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Tool of the week for journalists: Transcribe, a Chrome web app that saves time

Tool of the week: Transcribe

What is it? Transcribe is a simple Chrome web app that allows you to upload audio and transcribe it without switching between an audio player and a text editing document

How is it of use to journalists? Transcribe is a favourite here at Journalism.co.uk. We may have shorthand but usually opt to record Skype and phone interviews in order to concentrate on the conversation and refer back later.

If you have ever tried to transcribe quotes or sections from an audio interview and toggled between a text-editing document and the audio player, you will love this tool as it will save you time.

This free Chrome web app allows you to upload an mp3 or wav file and transcribe within the box below the player. It has some handy shortcuts, the most useful of which is the ‘esc’ key that pauses the audio and re-starts it from a second before the point at which you stopped it.

There are also shortcuts to rewind and speed up the recording, but Mac users with function keys (F1, F2 etc) set to perform other tasks will find this less useful.

Another benefit of this tool is the ability to use it off line, when working from a train, for example.

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Economist launches US election web app

January 11th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Mobile

The Economist has launched Electionism, an HTML5 web app for tablets, focusing on the US election.

Publishers will be interested to note the development of an app that works across a range of tablets, including the iPad, Galaxy Tab and Kindle Fire (yet to be released in the UK), and will also soon be available on the Blackberry PlayBook.

Rather than being downloaded from an app store, it is accessed by following a link in the tablet’s web browser.

Although designed for tablets, a simple version of the app works on mobile, presenting a Tumblr blog-style format (indeed, the app is “powered by Tumblr”).

This is the the Economist’s first foray into a web app that will work across several devices, unlike its range of apps native to Android and Apple’s iOS.

Electionism includes content from the Economist, CQ Roll Call and other noteworthy election reports from around the web.

Tom Standage, digital editor of the Economist, said in a release:

Electionism combines the Economist’s day-to-day opinion and commentary on the US elections, from our Webby-award-winning Democracy in America blog, with detailed on-the-ground coverage from CQ Roll Call and our picks of the best election coverage from elsewhere on the web, all wrapped up in a tablet-friendly format.

Nick Blunden, global managing director and publisher of the Economist online added:

It is extremely important to us that we provide our readers with not just commentary and analysis, but also the opportunity to discuss and debate the key issues. By building content sharing functionality through Facebook, Twitter and email into the Electionism app, we have provided readers with the ability to engage others in a conversation around the election.

Electionism was created by the Economist Group Media Lab, an internal product innovation group, and built in conjunction with its Toronto-based technology partner, Pressly.

  • Tom Standage, who is quoted in thus post, will be speaking at news:rewired, a conference for digital journalists organised by Journalism.co.uk. See the agenda, list of speakers and list of delegates. Tickets cost £130 +VAT and can be booked using the ticket page. More than 140 tickets have been sold. Book now to avoid disappointment.
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FT web app has been used 1m times

November 21st, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Mobile, Traffic

The Financial Times is reporting that its web app has clocked up one million hits since it was launched in June.

Around 45 per cent of users have bookmarked the FT web app to a iPhone or iPad, replicating a native app experience by providing an app icon on the device’s home screen.

The app, which is free to download but through which content is limited due to a cross-platform part paywall, saw 150,000 uses in the first 10 days; five months on it has achieved one million clicks on the app.ft.com url.

The web app, built with HTML5 technology, has two advantages for the FT over its previous native iPhone and iPad apps: it avoids the FT paying Apple a 30 per cent cut, the charge for any music, app or book publisher selling through its store, and the FT gets to access and own its audience data.

In a post on its blog the FT said the web app has “significantly boosted mobile and tablet traffic”.

FT.com now sees 20 per cent of total page views and 15 per cent of new B2C subscriptions each week coming directly from mobile and tablet devices. These readers are also more engaged, with FT.com users who register on mobiles and tablets 2.5 times more likely to subscribe, as well as being more active in giving feedback.

The FT has also produced an infographic.

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Ten free apps in the Chrome web store that journalists should know about

November 17th, 2011 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Handy tools and technology, Lists

Google’s Chrome web store, containing web apps, browser extensions, games and themes, launched in the UK in September following a US release in February.

You can access the store via the Chrome browser homepage and toggle between your “most visited” websites and available “apps”.

Here are 10 free apps and extensions in the Chrome web store that are useful tools for journalists.

1. Duedil

This is the browser extension enhancing an invaluable site for journalists working across all sectors. Duedil allows you to view company financial information, lists of directors and more in clear graphs and charts.

Click on any website and then the browser extension and you can look up the financial information on that firm. It may need assistance in recognising the correct company, however.

For example, if I am on the Guardian’s website and click the browser extension, I will get details for a company called Guardian Education Interactive. I must then select “not the company I am looking for” and enter Guardian Media Group. Clicking on a director’s name, such as in this case Alan Rusbridger, links me through to the full Duedil website.

2. SocialBro

This is a web app for Twitter and social media analytics. Sync your account/s and you will see a dashboard where you can find out the best time to tweet, map your followers and see the ratio of followers to friends.

3. News readers

Okay, this is a group of browser extensions and web apps but worth mentioning as one category. The Guardian, Independent, and several other national newspapers have opted for Chrome extensions, allowing you to read the headlines from your browser.

The New York Times has opted for a web app with more story detail, which fills the browser.

4. iPiccy

This web app is a simple image photo editor and handy for any journalists who have to prepare images for the web.

5. Transcribe

If you record interviews and play them back later to transcribe them this is a must have app. It gets round the problem of playing audio in one application (such as iTunes) and then writing in a text document.

Add your mp3 or wav audio file and you can transcribe by typing in the box below the player. It also works offline. One of the great features are the short cuts: alt+p = pause/resume, alt+i = rewind two seconds, alt+o = forward two seconds.

6. Mappeo

Mappeo is a useful web app for regional reporters or anyone covering a localised story, such as a protest. Open the app and you will see a map of geolocated videos that have been uploaded to YouTube. You can click on the icon to launch and play the video.

7. Aviary audio editor

This is a great free app for broadcast journalists and podcasters. Simply upload audio in a variety of formats, select whether this is private to you or public, and decide how you want to licence it.

8. SEO SERP

There are lots of SEO tools in the Chrome web store. SEO SERP is a useful browser extension for any journalists mindful of web traffic and keywords.

For example, type “journalism jobs” and see Journalism.co.uk is top of the Google rankings, or (as below) type in keywords such as Leveson and see who is ranked top.

9. TinEye

Add this browser extension, right click on a picture or upload an image and you can find out where else it has been used. It could be a valuable journalism tool to verify photographs. It can even scan for reversed images.

10. Kindle it

This is a handy option for Kindle users. It allows you to send web pages to your Kindle for reading later.

 

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paidContent: Apple drops Financial Times apps from store

August 31st, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Mobile

Apple has pulled the Financial Times’ native iPad and iPhone apps from the iTunes App Store after updating its terms which state in-app subscriptions must be paid through the store, reports paidContent.

The FT launched a web-based app in June which allows the publisher to avoid paying Apple a 30 per cent cut of it’s app revenue and to gather its own audience data.

This article on paidContent states:

It is a blow to the FT, whose apps had processed subscription transactions independently. Last year, 10 percent of its new digital subscriptions were taken out on iPads. But the publisher says its model is premised on owning data about customers that goes through along with transactions. This was more important to it than Apple’s 30 percent take, CEO John Ridding told [Robert Andrews] recently.

The FT’s web app, which was described as a ‘wake-up call’ to publishers, saw 150,000 uses in the first 10 days before the part-paywall went up, in line with the FT’s other digital platforms.

 

 

 

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Twitter launches HTML5 app for iPad

August 3rd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Mobile, Social media and blogging

Twitter has launched an HTML5 app for the iPad that will be rolling out in the next week or so.

Mashable has a photograph of the app showing a two-column display.

HTML5 apps, such as the one launched by the Financial Times in June, are web-based and hosted on a URL rather than available for download from Apple’s iTunes.

 

There’s more on web apps v native apps at this link.

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FT sees 150,000 uses of new web-app in first 10 days

The Financial Times’ new web-based app has been viewed 150,000 times since its launch 10 days ago, which includes 100,000 hits in the first week of launch, the FT said in a media release today.

The FT is the first major news publisher to launch this type of HTML5 hybrid app, which can be viewed across a number of different smartphone and tablet devices.

Steve Pinches, FT group product head, said the app has received very positive feedback.

“Comments include recognition of the technical capabilities of the app and being at the cutting edge of technology. Users have also expressed appreciation for the improved speed of the app and look and feel enhancements when using on the iPhone.”

He explained where the app is heading.

“We will take a two-fold approach to improvements to the app. Firstly we will focus on adding new content to the existing app, including special reports, newspaper graphics and the ability to save articles for later. Secondly we will develop the app for other devices including Honeycomb, Samsung and BlackBerry Playbook.

“Our next priority is releasing the app for Android devices, both large and small screen. Following that we will work on an FT web app for BlackBerry Playbook.”

Initial analysis shows the ‘Companies’ section of the web-app is the most popular, followed by the Life and Arts section, which makes up around 10 per cent of consumption overall. Other popular features include Markets Data, World, Markets and Lex.

“Interestingly, we are seeing much more leisure-type usage, with user peaks early morning, evening and around lunch time. This suggests that as well as a core tool for use during the business day, like FT.com on a desktop, the app is an accessory being used on the way to and from work and planning for the day ahead.”

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Innovations in Journalism – HappyJournalist

April 8th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism

It’s almost a daily occurrence to hear about the perilous state of the news industry (remember AngryJournalist.com anyone?) so Praise Be and Hallelujah for Joe Murphy and his HappyJournalist blog.

Each week we give developers the opportunity to tell us why we should sit up and pay attention to the sites and devices they are working on – this week Joe tells us about the site he developed to celebrate what’s good about working as a journalist.

image of happy journalist website

1) Who are you and what’s it all about?
I’m Joe Murphy. I’m a reporter-turned-web designer-turned-web developer. My day job is as the senior developer for The Denver Post’s website. I build and maintain web apps, fix stuff, and do other tech-type-stuff.

In my hobby-time I build and maintain a handful of sites, apps and blogs … HappyJournalist is one of them.

2) Why would this be useful to a journalist?
Well, it’s not a particularly useful site. Fun, yes. Useful, no.

HappyJournalist is a lens on journalists who have something to say, like what they do, and feel comfortable typing and clicking the submit button on the blog.

Until we get to the point where the internet has tools to quantify and publish emotion-related information, HappyJournalist will be a semi-static repository of what was said by the folk who have something to say.

That ‘until’ is a big, big ‘until’.

3) Is this it, or is there more to come?

I’ve been exploring that ‘What’s Next’ idea and have listed some other ideas (MildlyEnthusiasticJournalist.com and DrunkJournalist.com are my favourites, and a few people have contributed their own).

To make this interesting and forward thinking I’m considering pitching a new micro-format that describes emotions.

There’s no good way to aggregate or publish emotion-based information online yet. Seems like that’s a big gap in the web, don’t you think?

The internet’s gears turn because the robots and computers turn the gears, but it’s the humans that make the internet come alive and sparkle.

4) Why are you doing this?
Fun, conversation, curiosity. AngryJournalist started the dialogue, and it would be a shame to let this “I am a journalist and I have feelings” thread die after the first salvo.

5) What does it cost to use it?
It’s free, it will always be free.

6) How will you make it pay?
I won’t — it cost me 90 minutes and eight bucks to create this, so I don’t have a huge stake in getting that time or money back.

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