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#Tip: Try searching Creative Commons images by colour

October 10th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Search, Top tips for journalists

Have you ever written an article and had a specific colour in mind for an accompanying picture? If so, here is a tool to help.

The people at TinEye, who are behind this fantastic tool for verification (see this post), have created the MultiColr Search Lab.

This enables you to search by colour for images with Creative Commons licences, meaning they can be used free of charge to accompany news stories.

You can search for up to five colours. Here’s one we made ourselves using what turn out to be the Ikea colours. colour-search

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#Tip of the day for journalists: Add Creative Commons Search to your browser

February 18th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Search, Top tips for journalists

Image by Yohei Yamashita on Flickr. Some rights reserved


Today’s tip for journalists is to add the Creative Commons Search to Firefox.

Creative Commons images and other content can be used by news sites and blogs free of charge. Here at we regularly use images shared with Creative Commons licences on Flickr and other sites.

Those who use such images will no doubt be aware of the Creative Commons Search. Did you know there is an option that allows you to add the search to the Firefox browser?

Creative Commons Firefox

To add the option, go follow the link near the bottom of this Creative Commons Search page. You can then select the CC Search option and speed up the process of finding images.

When searching for Creative Commons content, don’t forget to tick the box that includes results that can be used for commercial purposes.


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Wired offers creative commons images in exchange for link

Director Tim Burton surrounded by dictaphones at Comic Con 2009, one of 50 images made available by Wired as part of its new creative commons plan. Image: has made what looks like a canny move in deciding to license its own images under creative commons in return for a mention and a link.

The technology site doesn’t currently sell the images, so the commons licence will cost it nothing but will probably generate some useful publicity today, like this, plus traffic and SEO in the long run.

See 50 images made available immediately here.

Wired hasn’t stipulated where the link and mention have to go, so presumably it’s fine to put it either right next to the image or bury it at the bottom of your blog post.

The licence also allows users to edit images, as I have with the one above. Just a simple crop here, but mashups and other edits are also fine.

The move also raises a long-standing lack of clarity over the CC “non-commercial” licence. When we use CC images on, we usually steer clear of images marked “not for commercial use” because we carry ads on the site and the site is a profitable entity.

But the distinction isn’t as clear cut as that according to some. Nieman Journalism Lab’s Joshua Benton has an in-depth post about the CC issue, read it here.

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#Tip of the day from – Creative Commons on YouTube

Following on from yesterday’s tip of the day, which looked at using YouTube’s in-house video editing tool, today’s tip is about accessing creative commons content through the video site.

We often use Creative Commons images on our site, and there is a lot of video under a CC license out there too. It’s often difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for under CC, but the library of content is growing and it’s a valuable resource.

The new CC tab on YouTube allows you to easily search for and attribute content, as well as marking your own content with a CC license.

See more on the YouTube blog at this link.

Tipster: Joel Gunter.

To submit a tip to, use this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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TechCrunch: YouTube launches creative commons licence option

It is being widely reported that YouTube has now launched the ability for users to choose how they licence their content through its video editor platform.

The new Creative Commons option will give other people permission to use footage, including for commercial purposes, with attribution, according to TechCrunch.

It is also reported that initially YouTube is working with content partners including C-SPAN and Al Jazeera to offer a starting batch of 10,000 videos under the creative commons license. Al Jazeera already makes some of its content available under a creative commons licence, shown in this repository. TechCrunch reports that it will not take long for YouTube’s 10,000 video store to grow.

That library will rapidly increase as more people switch their content over to Creative Commons, and there’s even a tool that will let you swap the license for a bunch of videos at once.

A request for more information from YouTube has not yet been answered, but details of YouTube’s creative commons policy can be found here.

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Creative Commons releases new mark for public domain content

Creative Commons has released a new label for works that are free of known copyright restrictions. The Public Domain mark will make it easier for internet users to find copyright-free material and CC says it will increase the value of the public domain.

The Public Domain Mark is a further step on the path towards making the promise of a digital public domain a reality … Marking and tagging works with information about their copyright status is essential. Computers must be able to parse the public domain status of works to communicate its usefulness to the public. The metadata standard underpinning the Public Domain Mark and all of CC’s licensing and legal tools are what makes this possible.

Full post on Creative Commons at this link…

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The Jobless Journalist: Week four – Are subbing and reporting roles merging into one?

September 23rd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Job losses, Jobs

This is the fourth post in a series from an anonymous UK-based journalist recently made redundant. To follow the series, you can subscribe to this feed.

Last week I blogged about whether you should apply for subbing jobs if you’re a reporter or a features writer.

This week I’ve spoken to two journalists – one print and one online – about the ‘concertina effect,’ i.e. whether subbing and reporting roles are merging into one, particularly in an online environment.

Peter Sands is a veteran newspaper sub and director of PA Training and insists that the standalone sub is far from dead.

Even with web publishing where content goes live before it is subbed (meaning the reporter has to ensure copy is clean first), Sands says the role of the sub-editor is still vital.

“I would definitely say that you have to have a second pair of eyeballs,” he says.

Sands was editor of the Northern Echo in the early 1990s and admits much has changed since then.

At that time there was real animosity between subs and reporters: “In Darlington there was the Red Lion pub for subs and the Britannia for reporters and never the two should meet,” he says.

While Sands believes the sub is alive and kicking, he acknowledges that their role is being redefined. “The divide [between reporters and subs] has really gone now,” he says.

Sub, web editor and corporate blogger Fiona Cullinan agrees: “Divide?  What divide? The divide is less about reporting versus subbing and more about are you engaged or not, are you digitally included or not?”

“By not engaging more in online environments, traditional journalists are not developing their digital writing or subbing skills, let alone all the other skills that go with publishing to the web, like picture research under Creative Commons licences, image manipulation, linking skills, SEO knowledge, how to upload and promote content, and the big one: the ability to deal with readers talking back to you.”

Apart from the odd typo creeping in when you publish first and hone later, many reporters who write straight to the web can face serious libel issues.

Cullinan says checking factual inaccuracies and avoiding legal pitfalls is ‘perfect sub-editor territory‘.

“From what I’ve read, reporters in multimedia newsrooms are being asked to sub their own work; meanwhile subs are being made redundant,” she adds.

“How reporters are supposed to sub to old-school standards, perhaps with minimal experience or training, and 24-hour newsroom deadline pressures, should be interesting!”

Cullinan also points out that the comments section can act as a ‘rather more public second set of eyes, pointing out your typos and incorrect facts’.

The upshot? To keep up with the changing face of journalism a reporter needs to be savvy about subbing as well as having other web skills, but it is still the sub-editor who has the last word.

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Reporter’s guide to multimedia proficiency – now available for download in PDF

September 8th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Multimedia, Online Journalism, Training

Mindy McAdams’ comprehensive guide to multimedia proficiency is now available to download in PDF from her website.

The 42-page document is fully linked and usable online in most web browsers, Adobe Reader, or in Preview on the Mac OS, so there’s no need to waste trees in order to read it.

McAdams has licenced the entire document  under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License so users are free to share, distribute, reuse and even remix it, in line with the CC conditions.

The booklet comes straight from a series of 15 blog posts, written as guidance to those who want to transform themselves into multimedia journalists. Her succinct guide includes tips on blogging, audio interviews, podcasts, photography, and video.

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Andy Piper: Chasing the Daily Mail for Flickr attribution

Maybe not an unlikely crime, but its one that could be increasingly common as more newspapers turn to Flickr for content.

Andy Piper writes on his blog:

“The Daily Mail posted a story on their website about my friend Andy Stanford-Clark, and used a crop from one of my photos to illustrate it. As it happens, I would have been perfectly happy for them to use it (and even to crop it) if they’d asked for permission. At the time I post this, they are not following the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence…”

“….it’s a national newspaper displaying what would appear to be significant ignorance about the morality of using user-created content.”

Full post at this link…

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Tip of the day from – making the most of data

Data: Make the most of open content online from leading publishers: the Guardian’s DataStore and Al Jazeera’s content released under Creative Commons are good places to start. Tipster: Judith Townend.

To submit a tip to, use this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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