Great online journalism is increasingly expected to combine writing, audio, video, images and graphics, with each part of a story told in the medium best suited to the information being presented. This sounds great in theory, but if you are like most journalists, you are not a software guru or a multimedia specialist and you probably have relatively little experience creating video or graphics, let alone getting them on the internet and strategically placing them in a story.
Journalists should be excited by the Internet. On the Web, words, pictures, video and audio can be woven together in ways that tell stories more effectively than is possible with any of these mediums alone. But in order to weave exceptional, rich, carefully planned online stories, you have to become proficient at a lot of techniques, skills and technologies, many of which you probably thought you were avoiding when you chose journalism as a career.
To help you learn some of these skills and start experimenting with online journalism, we’ve assembled a list of sites and programs that will help you quickly and easily begin using multimedia and the internet to advance your reporting and your storytelling. All of these applications are low-cost. Most are free, though some ask you to pay to access advanced functionality. All are free of spyware and adware, as far as we know (though it is always good to do an Internet search on anything you download and install to be sure). And each should make the work of creating great journalism online at least a little easier.
Our list of easy online publishing tools is a wiki, so please feel free to add links to tools that you’ve used, which fit our criteria, and that are likely to be of great use to other online journalists as well.