Digital Tool Tuesday: Facebook bells and whistles

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Stream live video through Facebook Mentions

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?

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Digital Tool Tuesday — Wufoo

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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.

Tips

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:

Digital tool Tuesday: Harnessing oral histories for your market

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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

Digital Tool Tuesday: Resistance is futile — you must learn Excel

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Journalists attending an APME Newstrain workshop last month were getting a crash course in using spreadsheets to tell stories and reveal information from public records.

The workshop, led by Michael Berens at the Chicago Tribune, reminded me that all journalists should be able to grasp the basics of Excel and similar spreadsheets.

But why should features journalists do the same?

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Digital Tool Tuesday — The List App

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The tool: The List app

What is it? An iPhone app for creating lists. It’s designed as a marketing tool for celebrities and brands (“The Office” writer B.J. Novak is one of the developers). But it could be a great tool for repurposing copy for the social media audience. It’s also great for extending the life of evergreen packages or finding a new audience for your recipes. You can share your lists on Twitter and Facebook.

How does it work? Download the free app (only available through iPhone) and sign in. Much like Facebook and Twitter, you can follow and be followed by folks. It’s pretty easy to create a list using the handy dashboard.

Make your list. Each item can have a photo, a comment (which can include a link). Your headline and read-in also can include a link.

Examples: PBS created a list to complement “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having” episode on Barcelona. the Washington Post posted a list of “Creepy Internet Rabbit Holes.”

Digital Tool Tuesday — Tableau Public

Data visualization using Tableau.

Data visualization using Tableau.

The tool: Tableau Public

What is it? Some elegant interactive tools are being made using the Tableau Public tool, which is available at no charge. It’s free data visualization software that — with a little tutorial — you can build interactive maps, tools and other cool stuff.

How does it work? Using a data set you get (or building your own on Excel), building a graphic that tells your story well.

There’s almost too much here to digest (for quickie graphic tools, try canva.com) but if you have an enthusiastic journalist who wants to dabble in data, let them play around with this.

It’s pitched to investigative reporters for serious projects, but think of the way you can use it to round up restaurant inspection reports, compare school data, or even create.

There is a resource page to view videos that show you how to use the data or how to navigate the dashboard.

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Digital Tool Tuesday — Disaster tips

Lead image from "The Flood: What We Saw" published at thestate.com

Lead image from “The Flood: What We Saw” published at thestate.com

Last week, my state gurgled under 20 inches of rain, roads buckles, dams split open, and at least several neighborhoods in my city were under water.

I’m no longer with The State, so I wasn’t able to discern the thinking behind its disaster coverage. But from my point to view it was stellar, with constant live updates paired with great individual storytelling opportunities with words, video and photos.

I thought about what digital tools might be helpful for getting through a disaster, and am sharing some good practices that you might employ if you have a similar situation.

Find more tips and links in this Dart Center guide.

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