December 20, 2018
There’s no shortage of tech companies ready to promise the world to journalists in the form of the Next Great Tool.
Separating the spoons from the sporks could be someone’s full-time job. And actually, it is — mine.
I’ve been Poynter’s digital tools reporter for a year and a half, publishing news about journalism technology and training reporters from all around the world. Every Monday, I send a curated newsletter of seven or so tools, tips and tech trends directly to the email inboxes of nearly 10,000 people. In the five years before that, I built online training about tools for journalists and just about every other ink-stained topic you could imagine.
All this to say, I’ve sorted through plenty of purported industry saviors, time-savers and life-changers so you don’t have to. Here are the tools that I liked the most this year.
Google Dataset Search / free / website
This beta from the search giant collates data sources all over the internet and makes them searchable in the ways that Google does best. For instance, you can search for data from a specific site by entering “site:” followed by a URL or hunt for exact terms by searching for them in quotation marks. Along with links to the results, the tool also shows the datasets’ publication dates, who provides them, authors and descriptions. Plenty of other tools collect and share datasets, but Google is the only one that pulls them together so conveniently.
Headliner / free / website
Serial exploded the podcasting world four years ago. Since then, powerful audio storytelling from NPR, Gimlet, This American Life and other companies has propelled podcasts out of obscurity to the forefront of the media industry. So why is it the case that none of the major social networks natively support audio? Headliner solves that problem by making it exceedingly easy to turn any audio clip under 10 minutes into a video. Upload some audio and Headliner generates a waveform. Slap an image behind it and you have a social-ready audio clip in just a few minutes. The best part? They don’t charge a dime for it.