Try This! — Tools for Journalism

Tools make our journalism more powerful. They unleash our storytelling potential, unlock secrets in data, and help us share stories in new and compelling ways.

As newsroom ranks and audience attention spans shrink, tools are indispensable. Lucky for us, more and better ones are released every day.

Poynter’s Try This! — Tools for Journalism is an effort to find, share and provide training around the best journalism tools. We understand that great tools can be difficult to find and harder to learn (though you’d be surprised how quickly some of them will make their way into your daily work). We're here to help.

This page is the home for all of our journalism tools articles. For more:

Sign up for our upcoming newsletter
View our tools tutorials
Share a new tool or request training about a tool
Visit Google News Lab's training center and Knight Lab's tools projects (sponsored)

Try This! — Tools for Journalism is supported by Google News Lab as a part of a partnership with Poynter to help journalists find and use digital tools, including but not limited to Google's tools. This project is also supported by a generous gift from the American Press Institute and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, who fund a digital transformation project at Poynter. Poynter retains editorial control over site content.


This tool will help you keep tabs on what's happening in local government

Last week, we introduced a tool that will help you figure out how your DSLR camera works. This week, we're focusing on a tool that can help shrinking newsrooms keep up with local and state government. Kristen Hare: So, what are we trying this week? Ren LaForme: Late last week, I was looking back on all of the … Read More

This tool will help you figure out how your fancy camera actually works

For all the digital tools that can make your work better (and your life easier), some things are hard to perfect. This week, we try out a tool that will help you decode a classic you may still have sitting around. Kristen Hare: Hey! What are we talking about today? Ren LaForme: Let me start by asking you a question. Read More

This tool tells you when sources try to make quiet changes online

We've talked about a lot of tools in the last few months, and this week I tested one of them out for myself (see the very end.) Have you tested any tools we've talked about? My colleague, Ren LaForme, and I would love to see the results. What new thing are you going to tell us … Read More

This free tool will help make your stories more visual (and shareable)

Journalists are expected to juggle several different skills nowadays. This week's tool, as my colleague Ren LaForme explains, offers an easy and free way to do more. You found a big hit last week, and people were very excited about this tool that accurately transcribes interviews. We kind of shut the site down for awhile, right? Yeah, we … Read More

This tool, made by college students, will save you all that time you spend transcribing

Update: Scribe has been overwhelmed by our interest and now recommends asks users not to upload files longer than 10 minutes. Also, it looks like they've started charging by the minute. Interested in the transformation of local news? Join the conversation in our weekly newsletter, Local Edition. So what are we talking about this week? I'm going to … Read More

This tool will put captions on your video for you

Poynter's Ren LaForme and I have spent several weeks exploring cheap or free tools journalists can use. First, we spent some time on video tools, then a few weeks on tools that can keep journalists more secure on the internet. Now, we're going to try breaking from the "series" approach and just pick tools that seem useful and … Read More

This tool will help you clean up after your online footprints

We've spent the past few weeks talking about tools for keeping reporters and their sources safe. This week, Poynter's Ren LaForme is focusing on a tool that will help you find which information about you is on the internet, what you may want to clean up and what you can discover about sources. So, what are we talking … Read More

Here's a free tool that could prevent your newsroom from getting hacked

With news organizations getting hacked now on a semi-regular basis, it's more important than ever for journalists to protect their work from would-be cyberattacks. That's why, after several weeks focusing on video tools, Poynter Interactive Learning Producer Ren LaForme and I are switching this month to talk about digital security tools. Our conversation has been edited for … Read More

Make your video better with a tool you're probably already using

This is our final week talking about video tools before moving on to a new subject. Previously, we looked at tools that help you record, present and edit video. What's our tool this week? We've talked a lot about what to do with video, how to shoot it and how to edit it on … Read More

No budget for big video cameras? Just use your phone (and this app)

Last week, Poynter's Ren LaForme told us about a free and easy tool for making video interactive. We're going to stick with video this week and learn about an app that gives you a lot more shooting power. LaForme and I spoke via Skype. Our conversation was edited for length. What are we learning about this week? So … Read More

Want to make video interactive? Try this simple tool

Poynter's Ren LaForme has spent a lot of time with digital tools (the things you use to create new things, not the online know-it-alls). (OK, Maybe both.) As we look at the big ideas that explain what local journalism needs to evolve, we want to look at the small ideas, too. Tools seem like a good place to start. So, … Read More

Tools are the future of news

I saw the future of the news industry in a pixelated battle between George W. Bush and Hulk Hogan. The vulgar, 16-bit “Emogame: The Anti-Bush Game” pitted characters like He-Man, Mr. T and emo music heartthrob Chris Carrabba against Bush-era politicians in a war to elect John Kerry. Nestled between skirmishes with anthropomorphic warpigs and former U.S. Attorney … Read More

Keeping up with the Times: Free tech for nonprofit newsrooms

The New York Times just shipped a virtual reality headset to every one of its Sunday subscribers. The Washington Post comes pre-installed on all Kindle Fire devices sold in the United States. NowThisNews publishes natively on just about every social network out there, completely forgoing the traditional news website. The lines between journalism and technology are … Read More