Storytelling apps to try from ONA13

coding, Journalism

As part of the UGA ONA group that attended the Online News Association conference in Atlanta this past week, we all covered a few sessions. I really enjoyed this one about new storytelling apps that are free and easy. Posting here for my benefit, but feel free to peruse and use as well.


Innovative Storytelling on a Shoestring #lowcosttools

11:45 am Friday

(Covered by Carolyn Crist)

Christopher Wink, Technically

Tiffany Shackelford, executive director of Association of Alternative Newsmedia

Christopher Wink ‏@christopherwink17 Oct

New ways to tell stories … Tomorrow @tiffanyshack and I are sharing ideas for inspiration. Yours? #lowcosttools #ona13

Christopher Wink ‏@christopherwink18 Oct

@ONAConf Our list of Innovative Storytelling Ideas can be found here … Would love to hear more #lowcosttools #ONA13

Rebecca Aguilar ‏@RebeccaAguilar19h

Tweets from #ONA13 #LowCostTools for News  #storify #lowcosttools #ona13 @newstreadmill

We’re not going to talk about: citizen journalists, Knight Foundation money, highly technical examples

Amy Z. Quinn ‏@AmyZQuinn18 Oct

What @christopherwink @tiffanyshack aren’t going to talk about: citizen journalists, getting grants, or unworkable high-tech. #lowcosttools

Crowdsourcing doesn’t have to suck. Partnerships can work.


#1 Partnerships — easily translated to waste of time

You can’t start with revenue.

WHYY Newsworks Philly NPR affiliate, going through budget mess — how many times can you write that story? Q&A with humor and trying to explain charter schools (use local comedian to promote her stuff but also explain their news in a funny way)

Amy Z. Quinn ‏@AmyZQuinn18 Oct

Partnerships: they don’t have to suck. But they can’t be about revenue, has to be storytelling, says @christopherwink  #lowcosttools


The Media Consortium, Assoc Alt News Media story about Plan B approved for OTC use — WordPress site that pulls in past reporting about update


Graphic artist wanted publicity, instead get artist to cover conference and draw a Web comic about a startup event — different way to tell a story and later he became a paid freelancer for themTeresa Gorman ‏@gteresa18 Oct

@christopherwink says – ‘remember what your mission is.’ What does your audience NEED? #lowcosttools

#2 Crowdsourcing — feels like making out with lot of people don’t know

sherylrockin ‏@sherylrockin18 Oct

“Crowd-sourcing can feel like making out with a bunch of people you don’t know”- if you don’t do it right. Key. #ONA13 #lowcosttools


Curating your community, not speaking to.

Embed strategy of tweets, instagram

#MyMadisonDay from Wisconsin paper, use hashtag to talk about their day, putting it together get a taste of the community, compelling look at mundane to interesting, been one of most popular stories

Brian Creech ‏@brcreech18 Oct

Running theme of #ONA13 : pay attention to the people, human stories behind the digital tools. #lowcosttools


Wikipedia is largest crowdsourced site. Have a Wikipedia day and source yourself because it’ll tell stories in new way, why not share what you’ve been doing.


#3 Technology — VCR? 🙂 Doesn’t have to suck or be intimidating. Create interactive infographics. More visual data content



ZooBurst — digital storytelling tool to create 3D pop-up book

Teresa Gorman ‏@gteresa18 Oct

@tiffanyshack says stop just looking at other news orgs for ideas of what to do. Take off the blinders #lowcosttools #ona13


Take off blinders. Look for ideas and tools outside of journalism. Look for ones dedicated to educators. Some are easier than ones for journalists.


Know why you’re trying to tell a story.

Mila Sanina ‏@pgMila18 Oct

. @tiffanyshack thought that there needed to be a pop-up book explaining the #governmentshutdown  #lowcosttools

#4 Staff – Know what they do and use it.

Musicians, artists, infographics

Charleston City Paper — writer is blacksmith, took photos of his friends in crafting community


What about your people didn’t come on the resume?

Paul Berry ‏@pauleberry18 Oct

Flexible staff: Learn what your staff wants to do outside of their roles. This requires getting to know your coworkers. #lowcosttools #ona13

#5 Formats — What is news, anyway?

Ignore limits.


NPR did Today in 1963. Live events that happened 50 years ago. Powerful and compelling experience and cost them nothing. What has happened in your community that you can do?


Annotated guide to 2011 – Washington City Paper

Alphabetized at top, blurbs of what happened, was popular and great way to wrap up year — know what happened in the year in 10 minutes, linked to old stories so use old work

Melody Kramer ‏@mkramer18 Oct

Good way to encapsulate year: annotate it, like @wcp did: … #lowcosttools #ona13

#6 Evergreen — What about content that lasts? It could help with sponsorships!

By the numbers: How the Treasure Valley’s school district adds up

Go through public data and make long list of numbers

Boise, Idaho paper did graphics about school money spent on textbooks, gifted numbers, percent of students who take advanced math classes


The Road

Albemarle County’s three-decade fight over the Western Bypass, Charlottesville, VA bypass

(partnered with small technology shop to do Snowfall-like scrolling page and maps and more)

Sara Clarke ‏@seclarke18 Oct

“Snowfall can suck it.” – @tiffanyshack at #lowcosttools #ONA13


Disclosures are important if you help organize a city council hearing or introduce a weeklong event and then cover it — Baltimore Innovation Week


Long island Press — special report Ripple Effect

cool presentation and storytelling but then no one looked at it, bar listings more popular


Sometimes when you’re trying to do a story on broccoli, it’s just broccoli.

Chris March ‏@marchmcfly18 Oct

#Lowcosttools Takeaway: Failing is okay. If you try something new and no one cares, move on, and try something else. But keep trying #ONA13

cristcarolyn ‏@cristcarolyn18 Oct

Once again, in a #ONA13 session being spammed on Twitter. Good job #lowcosttools.


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