What’s Worth My Time? Digital Journalism Tools To Try (or Not)
After attending the San Diego Chapter Society of Professional Journalists’ panel on digital journalism earlier this spring, we came away with pages of notes on new journalism tools to try out. We divided the tools among us and have spent the last couple months evaluating which ones are worth our time, and which ones may not be a fit for us or PR professionals, in general.
Journalism tools worth a look-see
Facebook 360: This newer Facebook feature lets your friends and business/group page fans interact with your photos by creating an immersive experience. Now, you can upload your panoramic pictures or photospheres (created using the Google Camera and Google Streetview apps), and your friends and fans can move their phones or mouse (if viewed on a desktop) to see what you see on a larger scale. We’ve already used it to highlight a client event at the San Diego Convention Center.
Nuzzel: Nuzzel is an app/website/newsletter that curates the stories most shared by your friends on Facebook and Twitter, so there’s no chance of FOMO. Yes, it’s within your personal “bubble,” but it does bring some interesting issues up to the top, and it also allows you to curate your own newsletter to subscribers with notes about the stories you’ve read and want to share.
Pew Research Center Newsletter: Journalists love stats, especially new stats, and Pew provides a credible stream of reports that may be beneficial to clients. For example, one of the latest newsletters, noted “Roughly two-thirds of Americans ages 65 and older go online, while half have broadband at home and about four-in-ten own smartphones.”
CrowdTangle: This tool partners with well-established businesses such as BBC, PBS, Facebook and BuzzFeed to provide users with a range of information that is useful for those in the business of publishing content. The types of tools provided include competitive analysis, content discovery and trending topics, among others. For easy access, it combines the information curated from its partners into one real-time dashboard. Users can also set up custom notifications to create the user experience that’s best for them. This can be extremely useful for marketers or PR professionals, and it would be interesting to see how using CrowdTangle compares to executing these features in-house.
Meh, not super impressed …
AskWhale.com: This was universally one of our least favorites. It’s basically like Quora, but people ask supposed influencers questions and people respond in 15-second videos. We’re not sure why answers should be in video form, except for narcissistic purposes. Pass.
Banjo: Self-marketed as the “world’s first crystal ball,” Banjo gives users the ability to know things that are happening in the world before others. Banjo uses social and digital signals to keep track of things like the weather, photos taken and trending topics being discussed in a certain area. This compilation creates an idea of what’s “normal,” so that when something “abnormal” happens the system can detect it. Without paid access it is unclear how users can post to Banjo or pull information from Banjo, but this is something that could potentially benefit businesses that work nationally and internationally and have some funds to spare. We also know that local broadcast networks in San Diego regularly use it when they need to pull up video and aren’t able to send a camera out.
Slack: This one is a little tricky. While we like the idea of eliminating email (the primary purpose of this tool), we’re not convinced that it’s worth the switch if you’re a smaller company. Slack has been lauded by larger companies, however, since it lets you create communication channels for specific departments, locations, projects, teams, etc. A couple features we do like: You can integrate tools you’re already using into the platform, like Twitter, Dropbox and Google Docs, and everything in the channels is searchable – including content within documents like pdfs. Can’t do that with Outlook!
Storyful: While this may not be the perfect fit for PR people, Storyful is a great tool for media to gather content, video and pictures from around the globe for their stories, and ensure the info. is accurate. Storyful verifies content before curating it on its site, and making it available to users. We actually coordinated the sale of footage to the company of a record-breaking skydive formation video taken by client Skydive Perris. Check it out.