Data Tools for Creating Great Content

data2

data2

Data analysis and visualization tools are everywhere. Derek Willis, an interactive developer for The New York Times, uses plenty of them and the surprising thing is that—despite the fact he has the resources of a large, global newsroom—his favorite tools are all free. His message to freelance journalists and content creators: you don’t have to break the bank to make the most of data storytelling opportunities.

In fact, Willis says most tools used by colleagues at The Times are free.  “Especially programs that store and manipulate data…most of the programs we use are free and open source, and that’s part of why we use them,” he says.

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Why Freelancers Should Check Out Google Media Tools

tools

tools

Launched in mid-October to coincide with the Online News Association conference in Atlanta, Google Media Tools is a collection of, well, media tools. Although they’ve all been around in some form or another, the site was created to centralize existing Google products that could be used to create great content.

“We looked at what can these products do to enable and empower journalists who try to do their job more efficiently and effectively,” says Google’s head of media outreach Daniel Sieberg.

In a workshop dubbed “Google 101 for Journalists” held in Minneapolis, Minn. recently, Google media outreach lead Nicholas Whitaker continued Google’s PR push for Google+, emphasizing its value as a way to link content (including YouTube videos and written stories) across Google. Google+ Communities and Hangouts on Air were also heavily hyped, although free and low-cost alternatives do have advantages.

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The 4 Essential WordPress Plugins for Business Blogs

wordpress plugins

wordpress plugins

If you run your own business blog, keeping up with the constant workload of payroll, scheduling, and comment management can be nothing short of dizzying. One of the best things about WordPress is the ease with which you can install a veritable galaxy of free plugins. For anyone running a professional blog, plugins are indispensible tools that allow a single admin to consolidate loads of managerial, quality control, and payment tasks, saving you countless hours of time and effort.

In recent years, developers have specifically created a multitude of WordPress plugins for business that can drastically streamline your administrative efforts and make your blog the efficient, content-generating beast it was destined to be. We’re going to go over four in particular that will make your blogging life infinitely easier.

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Django Creator Adrian Holovaty On Turning Data Into Opportunity

Adrian Holovaty2

Adrian Holovaty2

Chicago-based Web developer Adrian Holovaty is a polymath of sorts, though considerably more unassuming. A pioneer of journalism via computer programming, he was the founder of EveryBlock, an innovative site that offered neighborhood news, searchable crime data and local forums until it was shut down earlier this year. Holovaty is best known for co-creating Django, “the Web framework for perfectionists with deadlines,” while working in a newsroom, as a tool to help him build Web applications very quickly. The free, open-source software was publicly released in July 2005, and is used by tens of thousands of users and companies, including Pinterest and Instagram.

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The Two Money Factors for Mobile Media: Location, Relevance

mobile

mobile

Media organizations are still tiptoeing into mobile—both on the content side and with their advertisers—searching for a way to grab eyeballs and monetize this fast-growing channel where traditional paywalls, display ads and stories don’t seem to be as sticky. To do that they’re focusing on two factors: location and relevance, according to a new report—“The Smartphone Choices for Media Companies” just released by International News Media Association (sorry folks, only the summary is free to non-members).

While brands and agencies may be more focused on customer engagement—re-tweets or Facebook likes, for example— publishers want to attract an audience and make it pay, much as they have with print, broadcast and other traditional media. But mobile monetization has been challenging for all players, even as more and more people check news, email and social media via their phones or tablets.

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