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 brand new newsletter
Register for our free webinar: Find Stories in Data Faster and Collaborate Better with
View our other 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 and your audience cover the total solar eclipse

Your maps and guides are all ready. Your reporters and photographers are prepared for the big day. But have you thought about including your audience in coverage of Monday's total solar eclipse? This week, we have some ideas. Kristen Hare: Hi, Ren! Do you have your eclipse glasses yet, or are you making one with an old shoebox? Ren … Read More

This free tool will help you pause the flood of email with just one click

Ever feel overwhelmed by all that email? This week's tool offers a way to stop it, at least for a bit. Kristen Hare: Hi, Ren! I’m ready for our next tool! And also for my kids to be back in school, but that’s another column. What do you have for us this week? Ren LaForme: I’m going to pull a … Read More

These free Wayback Machine hacks will make you a better online sleuth

You may already know about a website that lets you peek into the past. This week, we dig into tools on that site that make it easy to save what you find. Hare: Hey, Ren, what are we talking about this week? LaForme: Let’s talk about history. Most people are aware of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. For … Read More

Don't be the co-worker who sends late-night emails. Use this free tool

It's OK if you work best really late at night or really early in the morning, but your colleagues and sources don't need to. Here's a tool to help you be effective without being annoying. Hare: Hi, Ren! What’s our new tool today? LaForme: I was inspired by a colleague at Poynter who sent out some late-night emails, complete with … Read More

This tool will help your long-distance interviews feel more face-to-face

How do you conduct interviews when you're not face-to-face? Phone and scribbled notes? In-app recording? This week, we explore another way to connect when you're far away. Hare: Ren! What are we learning about this week? LaForme: I was hoping to learn a little bit from you this week. Earlier today, I did my first online interview where I recorded … Read More

This tool will help you show what you're trying to tell

This week, we talk about a tool that's been around for awhile that you may not have considered as a way to illustrate your work. Kristen Hare: Hey, Ren, before we get started, I’m not sure if we’ve ever told people how we choose the tools we highlight. I know that from my end when we sit down to talk … Read More

This free tool will tell you what the internet thinks of your work

Analytics tools including Chartbeat and are full of ways to see how your audience is connecting with your work. This week's tool gives you a personalized look at who's clicking and sharing your work. Hare: Ren! It’s summer and, despite our best efforts, we’ve slacked a bit here for the last few weeks. But we’re back! Before we get … Read More

This free tool will help you make beautiful timelines

Timelines are a great way to make your stories visual, and there are several tools to help you build them. This week, we explore a free, easy way to build beautiful, interactive timelines. Hare: Hey! So I’ve been using Grammarly and loving it (minus the way it harasses me about Oxford commas, which it’s intent on doing.) What’s … Read More

This tool will catch your grammar mistakes (and harass you about Oxford commas)

Did you spell that word right? Is that an independent clause? That's not a dangling participle, is it? This week, we explore a tool that can help you catch those grammar mistakes. Hare: Hey! So, what’s our tool this week? LaForme: I want to do something a little different this week, in that I’m going to share a tool that … Read More

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
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