The Content Creation Tools for Journalists pack (CCT4J) provides journalists with a set of advanced tools to create, publish and monetize their stories. It enables the authoring of customized text layouts with structured content, and the creation of personalization templates. It also allows to import content from external collaborative sources. The Content Creation Tools for Journalists pack can be installed as an addon to Orion or Chyrp CMS applications on DNN, or offered as a standalone package for all other platforms.
We take a journey through the many tools that are available for journalists to use in the content creation process – from idea generation to distribution.
Answering a question for searchers is key to getting your content to show up in search results. But how do you know what the question is? With Answer the Public, you can plug in a keyword and the tool will give you the most popular Google and Bing searches related to that term. Free and paid options are available depending on your needs.
If you have a topic in mind but are having trouble coming up with a headline, BuzzSumo can show you what headlines are performing best for that topic. You also can provide the URL for a competitor and see what headlines are working best for them. The free plan allows for 10 searches per month, but several paid plans are available as well.
This online whiteboard is a great tool for journalists who are collaborating with one or more team members working remotely (basically all of us). Users can provide instant feedback to avoid emailing back and forth or vote for favorite ideas to make decisions faster. Digital sticky notes and flowcharts are available, as well as a number of plug-ins that allow you to work with your favorite apps and tools within the platform.
When coming up with your next story, it’s important to keep ideas organized. XMind is a brainstorming tool that helps you make creative mind maps that can aid in efficiency, creativity, and collaboration.
Currents, in the words of Parsely’s Co-Founder and CEO, Sachin Kamdar, is the world’s first live view of what people care about online. Built on Parse.ly’s network of thousands of high-traffic, premium content sites, Currents is a free tool that shows the attention of over 1 billion people each month and 850,000 viewed articles each day. It enables publishers to see which topics are performing the best in news sites around the world. It also shows the keywords that people are using to search the content and how those topics have performed historically.
While TinEye has been around for a few years, its importance as a tool has grown as journalists have become increasingly vulnerable to fake news especially around imagery and photos. TinEye is an image search engine that uses image identification technology rather than keywords, metadata or watermarks. When you submit an image on the Tineye website it will scour the web to find out when and where it was used first. TinEye creates a unique digital signature or fingerprint of the image and matches it with other indexed images. This also allows it to determine whether the image has been digitally tampered with.
Account Analysis looks at all of a Twitter user’s public tweets and provides analysis through easy-to-grasp visualizations. It’s helpful for anyone trying to learn more about another user. Use it when you want to make sure someone is legit before you embed a tweet in a story, fact-check a bold claim, or attempt to identify if a user is a bot or not.
This site collects and makes available public safety and other audio streams from across the country. Even better, with a subscription, it gives users access to 365 days of archived recordings.
An organised calendar is the key to productivity and working from home requires us schedule even more interviews, meetings and events.
Calendly is an appointment scheduling tool which can be a handy way to portion off hours where you are available for others. It is as easy as signing up and inputting your available hours. You can adjust this to be in set windows (i.e. 30-minute slots) and on particular days, with some other customisable options like upfront questions and reminders. You receive a custom URL that you can make public (add it to your Linktree?) or send out to anyone that wants to pencil themselves in for a chat.
It is often used by mentors and consultants so others can book them for slots which are mutually workable. All this is available on the free tier, and an added bonus is that it integrates with several platforms like Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams so that the call takes place there.
Premium and pro accounts of $8 and $12 per month respectfully will give you some added features like SMS notifications and remove the watermark from your public diary.
Digital Health Lab
The coronavirus beat is not going away any time soon, and we are still learning new information about the virus. To put it another way, there is still a lot of false information out there.
Many reporters have had to adjust to this new beat and it has been difficult knowing which sources to trust and how to verify information quickly and reliably. Sound familiar? Here is a handy tool worth bookmarking.
Non-profit tech company Meedan launched a Digital Health Lab in May of last year to fact-check covid-19 information by an in-house expert team. It consists of public health researchers, epidemiologists, and infectious disease specialists, in collaboration from the Stanford Health Communications Initiative and the Harvard School of Public Health.
The website has a treasure trove of FAQ’s which should answer most of your burning questions. But if you still cannot find what you are looking for, you can also submit questions and they will notify you when your question has been answered.
Want to know more about the process? In-house journalist and editorial lead of the lab, Megan Marrelli, joined us on the Journalism.co.uk podcast last year to talk about the process of fact-checking science that is not fully understood, or where there is simply not enough knowledge in the scientific community.
Here is one that journalism students will rejoice. We have all experienced the moment when you are writing up an essay and you have found the perfect academic piece to cite – only for the paper to be locked behind a paywall.
Turns out you might just be looking in the wrong place. Unpaywall is a free and legal browser extension which simply monitors the internet for an alternative source where the paper is free.
If you download the tool (available on Chrome and Firefox), a small padlock icon will appear on the right-hand side of your screen. If it is green, that means that Unpaywall has located a free source of the paper. Simply click to open the document. If it is grey, sadly, it has not found a free version. You win some, you lose some.
This can also be a handy workaround for any journalists who needs to look up academic sources, for example, science reporters or those covering covid-19.
The world’s top journalists rely on the tools of our trade. Whether it’s breaking news, a long-form investigative report, or gripping narrative fiction, good storytelling requires a solid foundation of compelling storytelling tools and techniques. Imagine if you had all these tools at your fingertips.