Charles Minshew’s lecture on free online tools is the most immediately useful lecture topic so far. Minshew demonstrated that there is an online tool for every aspect of multimedia story-telling.
One of the first tools presented was the social network aggregator Rebel Mouse.
My Rebel Mouse profile page unedited, immediately after creation. Launched last summer, the site is new enough to be unknown to Wikipedia.
When I created the website I allowed it to link to my Facebook, Twitter, and Google + accounts and it was populated with stories from those sites with little apparent regard for time. Seemingly random Youtube clips I tweeted from the summer share space with recent tweets from accounts I follow.
The current system of story selection reinforces accountability across all social media platforms all the time. While there are settings to manage stream of information, the default settings could punish those with embarrassing past posts.
The site itself looks very much like your own personal Huffington Post, which makes sense as it was developed by former HuffPo CTO Paul Berry.
Another online tool Minshew introduced was Timeline JS, a tool for making multimedia timelines.
The short-lived Youtube video fad “Sh*t (insert adjective) People Say” is organized chronologically using Timeline JS.
While user-friendly, Minshew was quick to warn against over-use of this, or any, multimedia tool. He encouraged journalists to move beyond the mindset of throwing in a multimedia element arbitrarily and instead to find the most effective tool.
While many previous lectures have stressed the importance of good reporting, this lecture lecture’s unique angle came in its focus on the importance of relating the already obtained information most engagingly to the user.
And if the perfect tool for the job doesn’t exist yet, Minshew touted online resources for learning coding directly such as Code Academy and W3Schools.