Toolbox Newsletter, Issue XVI

Dec. 29, 2020

Best Tools I Used in 2020, Part I

Editor’s note: Part II will run in the Jan. 12 newsletter.

Happy almost-New Year, everyone. We’re all excited to see 2020 in the rearview mirror, but some good did come out of it. In a year like no other, we look back at some of the favorite tools we shared with you since we launched this newsletter on June 30:

  • Journalist Studio | A collection of Google data visualization tools, including a new chart-making tool called Common Knowledge.

  • | The free version of the software lets you build a web-based mobile app you can save to your phone or tablet home screen using nothing more than a spreadsheet. You’ll be reading more about this app in a future guest newsletter from CUNY’s Jeremy Caplan.

  • AirTable | Offers a variety of table templates beyond just sharing raw data. It has project management templates specific to video and other digital projects, and you can add many design and color-coded features to the tables. Embeds easily into a site and has great filters and search built-in.

  • Free platform to stream live video from your phone or desktop. Download the phone app and set up an account there or on the desktop version. Think of it as a “LinkedIn for Broadcasters.” Individual journalists can create home pages, go live from anywhere and followers are notified on their home screens.

    It offers many more features than periscope and follows a modified Substack model so it can be monetized. Team pages, where a newsroom can have a group of reporter accounts, can be set up by Happs staff. It’s worth experimenting with as the interface is intuitive and fun to use.

  • | Provides electronic copies of thousands of interesting Federal Government documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. 

  • Diverse Sources | A database of experts features underrepresented voices and perspectives in science, health and environment work. The News Media Alliance offers tips on how to find diverse sources.

  • 10 Journalism Jobs and a Photo of My Dog | A curated newsletter list of journalism jobs from across the U.S. with links back to the original source so you can follow up with potential employers.

  • Race & Gender Hotline | SPJ partnered with paid, experienced Black and LGBT journalists and educators, including the Trans Journalists Association, to provide a 24/7 hotline to answer journalists’ questions. 

  • The Journalism 360 project released the Guide to Immersive Ethics, authored by McClatchy’s Jayson Chesler and Theresa Poulson.

  • And finally: Journalist’s Toolbox! We redesigned over the summer, added thousands of new links, more than 50 training videos and this newsletter.

Around the Web …

Newspaper Names from the US and Canada is a project by Jay Rosen and others to categorize newspaper names. This Twitter thread explains what they’re doing with the list of 489 English language papers, sorted by state and city.

In Quotes …

“In a world where everyone is a publisher, no one is an editor … that is the danger we face today.”

— Scott Pelley in a speech at Quinnipiac University on 10 May 2013. YouTube video.


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