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Tool of the week for journalists: Timeline

March 29th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Tool of the Week

Tool of the week: Timeline

What is it? A wizard to enable you to create and embed a timeline of curated content.

How is it of use to journalists? News sites often use a timeline for digital storytelling. This is a tool just released to enable you to do just that.

There are several examples, such as a Timeline of the Republican run-up.

Mashable compares Timeline to Storify, a tool that enables you to curate web content by dragging and dropping tweets and other media to create a story.

Mashable’s report states:

Timeline, created by Zach Wise, a multimedia journalist and journalism professor, was developed in partnership with the Knight News Innovation Lab at Northwestern University, where Wise teaches. The interactive tool allows users to generate timelines on the web by curating content from Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Vimeo, Google Maps and SoundCloud.

“The tools that already exist on the web are almost all either hard on the eyes or hard to use,” said Wise. “Timeline is an open-source, JavaScript and HTML/HTML 5 based tool that creates elegant timelines.”

Timeline does not offer the simplicity of Storify and although aimed at non-techies, it will require you to add some code to the head of your site and will take a quite a bit longer to create than a Storify.

One way you can create the timeline is by using a Google Doc. Timeline provides a template and you can simply add your links to the media.

For example, the below screenshot shows how we used the Google Doc template to create a timeline of some of the key phone-hacking moments, adding a Flickr photo, tweets and YouTube footage.

 

 

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Tool of the week for journalists – Dipity timelines

Tool of the week: Dipity

What is it? A free tool to create interactive timelines.

How is it of use to journalists? For plotting events and linking to content from your news site and others.

Dipity has been around for some time but is well worth a reminder. Back in 2008 the Manchester Evening News plotted the congestion charge coverage; the Liverpool Daily Post told the story of Liverpool being the 2008 European Capital of Culture; and the Guardian and NWN Media’s Evening Leader plotted job cuts.

You can create a timeline that will automatically update via RSS whenever you publish a story with a particular tag, such as this journalism job cuts timeline. (To add an RSS feed go to “show sources” at the bottom of your timeline, click “other” and add your the URL of your feed.)

You can then embed your story and readers can view it as a timeline, flipbook, list or map. Try toggling though the job cuts timeline to see the information displayed in different ways.

Here is a more recent example from Journalism.co.uk on phone hacking and the end of the News of the World. Some of these events were added manually, others via the phone hacking RSS feed.

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Recession timelines… Media job cuts plotted / credit crunch in North East Wales

A case of great minds think alike today. Two lovely Dipity timelines for you to enjoy.

The Guardian plots media job loss announcements here…

and the NWN Media’s Evening Leader does a good job here, at plotting a North East Wales credit crunch line:

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