Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’

Digital Media Tools: One click away


As we near the SPJ convention in New Orleans; it’s a good time to remind you of all the digital media tools we have written about in the past year.   Just in case you’ve missed some of our past blogs, here is a list of topics we’ve covered.  

How to use Facebook in Journalism

Making Maps with UMappter 

Social media marketing tools for journalists

Getting started with quick, easy data visualization

Data Visualization and Infographic Sites to Bookmark

Build your website for free

Tablet or laptop? For some of us, the choice is obvious

Streamling your social media posting

Quora tries to answer all your questions

How to participate in a Twitter chat

Using Windows Movie Maker to edit audio clips

Google Charts Part 2 of 2: Motion charts

CuePrompter: No more memorizing scripts for your video blog

Digital media skills every young journalist needs 

Tools that help you get more from Twitter

Rebecca Aguilar is an Emmy award winning freelance reporter in Dallas, TX. She is the vice chairman of the SPJ Digital Media Committee, and a board member with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Fort Worth Chapter of SPJ.  She has 30 years of experience: television news, online news and video producing.  She can be contacted at

CuePrompter: No more memorizing scripts for your video blog

Cue PrompterSometimes television reporters make it look so easy when they’re out in the field doing a “live shot.” I know after 27 years in television—it took practice, practice, practice to make a live shot flawless.

I was always concerned that I would say “um, um, and um” too many times, or maybe lose my train of thought. I always thought news anchors had it so easy, because they had a teleprompter for their scripts.

Some of you may be video blogging and are trying to figure out how to make it look natural when you’re on camera recording your report.

Well I found this piece of free webware called CuePrompter. It’s an online teleprompter. It’s amazing because once you get the hang of using it, you’re going look and sound like all those television anchors you see on the nightly news.

All you need is your script, copy and paste into your computer and CuePrompter does the rest for you.

CBT Café produced this excellent video on how to use CuePrompter.

It’s free and easy to use, and more than anything no more fumbling or stumbling or even memorizing your script. Now you’re going to look flawless on camera.

Watch out Katie Couric and Brian Williams—here we come!

Rebecca Aguilar is an Emmy award winning reporter with 29 years of experience. Most of her years have been in television news, but now she is a multimedia freelance reporter based in Dallas, Texas. She is currently a board member with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Writeboard: A free web tool that makes it easy to collaborate on a project

Working on a project with another reporter in another part of the country or maybe on the other side of your city?  No need to get together at the coffee shop or exchange long emails. Check out

The writeboards are web based text documents that you can use when you’re collaborating on a journalism project with other reporters.   If you have to add more information or edit what you have; it’s all done in one place. 

Here’s the bonus; it’s free


Rebecca Aguilar is an Emmy award winning reporter with 29 years of experience.  Most of her years have been in television news, but now she is a multimedia freelance reporter based in Dallas, Texas.   She is currently a board member with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Stop web content thieves from taking your work

Plagiarism is an ugly word.  Have you ever wondered if you are a victim of web content theft? 

A few months ago, I happen to get on a new internet news site where contributors get paid by the click on their story.  I also happen to discover that a story posted by a babysitter-turn-news contributor actually was written by a reporter friend of mine who works for a major newspaper.

The woman who copied and pasted parts of my friend’s story did not credit him.  Sure she only took parts of his story, but it was taken word for word.    Why the news site managers didn’t look into this; that’s another story.   Of course, I told my reporter friend, and he took care of the rest.

At a social networking conference, I learned about a site called Copyscape.  It’s a free plagiarism checker.  Simple to use and right now appears to be the only web tool out there targeting plagiarism.

How does it work? Just put the URL in the search box that you want to check for plagiarism and submit.

Copyscape does the search for free.  It even offers a banner that you can put on your own website that warns people that you use Copyscape for checking.

If you want more bells and whistles you have to pay for it, but that includes a service that is constantly looking for your work for plagiarism and alerts you.

Copyscape has had several favorable reviews by major publications and internet news sites.

Rebecca Aguilar is a freelance multimedia reporter based in Dallas.  She has 29 years of experience and has numerous awards for her work, including several Emmy awards.  She’s also on the board of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.  Rebecca conducts reporting workshops around the country (Finding Sources and Stories, Networking, Live Shots, Getting the Best Interview, Writing to Video, and The Basics Of Multimedia.) She can be contacted at

Create an interactive timeline using Dipity

Interactive timelines are a great visual way to inform and engage users about your news topic.

Dipity timelines can do more than display simple text. Adding photos, links, and pulling in RSS feeds are just a few of the fun features you can play around with.

Timelines created in Dipity can be displayed using a standard linear graph or in ‘Flipbook’ mode which is similar to a multimedia carousel or ‘List’ which displays the content in a cataloged format.

Whether you are detailing a series of events that lead up to a major news event i.e., the spread of the swine flu, or providing a historical and chronological display of events i.e, the History of the New York City Marathon timelines are no longer confined to the boring textbooks of yesteryer.


Go to Dipity and create a free user account.

Click ‘Add a Topic’

A window will appear asking you to choose a method to craft your timeline: Web search, RSS Feed, Blank.

To begin creating a standard timeline choose Blank.


The window will allow you to give the timeline a Title, Desciption, upload a timeline profile picture, add SEO tags, pick a theme, a timezone, and allow you to determine who you will allow to view your timeline.

I would suggest picking a free theme and allowing anyone to view your timeline.

To start creating events on your timeline click the blue button ‘Add an Event’.

A new window will appear that asks you to include a:

  • Title
  • Date
  • Description
  • Upload a picture or paste an image URL
  • Add a link
  • Include the location of the event (Dipity will generate a map for the location of the event)
  • Add a video URL

Once you click ‘Save’ the event will be added to your timeline which you can view in the standard Timeline format, as a Flipbook, List or on the Map.

You can always go back and edit or delete any of the fields by clicking the event located on your timeline.

You can click ‘Add a Source’ to feed other online account data into your timeline i.e., Flickr, Tumblr, FriendFeed and Yelp, to name just a few.

Once you have completed adding in all your ‘events’ you can embed your Dipity timeline into your website, blog, or Facebook. Dipity will generate a customized embed code when you click ‘embed widget’.


Dipity is also social media savvy and allows other Dipity users to comment on your timeline and has Twitter, Facebook and a host of other social networking apps to help you spread the word about your cool new timeline.

Still have more questions? Check out the Dipity FAQ.

If you experiment with the RSS timeline feeds you’ll discover that Dipity automatically pulls in the images embedded into your posts or articles. Personally, I think this is a great feature – one less field for me to fill in!

Examples of Dipity interactive timelines:

Hilary Fosdal is the Interactive Content Manager for Barrington Broadcasting Group. She blogs at and tweets @hilaryfosdal.

Try it: Windows Live Writer for blog publishing

A funny thing happened when I was learning all about WordPress this month at their WordCamp in New York City: I stumbled upon a new Windows desktop application available for download that was created to make blogging easier.

As WordCamp attendees stampeded to an SEO workshop, I attended a Live Writer (beta) presentation by Dani Diaz, a Microsoft developer out of Philadelphia.

The first question Dani posed to the audience was: “How many of you time-out of your online session and lose your material when you are blogging?” My hand shot up.

With WYSIWYG authoring, Live Writer allows bloggers to create posts on their desktop with all the capabilities of blogging software. The settings allow users to transfer posts from Live Writer to major blogging software accounts, fully formatted to that software. That is, you can set Live Writer, for instance, to WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, etc., formatting and when you have completed your post, just send the whole thing over and it will be posted to your account. You can do this with countless blogging accounts by adjusting the Live Writer settings to tell the post where to go.

Here’s how the company explains it on their blog:

Windows Live Writer is a desktop application that makes it easier to compose compelling blog posts using Windows Live Spaces or your current blog service.

Blogging has turned the web into a two-way communications medium. Our goal in creating Writer is to help make blogging more powerful, intuitive, and fun for everyone.

Among the features:

  • integrate text and multi-media to the working Live Writer page
  • integrate live links. Frequently-used links recur automatically as you type them.
  • set publishing schedules. (This one was popular with the crowd)

Live Writer was also built for full compatibility with Windows Live application.

Jessica Durkin is a member of the SPJ Digital Media Commmittee, the Region 3 director for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and is a big advocate of entrepreneurial journalism. Jessica is based in Scranton, PA. She started to track online comunity news start-ups. She’s @jessdrkn.


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