Digital Tools for Journalism

Digital 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, with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and with the support of the American Press Institute, has committed to finding, sharing 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 the Try This! — Tools for Journalism newsletter

Try This! — Tools for Journalism is a weekly newsletter with news, updates and tutorials about the best digital tools for journalists. Each issue features seven quick stories written with punch and brevity so you can learn what you need and get on with your day. This newsletter is for everyone, whether you’re so digital you’re made up of ones and zeros or an internet neophyte. It is published every Monday at noon Eastern Time.

Sign up for Try This! — Tools for Journalism here. Looking for something we’ve covered? Read the archives here.

Read up on the latest news on our digital tools channel

We’ve dedicated a major channel on to covering the latest tools, providing tips about how best to use them and plenty of other helpful advice and information. Access it here or from the top bar on any page of this website.

Learn how to use the best tools with our free digital tools webinar series

Our digital tools tutorial series offers comprehensive overviews, in-depth training, ideas and more for tools that we have handpicked from the crowd as some of the most useful for journalists. Each tutorial lasts between an hour and an hour and a half, is available at any time from any location and is completely free.

Social Media Tools

  • UPCOMING: Cultivating Local News Communities with Facebook Groups – Facebook Groups are an exciting way to build communities, especially on the local level. At a time when Facebook has deemphasized news on its feed, Facebook Groups also remain an effective way to interact with audiences and share meaningful stories with interested people. This webinar will discuss best practices in starting a topical Facebook group, how to involve your newsroom and how to keep the conversation going.

Data Tools

  • Find Stories in Data Faster and Collaborate Better with – helps journalists of any expertise and career level quickly find stories in data; collaborate on data projects with colleagues and with other newsrooms; add depth, relevance and vital context to reporting; build trust with readers; and extend the life of stories.
  • Build Interactive Data Visualizations with Tableau Public – In this special two-hour workshop, learn to create, publish and share interactive data visualizations using Tableau Public, a free and powerful data visualization tool. We start with a tour of the Tableau interface, connect to an example data set, create a few visualizations and then pull those visualizations together to make a dashboard.
  • Richly Interactive Data Graphics with Tableau Public  Data visualizations should not be simply beautiful or effective; they should be both. Tableau Public will allow you to create meaningful, rich visualizations that not only illustrate the facts but also allow the audience to discover new ways of looking at information.
  • Tell Stories with Data using Tableau Public – This session builds upon the investigative and data presentation procedures covered in the above webinar. It is designed as an introductory demonstration to Tableau’s investigative and publication features.
  • Using DocumentCloud – Documents have long been the backbone of watchdog reporting. Journalists can better deal with and understand their documents electronically with DocumentCloud. This webinar walks through analyzing, annotating and publishing primary source documents with this tool and how it can enhance and highlight great important journalism.

Video Tools

  • Engage Audiences with Interactive Video with Verse – Verse gives viewers the option to navigate to sidebars like interactive Q&As for valuable interview extras that didn’t fit the main story, explore multimedia slideshows with video and photos and experience non-linear stories using the Pathfinder tool. It helps viewers find their own path through stories, resulting in higher engagement and happier viewers.
  • Effective News Videos with Videolicious – Videolicious empowers more than one million people in 100+ countries to create video productions — automatically, in seconds. In this training session, learn how to create news video productions, from narrated photo essays to newsmaker interviews with b-roll, graphics and music.  See examples of videos automatically edited in seconds from journalists and see a real-time demo of automatic video editing.
  • Mobile Video Storytelling with Videolicious – Nearly all reporters have the power to become effective visual journalists by shooting video with a smartphone or tablet. Capturing video is easy, but getting started with putting it into comprehensible and compelling video stories can be daunting. Learn how reporters can effectively leverage the portability and connectedness of their mobile devices to shoot, edit and post video stories right from where news is happening in a way that appeals directly to their audience online.

 Interactive Storytelling Tools

  • Strengthen your Digital Storytelling with TimelineJS, SoundCiteJS and StoryMap – Alternative story forms are easy to produce and publish with these three tools from Northwestern University Knight Lab. TimelineJS, SoundCiteJS and StoryMap are free, easy to use and compatible with nearly any CMS. This webinar teaches online journalists tools to craft beautiful and creatively presented interactive stories.

View our other tools tutorials here.

Got a tool you’d like to pitch?

Email us to share a new tool or request training about a tool that you’ve seen.

For more great journalism tools, visit Knight Lab’s tools projects