork and assignments visually.
I picked a pre-designed page and turned it into a little display of my favorite journalism tools.
All in all, it looks neat -- but it's nothing I couldn't do on my own on NewHive. And it's easier to add hyperlinks on NewHive. Every time I tried to add one here, it failed. And the image uploads took too long.

That's why I only rate it a pretty lame C-. It's easily replaceable and took more effort than I think it was worth.

Regardless, Glogster is a thing and yet another way to organize information visually online.
Try it yourself. Maybe you'll love glogging. Maybe I'm too old for it.

Check out my Glogster here:

Cincopa: An easy solution to photo slideshows: Rated B

What is it:
What it does: All kinds of fun stuff for free. I used it for a photo gallery to run with my fashion column. 
What I loved: Easy to figure out and fast. Very quick uploads.
What I didn't like:   I wish you could click on a photo to enlarge it, and include cutlines and a header. 

Overall, I'd rate it a B.

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