A roundup of news on digital tools:
Live feeds in the Twitter timeline: Periscope is inching closer to being a great live news tool as Twitter now can let live feeds run in the app. It can be useful for journalists covering live and unfolding events. It will show up in the Twitter feed, but not in support apps such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.
To use it, open Periscope. Write something about the broadcast before you begin, so followers can understand what’s going on.
As a precaution, have someone with an open Twitter feed checking to make sure your orientation is correct. I have seen many folks using a landscape orientation, which, in Twitter land, isn’t necessary.
And, if viewers want to add live comments or “heart” a broadcast, they still will have to open the Periscope app.
New features on Playbuzz. I’ve written about Playbuzz, the easy quiz generator. If have not used it lately, check it out again. Playbuzz has added several new quiz and poll forms, including a swiper.
The swiper is a Tinder-like function that allows viewers to vote a photo up or down. It’s already being used in awards season the red carpet. It’s ideal for a mobile audience that you can’t get with traditional photo galleries.
Here’s how it’s used for a quick election poll.
We’re waiting with bated breath for a bracket tool; please, Playbuzz?
Genius began as a way to annotate song lyrics, and it still serves this function. But more and more, it’s being used by news organizations to add context to speeches, transcripts or even live events.
It’s super easy to use. Sign up for Genius; once it is activated you can highlight a piece of text, click on a pop-up button, add text, links, embeds from social media.
The Washington Post used Genius to annotate President Obama’s speech Tuesday announcing new executive measures on gun control. It included links to background stories, tweets from the Post’s columnists and experts, and fact-checking.
Just think of how you can use it. For speeches during awards season, or your political leaders’ major addresses. You can use it to fill in the blanks while covering a live event.
It also serves as a social network, so you can connect with other publications to share Genius annotations.
Learn more by clicking here.
Facebook has been testing a live stream directly from its site, and soon will make it available to all Facebook users.
As Forbes has reported, social media live streaming — with Periscope and Meerkat leading the way — is exploding, and viewers will want more in 2016.
You’ll be able to do live video by clicking a live video icon. You can write a description and pick your audience (much like when you post). then click “Go Live.”
Click here for some examples of how it’s been used so far by celebrities, brands and political figures.
Also, Facebook Notes — the expansion of function that didn’t have a high profile, got a facelift, and is starting to look more like a real blogging tool.
You have seen how powerful narratives with photos can be with Humans of New York. Now Facebook is providing a place to include photos, videos and a long narrative in an attractive package.
Here’s more on the Notes update
QUESTION: How could features editors and writers be using this?
The 2016 SFJ Excellence-in-Features Awards contest is accepting entries, and entries can be submitted through March 4. We have new categories this year, including:
Diversity in Digital Features: The coverage of any A&E, features or lifestyle topic that highlights the diversity within a publication’s audience. Diversity can include race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs or other ideologies. One entry consists of a story or a series of stories on the same diversity topic. Multiple bylines accepted. This award is sponsored by the SFJ Foundation.
Best Features Website, Digital Channel or App: The best your publication has to offer in digital A&E, features and lifestyle coverage. Submit a link to a website, features channel or app. Entries are judged on content, which includes timeliness, depth of coverage, voice and style; service, which includes the level of reader interaction and the inclusion of everyday people and useful information; and design, which includes the digital presentation, headlines and “wow” factor. One entry consists of a link to a website, features channel or app.
Today’s tool: Wufoo
What is it? A document creating tool that allows you to create forms that can be shared. It’s created by Survey Monkey, which is used for polls.
How does it work? Log in to the free account (there is a corporate account option available), and begin making a form by clicking boxes that suit your needs.
You get a live view of the form as you’re going along. That allows you to make changes
Can’t decide what works? Click on the template gallery (they’re filled with a lot of business template options, but there are ways to customize the template after you’ve picked them.
Once you’ve saved your form, you can share via social media, embed or just link to it.
Once people have filled out the form and submit it, you will get a notification via email.
It’s easy to use and adapt, especially if you have a callout for recipes, stories, etc.
If you expected a flood of submissions, expect a flood of email notifications
If you are soliciting stories, you’ll have to copy and paste them into a word-friendly file. There’s no easy way to convert it from a form to a story/post.
You also have a 3-form limit each month; otherwise you will have to upgrade your plan. The business/corporate plan also allows you to customize with logos and design.
Take the survey below:
You can use the StoryCorps app to generate your own story ideas.
As you know, NPR’s StoryCorps is launching a big Thanksgiving initiative to document stories between family members on this holiday.
Stories told through the StoryCorps app are being archived at the American Folklife Center at Library of Congress, and are available on the StoryCorps website.
What’s genius is how you can search through the stories to find particular topics.
Ask readers to record targeted interviews; be sure to instruct them to include a certain word (cookies) or town (Omaha) to their interviews. Or arrange a small event (or attend an event) to record interviews of your own.
You can guide your readers by suggesting what questions to ask, or what stories you need.
You also could arrange a small event (or attend an event) to record interviews of your own.
Many universities and historical institutions might have good oral history centers (I found one from Baylor here).
Once they are on the website, they can be embedded into a story or excerpt for print.
Here are some other links to advice on taking oral histories.
Deseret News, April 2013: Preserving family history by using your smartphone
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.
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 26:
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.