20 Toolkits for Journalists

Got some extra time to learn a new skill or two during your remaining few weeks of summer vacation? You’re in luck!

We’ve compiled a list of twenty of the best online resources for journalists. The following links are ranked in no particular order, so be sure to give equal weight and attention to each website. Enjoy!

1.) The Journalist’s Toolbox: www.journaliststoolbox.org

This journalism toolbox is presented by SPJ. The website is a compilation of hundreds of useful links for journalists and is updated frequently. Topics include (but are not limited to) global journalism, college media, high school journalism, fact checking resources, mobile journalism, state and local government, school violence, religion, and Twitter resources.

2.) Journalist’s Resource: www.journalistsresource.org

This website contains information on core journalism skills (AP Style, Interviewing, Math for Journalists,etc), links to online tutorials, and policy studies about a variety of subjects pertaining to the environment, economics, society and government.

3.) Media Bistrowww.mediabistro.com

Media Bistro is the home of many media related blogs such as  TVNewser, TVSpy, MediaJobsDaily and 10,000 Words. The website contains a variety of how to videos with a diverse range of topics. Videos include but are not limited to “How to Build an Online Portfolio,” “How to Write a Cover Letter,” “LinkedIn for Journalists” “Using YouTube Effectively,” and “How To Write a Resume.” The website also offers resources for freelancers and people searching for media-related jobs.

4.) Society of Professional Journalistswww.spj.org

SPJ’s website includes on-demand training videos for members and a variety of other useful tools and guides about topics like freedom of information, diversity, and ethics.

5.) Mashable: www.mashable.com

Mashable is an independent news source dedicated to covering digital culture, social media, and technology. This website is useful to journalists, as it keeps up with the latest trends in technology and the media.

6.) Cyber Journalist: www.cyberjournalist.net

This news and resource website focuses on how digital technology is transforming the media. The site contains a variety of articles about the future of media, innovation and social media. It also includes a gallery of great journalistic work and a few tips & tools for journalists.

7.) Digital News Journalist: digitalnewsjournalist.com

Digital News Journalist is a service of the CUNY Graduated School of Journalism dedicated to providing students and professionals with tips, tools and resources crucial to producing leading-edge multimedia journalism. The website contains articles about miscellaneous journalism & technology related topics and also includes a guide to “Twitter for Journalists.”

8.) Investigative Reporters and Editorswww.ire.org

This website is useful for journalists utilize computer assisted reporting. The IRE Resource center is a major research library containing more than 23,250 investigative stories and more than 3,000 tip sheets on how to cover specific beats or do specific stories. The website also contains a comprehensive database library  with spreadsheets relating top topics like business, elections, public safety, transportation, and health. These records can be very useful to you when producing an investigative piece or searching for the perfect story.

9.) Poynter Institute: www.poynter.org

The Poynter Institute is a school dedicated to teaching and inspiring journalists and media leaders. Seminars and training sessions conducted by the institute are not free, but the website does contains some valuable information and perspective that is free of charge, including news and blogs about the industry and a small “how to” section on the website.

10.) Knight Digital Media Center (Tutorials): http://multimedia.journalism.berkeley.edu/tutorials

This tutorial website is one of the best around! It contains tutorials about both core concepts and skills. The interface is easily accessible and the descriptions in the tutorials are accompanied by photos.

11.) Nieman Journalism Lab: www.niemanlab.org

The Neiman Journalism Lab is a project of the Neiman Foundation at Harvard University. The website contains articles about the future of journalism in an Internet age.

12.) Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press Open Government: http://rcfp.org/ogg

The Open Government Guide is a complete compendium of information on every state’s open records and open meetings laws. Each state’s section is arranged according to a standard outline, making it easy to compare laws in various states. If you’re a new user of this guide, be sure to read the Introductory Note and User’s Guide.

13.) Student Press Law Center: www.splc.org

An excellent resource for learning your rights as a journalist. The website has many handouts and presentations about topics like libel and privacy, the First Amendment, censorship, and shield laws. If you need guidance writing a letter requesting public records, check out SPLC’s FOI letter generator!

14.) Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism: www.journalism.org

This is a great website for keeping up with the latest news in the media industry. It also contains several data sets under the “Numbers” tab, a list of tools for journalists, and a list of ethic codes from multiple journalism organizations.

15.) National Freedom of Information Coalition: www.nfoic.org

NFOIC strives to ensure everyone’s right to information. The website includes information about state and federal FOI laws and also contains resources for both levels.

16.) 10,000 Words: www.mediabistro.com/10000words

10,000 Words is a blog owned by Media Bistro. The blog specifically focuses on journalism and technology. The website is divided into a “Writing” section, a “Blogging” section,  a “Videos” section, a “Photos” section, a “Social Media” section, and a “Jobs” section.

17.) J-Lab: www.j-lab.org

J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism intends to help journalists and citizens use digital technologies to develop new ways for people to participate in public life through the media. While this website does not contain many tangible resources for journalists, it includes some interesting articles about innovation in the field.

18.) Will Sullivan’s and Reynolds Journalism Center’s Mobile Journalism Reporting Tools Guide: http://www.rjionline.org/news/mobile-journalism-reporting-tools-guide

This website contains mobile journalism reporting tools. It includes lists of audio editing apps, file transmission apps, live streaming apps, micro-reporting apps, photo editing apps, video editing apps, note-taking apps, and more.

19.) NewsLab: http://www.newslab.org

NewsLab is an online resource and training center for journalists in all media that has one simple goal: to help journalists do better work by building their skills and broadening their thinking. The website offers offers storytelling strategies, tip sheets, and other tools for journalists.

20.) The Maynard Institute: http://mije.org

The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (MIJE) helps the nation’s news media reflect America’s diversity in staffing, content and business operations. Through its professional development programs, the institute prepares managers for careers in both business — and news — sides of the journalism industry.

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  • Owen Good

    Maybe I can polish it this way. As I viewed them, the Kunkel Awards were meant to identify, praise and encourage good journalism in a rather immature sector of it. Eg. This story, which conforms to journalistic norms, is a better story than this one, which is full of purple, self-indulgent prose, even if it’s about a topic of greater societal interest or importance. To me, that would be a greater corrective effect. Your judges have had zero problem calling out the deficiencies _of those they honor_. Brad Glasgow was beaten up in his citation for burying the lede and burdening the story with a recap. Kotaku was called out for making submissions outside of the awards period.

    So, how about the judges turn that judgment on those who submitted work _for praise_ and tell them why _it is worthy of none, actually._ I believe that would have more of a corrective effect.

    And while I don’t doubt the judges’ professionalism or rectitude, I also don’t expect them to be following the ongoing belligerence between the liberal mainstream games media and their antagonists in GamerGate. That might inform why a 91-word post from Jezebel, which isn’t even a games publication but for sure is part of the media group GamerGate despises most, was submitted. One would figure its brevity might trip a flag that this isn’t a serious candidate for anything, even disparagement.

    We can have an honest argument about whether or not Jezebel, whose proclivity to manufacture outrage and whose tendentious sociopolitical observations are very well known, deserves to have “It Should Be No Woman’s Sky” treated as a serious argument in order to deny them an “it’s just satire” defense in wasting their readership’s time and attention. But that’s not the kind of argument or judgment I expect out of a series of awards meant to inspire and encourage better journalism.

  • Michael Koretzky

    The judges praised where they could, but when faced with flawed finalists, they were honest. However, I’m the one who decided to write the blog posts about those that didn’t win, then link to those that did. My successor may not agree. She can do it differently.

    Once again, I’ll say that the judges have done an excellent job avoiding the hyper-partisanship in the gaming scene. They can only judge what’s submitted, so if you think that’s a big problem, the solution is easy: Submit some good stuff next year, your own or someone else’s.

  • Andrew Whatever

    I think you know the answer here. “Awards” that arose as part of Gamergate nonsense trash a bunch of articles they perceive as the worst of feminism. Shocking. The sad part is that the SPJ is going along with this nonsense. One dude anyway.

  • Andrew Whatever

    Because it’s not too difficult to figure out, especially as someone who actually reads their real articles sometimes. But if you’re just a mad anti-feminist Gamergate type sure, it’s tough to figure out. Or maybe still obvious but some willful ignorance helps push the agenda.

  • Andrew Whatever

    Oddly enough the partisan vision you want is so predictable I can even guess which side you’re on!

  • Andrew Whatever

    Can you point me to the list of professional journalists doing the judging? Agenda seems pretty clear here, curious about the diversity of judges.

  • Michael Koretzky

    If you google me and decide I’m a “mad anti-feminist Gamergate type,” I guess I can’t argue with you. But if you haven’t, I won’t argue with you.

  • Michael Koretzky

    We revealed one judge here…


    …and one is the new director of these awards…


    …while the third is a business editor and avid gamer who met his wife in a Zelda forum.

  • Andrew Whatever

    “He sourced it with mods from a pro-GamerGate subreddit, although to be clear, he didn’t take sides in the GamerGate controversy.” AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Ok I get it now. And the third judge is some mystery judge I guess, not difficult to guess why. Do you guys have any plans to really legitimize this thing beyond Gamergate nonsense? Is that even possible at this point?

  • Andrew Whatever

    I’m referring to the people who submit these kind of articles to a video game journalism award. You spent a lot of time talking to Gamergaters, surely you picked up some idea of how they operate by this point. Tip: You’re going to have a lot of trouble getting anyone to take these awards seriously if you can’t extract yourself from their nonsense, and giving them a platform to continue to trash feminists they perceive are ruining gaming isn’t going to help. Constructive criticism: Jezebel isn’t really related to game journalism anyway, the fact that they’re here at all shows a huge lacking in how you are running this. Perhaps it will change for the better with the new management though.

  • Andrew Whatever

    EXACTLY. That Jezebel thing wouldn’t even be seriously considered if it wasn’t part of this ongoing Gamergate nonsense. These awards will never be taken seriously if they can’t extract themselves from Gamergate nonsense. I don’t even know how that would be possible without completely revamping both the nomination and judging processes, instead of blindly defending the status quo aka awards that rose in the midst of Gamergate nonsense that are heavily influenced by Gamergaters.

  • Michael Koretzky

    I have no more details to offer. So if you’ve read about our process and our updates and still feel we’re not legitimate, I suppose the Kunkels aren’t for you.

  • amyshulk

    I always did learn the most from others’ mistakes


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