MULTIMEDIATING 101

Tools for Reporting Across Platforms

Tag: journalism

Data Visualization with amMap and amCharts…

There are many different web tools for making free interactive maps, but of the ones I’ve explored, amMap provides the most visually appealing templates.

AmMap is a package of Flash maps that you can easily customize. Change colors, add text or photos, adjust zoom — the options are endless. I’ll warn you though, you need to be familiar with or at least willing to get familiar with some HTML coding to use amMaps properly. (Or at least find someone in your company or organization who is.)

The tool gives you a range of different maps to work with, including individual country maps and comprehensive world maps depicting either countries or continents.

With little HTML experience of my own (and a whole lot of Google searches), I was able to put together this map using data from the Institute of International Education. The map shows the top 10 countries of origin for international students studying in the U.S. during the 2008-2009 school year.


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This is an extremely helpful tutorial that can get you started. If you’re interested in seeing another example, here’s one from USA Today on swine flu cases.

You can download amMap for free from the website. Once downloaded, extract the ZIP files to a new folder and get to work!

AmMap is a product of amCharts, a company based in Lithuania. You can also use amCharts to create clean, well-put together graphs and data charts, including pie charts, bar graphs and scatter plots. Click here for details.

Future of Journalism at Your Fingertips…

The Nieman Journalism Lab has released an iPhone app!

The lab is a project of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.  The lab’s stated focus is to help journalism figure out its future in the age of the Internet.

If you’re a news junkie looking to keep up with industry changes, the Nieman Journalism Lab is a great resource. And its app, now available in Apple’s App Store at ZERO COST, makes the info even easier to access.

The lab says the app features all its stories and tweets, as well as the most buzzed-about links overall from Twitter and recent reports from other sources of journalism news.

If you don’t have an iPhone, you can still keep up with the Nieman Journalism Lab on its website.

To Use or Not to Use? The DSLR and Video Journalism

The emergence of digital SLR cameras capable of shooting HD video has prompted an informal debate about whether the cameras are suitable for video journalism.

Naysayers like Cliff Etzel of solovj.com say the shallow depth of field and cinema look produced by DSLRs distract from the story.  Etzel says the need for additional equipment to improve a DSLR’s functionality as a video camera is another major drawback.

But take a look at a news piece shot with a DSLR, and you’ll see that when done right, you really can get a superb product.

Here’s an example shot by photo and video journalist Dan Chung in China for British newspaper the Guardian. (It takes a little time to load, but it’s well worth your patience!)

Chung’s website, DSLR News Shooter, is a great resource if you’re interested in seeing more.

For the video above, Chung used the Canon EOS 550D, a.k.a. the Rebel T2i, which is miraculously, not extremely expensive. I recently purchased my own and have been very happy with its performance so far.  The camera comes complete with an external mic jack, so you can get higher quality sound. The kit I bought rounded out to about $1100 and included an extra lens. Check B&H for deals.