StoryMap JS brings interactivity for anyone

Few days ago, we talked about Timeline JS as simple but powerfull tool to create interactive timelines. Its brother, StoryMap JS, also offers a strong experience, in which users immerse themselves whitin the story.

Journalist Thierry Labro from the Luxemburger Wort told me that his diary has recently used this tool for the first time ever (click on it to watch):



Unless you do not have any knowledge on Javascript, you can get interactivity for your content indeed. By the way, here three big reasons to use StoryMap JS:

1. The interface is so simple

Interface is like the simplest version of any editor. It displays ‘edit’ and ‘preview’ modes. You can go across the different slides of your piece.

2. Adding multimedia content is easy

Each slide is based in one picture. Next to this, you can show multimedia content, throughout an html box.


3. You can embed your work

After finishing, you can post your work on any site you wise, but remember that you must use user to embed its iframe code -it’s my case-.

This tutorial can make your first steps whith this tool easier:


Top Simple Tools for Journalists to Create Interactive Timelines

Stories talk about an specific time. Luckily, today you can create your own timelines which support your content. Showing a story across the time enlights audience about previous facts, which are very necessary to understand what is going on now.

Thus, timelines are one of the ways to get interactivity. Your public can go back and go forward and enjoy multimedia content in each event. By the way, these are the easiest but useful tools to make it possible: Timeline JS, Timetoast and Timeglider.

 1. Timeline JS

The most complete of them: it is free, powerful, clear. Using a simple spreadsheet you can put into the cells olaoladifferent multimedia stuff, as well as you can curate content from the social networks. It has been used by companies as Al Jazeera, Le Monde or TIME magazine.

 2. Timetoast

Its minimum cost is $5,99/month, but the truth is that you are paying easiness. Forget the spreadsheets, you can add timetoastevents directly. It is also perfect to work in group: can be used by five accounts and more. People can also comment in the own timeline.

 3. Dipity

You can customise four types of presentations (Timeline, flipbook, map and list), sizes and colours, and get the RSS dipityfeed as well. It is not as elegant as Timeline JS, but it is enough for assingments and other uses.

6 Important Aspects of Interactivity in Journalism

As storyteller, journalist or whatever, you note the importance of knowing a set of new techniques which can improve your contents, making them interactive.

You also see the rise of this demand among customers.  In some way, everything can be considered as interactive -you may say, and you are right-. The correct expression would be “as interactive as possible”.

At this point, the good news is you do not need to be an Alan Turing, and troughout “democratic” easy tools you can change your stuff completely –you can find some of them here-, making it exlusive. Certainly, it takes time, but can be the difference between you and your competition.

 McAdams’ planning stages of an interactive story

Regarding McAdams (2005), interactivity depends on the following planning stages, which help to sort the different aspects of interactivity indeed.

  1. Feedback from the audience: Comments, discussions among users, responds from the author or adding new topics to discuss.
  2. Adaptivity of Modifiability: Updates, corrections or links.
  3. Control: Linearity or non linearity, changing sizes, pausing and playing multimedia content or marking anctf specific place.
  4. Choices: Own paths, adding context or accessing original documents.
  5. Communication: Social media buttons or “email me”.
  6. Responsiveness: Customised presentations and settings which let readers get what they want, interfaces which response to user’s actions or personalised scripts.

You note that McAdams book was published in 2005, but its principles are still suitable to understand what you need to engage people.

Video interview: “I would hesitate to compete with YouTubers”, says Creative Director of Lemonade Money

(Posted on

What makes a video ‘viral’? Lemonade Money (LM) Creative Director Faraz Osman thinks that “no one has the right answer but there are aspects which may influence it”. He says:

“Now even our friends and relatives can influence us through social networks to watch a video.”

Osman has worked for the BBC, ITV or Channel 4. Since May 2013, his role at LM has consisted in developing existing and new relationships with broadcast and online partners and carrying out business growth management.

Currently, the concept of online TV production is close to YouTube‘s channels. This recent phenomenon is growing in the UK, reaching millions of visits day by day.

YouTubers are building a community

Osman, who visited Birmingham City University last Thursday 6th November, says:

What YouTubers seem to be doing is that they are having a relationship with their audiences. They are building a community of other people who are also doing other videos.

“They all are part of the family, and the audiences come to be part of it.

“I guess that a lot of their success is because they are authentic. People can see themselves in these videos.

“I would hesitate to compete with them, because they have their own language and their own audience.”

“The reason of some YouTubers’ success does not reside on what they are saying.

“Sometimes they are good-looking and people fancy them simply.

“It is like some famous pop bands who are not necessarily the most musically talented.”

Do not forget you are not a teenager when you are producing content for them

LM Creative Director has been very close to young public during his career. Osman says:

“When you have constrains, as what is safe for children or what is appropriate for them, you have better ideas.

“The challenge consists in remembering that you are not a child. You are making content for young people, not for yourself.”

New trends, directors, LED panels and more

As Osman says, his company is “always on the hunt for new ways of filming, as using LED panels, new directors or cameras as well.”

Offline TV against online TV: different behaviours

Osman says that “people want to watch the best quality content when they are in the living room. However, people are a bit more curious at the online TV because it does not require your attention for a long time.”

Why Lemonade Money is so successful?

Osman defines himself as “generic nerd“, however, this “generic” man is now selling content to giants as Channel 4, Vevo or MTV. According to Lemonade Money’s current success, he says:

“We try to figure out what makes us interesting. We made ourselves experts in new culture, music and being exciting about what young British people are doing.”

You can follow Faraz Osman on Twitter (@farazosman) and also Lemonade Money (@lemonademoney)

My BCU Enterprise Module’s project: AngryTips

What is AngryTips?

AngryTips is a video producer company. Its aim is to produce tutorial videos about local online tools which young people can find useful for their daily routines.

Things as knowing what the city council offers, booking a public court or taking advantage of local information apps angryTipsLogo3circnuevonoviabout city’s events.

Targeted at UK’s teenagers who are about 16-18 years old – Education Key stage 4 or 5 – .

Not only the teaching goal is important, but also the way of communicate the content. So, videos will be done throughout a ‘youtuber’ style.

What is this? In short, a presenter in front of a camera following a funny script: simple, dynamic and fresh.

Who are the customers? Well, this idea is available to public institutions, but also for associations or private companies which share the same achievements. According to our philosophy, we treat our public as clients (“The customer is always right”)

Very important people: my audience

The goal is to improve the teenagers’ local Media literacy, from each city of the UK.  The Center for Media Literacy, an american educational organisation that provides resources nationally and internationally, define this concept as:

“With media technology becoming so prevalent in homes, and with multi-media education more possible now with student access to computers and the Internet, “media literacy” expands the basic concept of literacy (i.e. “reading” and “writing”) to all forms of communication — from television to T-shirts, from billboards to multimedia environments.”

Captura de pantalla 2014-11-09 a la(s) 22.35.25

Click on the graph to see more

Nowadays, figures reveal very high levels on digital devices and apps’ usage in the UK. According to Ofcom research Basis (Q1 2014), the highest score at Digital confidence score belongs to 14-15s old group (113), followed by the 16-19s old (112) youngsters.

That numbers say that these people absorb a huge number of data through the new technologies. Therefore, there are important reasons to increase the education on this field.

During a weekly day, they spend the eight per cent of their time watching  short online vide clips, round eight-times more than the rest of age groups.

At the same time, they occupate the last position on watching live TV – 50%-.

Teenagers use apps and social networks as well, but also apps related to local services?

An Ipsos Mori report, targeting mixed age groups, said about citizen’s online habits and attitudes in 2013:

“Although people did not regularly access online information about their local council, such as recycling arrangements, they often found it difficult to suggest alternative ways of obtaining such information.”

Many national reports and surveys consider 16-years-old as adults, complicating the segmentation.

How to engage teenagers is probably the most difficult question. Trying to find the answer, I talked with professionals who usually work with young people.

Sky News Programmes Producer Tom Platt is now working on Stand Up Be Counted, a new platform for young people from 16 to 25 years old, in which they can share their own contents related to news and also interact with the TV channel.

Platt is satisfied with the receiption among the youngsters, he also reminds that these people are not only interested on entertainment contents, as many people say.

Birmingham, The Second City, is the place where AngryTips launches its first videos, a collection called ‘Online Brummies’. There are more than 40,000 teenagers between 15 and 19 years old, according to the 2012 mid-year population estimate.

Due to its online tools, (just below) is a good start to explore the ‘youtuber’ style.

Captura de pantalla 2014-11-05 a la(s) 19.54.32

Beatfreeks is an non-profit organisation for young people launched one year ago in Birmingham, which offers creative academies about music, Media or Enterprise, with the aim of encourage brummies to produce social benefits. Therefore, they share a similar goal with AngryTips.

Paul Stringer is working there. For him, the hardest part is to encourage youngsters to make a step forward.

But what do youngsters really think?

I found some answers during the Concrete Collective, an event about young people, activism and Media based on workshops, which took place one week ago. It seems that new apps and digital tools are filling the gap between the teenagers and their communities.

Bit of News is a good example of how youngsters can be interested on ‘serious things’. This company compiles news content for them. They have already 20,000 subscribers to date.

Curtis Wang and Xiao Xu, founders of Bit of News, were interviewed by AngryTips

 Speaking seriously: business plan

I see many strengths on this project, and also little weaknesses. Here they go:


Yes, it must be completed. That is the reason I also used The Business Model Canvas…

… And asked to Lemonade TV director and The Guardian‘s media commentator,  Faraz Oxman.

Why chinese social network Weibo “is not for Western people”

(Posted on

1. Weibo is a hybrid between Twitter and Facebook

Weibo has the same maximum number of characters allowed per publication as Twitter: 140. But in the Chinese language you can make a word with three characters.

For James Robinson, the difference with other Western social networks does not reside on the langugage:

“Weibo is more about functionality. It offers a lot more in terms of multimedia. There is a lot of content into a only ‘tweet’: video, images… Weibo can not work in Europe.

The way the Chinese people absorb information is very different to the people’s behaviour in the West, where they love the simplicity. Chinese people like having a lot of information in the same land page.”

2. Mobile is the most popular device among Weibo users

Weibo revealed in June that 70% of total daily users access to it through a mobile device. For the company, the mobile version is not only a web’s extension: it is the opposite.

“We launch new services on mobile version, firstly”, Chief Executive Wang Gaofei says. James Robinson’s company, Ping Pong digital, optimises all their contents for mobile devices.

3. If your company wants to communicate in China; it must be aware of censorship

The latest ‘Umbrella Revolution’ revealed again the well-known censorship in Weibo. University of Honk Kong’s report says that 15 of every 1,000 posts on Weibo were being censored during these jimmytwitterdemonstrations. James Robinson says:

“Last month, the word ‘today’ was banned. Imagine you can not use it. Companies must be aware of these things. Therefore, it is necessary to create a different marketing, according to these circumstances.”

Sources about innovation in Media

It is said that there are not new ideas; just only new versions of the same thing. Creating something new depends on a hard and long investigation process. If you want to be a Media entrepreneur, it would be necessary to know what is happening each day in the industry. Here two interesting references to follow:

1.Captura de pantalla 2014-10-22 a la(s) 17.32.21

According to a survey made by Dow Jones, 83% of young journalists believe the future resides on data journalism. The ProPublica Nerd Blog grabs this huge interest, showing amazing data works. They also talk about visualization and infographics, focusing on new ways of story-telling.

Captura de pantalla 2014-10-22 a la(s) 17.46.22Captura de pantalla 2014-10-22 a la(s) 17.44.50


Captura de pantalla 2014-10-22 a la(s) 17.34.11

This covers about more general  things – not only journalism, but also related with “creation” industry within the Internet. Tablet publishing is one of the most common topics they talk about (ebooks, apps, newspapers).

Captura de pantalla 2014-10-22 a la(s) 18.01.54