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Digital Tool Tuesday: SFJ conference wrap-up, with links and great story ideas

September 1, 2015 Leave a comment


The Society for Features Journalism conference at the University of Maryland was a great success.

In case you didn’t make it, here’s a list of the digital tools we discussed during a Friday morning session with Betsey Guzior, engagement editor at Bizwomen, and Corey Takahashi, a multimedia instructor at Syracuse University, and at other sessions.

 Digital tools

Whadda looking at_

Canva Twitter card

Screenshot 2015-08-27 11.41.20 chart

  • Infogram: free version to visualize data (above):
  • IMGflip: easy way to make annoying gifts:
    • Also makes memes
    • Can make pie charts – can add as many slices
  • Twitter cards: creates a text/image card when readers tweek a link:
    • Creates attractive hyperlinks
    • Needs a verified account
    • If there is an error, will replicate through story
  • Mosaically: allows you to make a high resolution zoomable mosaic:
spurrier quiz

Playbuzz quiz

Great examples

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Campus Connection: How to write resumes that impress

August 20, 2015 Leave a comment

School is starting again — and it’s never too early to think about your application for the next internship or your first job.

That’s the focus of our current issue of Campus Connection.

We talk to Dennis Anderson, executive editor of the Peoria Journal Star, about what types of resumes catch his eye and what impresses him.

Here’s something to remember: “But what really helps to make a resume great is a concise sentence at the top, just
under the contact information and before the candidate’s experience. This is your shot to tell the hiring manager who you are and what you can do for the organization.”

Think of it as your Twitter bio, but serious.

sfj campconn4

Digital Tool Tuesday: Canva

August 18, 2015 Leave a comment
A quote/image combination made with Canva. Ten of these were made into a photo gallery.

A quote/image combination made with Canva. Ten of these were made into a photo gallery.

The digital tool:

What does it do? Allows you to combine text and photos to make Twitter and Facebook images, posters, etc. You can build an image with a quote, a headline or a tease to use along with any social media links.

How does it work? After you’ve signed up, you get to do a test piece. Canva will gently guide you through the process. You can upload your own images, and you have plenty of choice in font and style of the text you want to add.

Once you’ve created your image, you can download it as a .png, then convert it as a JPEG for use with a tweet or a Facebook post.

Canva provides images, including icons, shapes, illustrations and photos. You can upload your own. Most of the images are available for free.

The free version is pretty generous on what you can do, so you might want to stick with that. A Canva for Work version (paid) allows you to create brand templates and even more. Certain images cost very little to buy.


  • The choices are a bit overwhelming; a graphic designer might help you choose a style that complements the style of your section/website.
  • The save button isn’t easy to find, but it’s a drop down under the “find” button on the top left.
  • You can save your creations and use them over again.

How it’s used: How about this photo gallery with inspiring quotes from female business leaders in the Silicon Valley?

Find more Digital Tool Tuesday items at

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Digital Tool Tuesday: Analytics for dummies

August 11, 2015 Leave a comment

sfj digital tool 0811

Your analytics folks would love to send you more metric reports. Really.

But you’re too busy to see whether your tweets or your Facebook posts are hitting with readers.

Both social networks have easy ways to see how your posts are doing.

tweet activity 1


You can look at individual tweets to see how they did, and you can check overall how your handle is doing.

To check on the success of a tweet:

Look at any tweet (or a tweet you have quoted about) and, among the options, you’ll see grayed out bars. Click on them.

A pop-up window will show you the tweet, and reveal the number of impressions, total engagements, detail expands and favorites.

tweet activity 2

Impressions: The number of people who saw your tweet.

Engagements: The number of people who interacted with your tweet

Detail expands: The number of people who viewed the details about your tweet.

Favorites: The number of people who favorited your tweet

If you’d like to see how you’re doing overall, sign up for Twitter Analytics.

This web page will guide you through the process.

A dashboard will allow you to see which tweets have done well, who has mentioned you, and who your top twitter followers are.

tweet activity 3

Note: This is available on, but not Tweetdeck or other apps that compile tweet lists and the such.


Facebook Insights are available to any administrator of a Facebook page. You can access the insights by clicking through on the two numbers available.

facebook activity 1

Again, you’ll get a dashboard that simply shares how many likes your page gets, what your top posts are, and how many people clicked through to your link.

facebook activity 2 facebook activity 3

You can also root out demographics on who is liking your page, and find out best times your audience is interacting with you.

Note: Insights are available after at least 30 people like your page.

Learn more about Page Insights here.

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Digital Tool Tuesday: Juxtapose

August 6, 2015 Leave a comment
Berlin, in 1945, and 2015.

Berlin, in 1945, and 2015.

What is it? JS Juxtapose

What does it do? Creates an embeddable “before and after” photo slider using similar pieces of media

How does it work? Through the website,, you can create a slide following the simple instructions.

Photos must already be published to a website, since you must paste in the URL.

First, paste in the URL where the first image resides. Add a date (useful to the reader) and a caption.

Add the “after” photo’s URL, type in the date and a caption.

Click on preview to make sure your slider works.

Then, click on publish.

That action will get you an embed code that you can use in your story.



  • The photos cannot be re-cropped in this tool. You must use whatever tool to crop the image before it publishes.
  • A common workaround for news websites is to publish a photo gallery with all the images before you create your sliders.
  • Create rich captions to guide your readers through the process.
  • Can you use this strictly for a makeover home design story? How about a standing history story or series?



What better example than Berlin 1945 and 2015?




SFJ launches Crowdrise campaign to support fellowship, mentorship programs

August 5, 2015 Leave a comment
In 2012, the SFJ convention at the University of Maryland included a trip to the Newseum.

In 2012, the SFJ convention at the University of Maryland included a trip to the Newseum.

We are on Crowdrise! Check us out at

Crowdrise is a great way to build support for the work SFJ does. Own main goal is to underwrite the costs of our diversity fellowship program and to launch a mentorship program for student journalists.
Thanks to about a dozen donors so far, we’ve raised $765 — almost enough to underwrite the total cost for one diversity fellow to attend our annual convention! We love having the fellows there because we get to learn from each other. It’s all about sharing.
So let’s keep it going.
Here’s what your donation will do for SFJ Diversity Fellows:

$35: Shuttle from the airport to the University of Maryland

$50: Underwrite the costs for a fellow to attend an SFJ panel discussion on how to help your newsroom make the transition to digital; or a session on ‘show-and-steal’ content ideas to drive traffic and engage readers; or training on how to sharpen your quick video skills.

$75: Shuttle to Washington for Q/A session with columnist Gene Weingarten and followed by a reception with editor Marty Baron.

$150: Foot the bill for one night at the conference hotel.

$1,000: Underwrite the total cost for one fellow.

$5,000-$10,000: Help SFJ launch a mentorship program that pairs professionals with college journalism students, including a weekend writing bootcamp in Washington D.C., distance learning and ongoing personal mentorship.

The SFJ Foundation is a 501c3, and your donations are tax deductible. 

SFJ Conference Schedule

July 20, 2015 Leave a comment
Knight Hall at the University of Maryland

Knight Hall at the University of Maryland

SFJ Conference Schedule

Aug. 26-29, 2015

College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, University of Maryland

NOTE: A free continental breakfast will be served in the Knight Hall Atrium Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning from 8:30 to 9 a.m.

All sessions are in Knight Hall on the University of Maryland campus, except the Thursday afternoon/evening trip to the Washington Post, where we’ll hear four speakers, including Editor Marty Baron and two-time Pulitzer winner Gene Weingarten. We’ll have time between speakers (before dinner) for some small group tours of the Post.


4-5:45 p.m. SFJ Board Meeting: Board and committee chairs

5-6 p.m. Registration, Knight Hall Atrium (a fairly short walk from the College Park Marriott, our conference hotel on the edge of campus).

6-8 p.m.: Opening Reception, Knight Hall Atrium.

Read more…

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