By Mariah Woelfel, SPJ DePaul treasurer/secretary
A photographer, a videographer, an investigative reporter and a design assistant walk into a bar. She sits down and orders a drink.
That, my friend, is a bad joke, but a presentation at the annual SPJ Excellence in Journalism conference this past weekend had me feeling like all of those things in one.
It was the type of presentation that makes you want to text your editor (which I did) and say “Holy crap. This is awesome. Learning so much” (which I also did). The best part? All of the tools are free.
Of the 15 that Tompkins shared, I’ve chosen a few of my favorites to share with you. If you’re intrigued, keep a look out for a potential future event where we might just share the rest. If you’re not intrigued, please reevaluate.
VoiceBase is a free transcription program that will take a variety of different audio files and transcribe it word for word. Tompkins tested it out on an NPR podcast and it was pretty impressive. Although you can’t depend on this for an exact translation—Iraq in the podcast read “a rock” in the text—with the expectation that you need to perform minor editing, this tool could be a huge timesaver.
ThingLink takes a still image and gives you the ability to create tags that, once hovered over, have corresponding, customizable information windows. I’ve already used this one myself. The only downfall is that you need to upgrade to have any sort of formatting and style option, but for basic links, titles, or small amounts of information, it works well.
Canva is an online site gives even the most beginner of designers (like the people who default to stick figures when asked to draw anything) the ability to create quick graphics, primarily for social media posts, banners and flyers.
Google Street View allows users to give their viewers a 360 view of an area. It’s a downloadable app that prompts you to photograph an entire surrounding area and then stitches each image together for you.
Got thoughts on this story? Great. Want to join SPJ/ONA DePaul? Even better. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
An audience of more than 30 students and journalism professionals joined SPJ/ONA DePaul and an expert panel for a discussion on war reporting last Wednesday evening.
Panelists fielded questions from SPJ/ONA DePaul’s executive board as well as questions from the audience. Chris Bury, DePaul’s senior journalist in residence and award-winning broadcast journalist, moderated the event.
- Alex Quade, award-winning war reporter and documentary filmmaker
- Jackie Spinner, journalism professor at Columbia College Chicago and correspondent for the Columbia Journalism Review’s United States Project
- Cornell Wilson, attorney, community advocate and United States Marine Corps veteran
- Alex Rodriguez, Chicago Tribune Nation/World and Global Connections Editor
Alexandra Halaby, senior contributing editor and spokesperson at the International Middle East Media Center, was prepared to join the panel via Skype, but could not due to technical difficulties.
Audience members live-tweeted the conversation using the Twitter hashtag #SPJWDP.
You’ve probably heard of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), but do you know how to file a request?
“The FOIA has compelled federal agencies to yield millions of documents relating to government operations and performance,” according to SPJ’s website. “Every week, a news organization, scholar or public-interest group somewhere reports information of significance to public health or safety or good governance — based on material gleaned from FOIA requests.”
Join SPJ/ONA DePaul for a FOIA workshop with the Better Government Association. This event is free and open to both members and non-members.
- When: Wednesday, Jan. 21, 4 to 5:30 p.m.
- Where: 14 E. Jackson Blvd., Room 1128
Email us at with questions or concerns. See you soon!
So you have a LinkedIn account, but do you know how to use it? Join SPJ/ONA DePaul to go beyond the basics.
Communication Career Specialist Michael Elias will show attendees how to take advantage of LinkedIn’s networking opportunities to snag a job.
2013-2014 SPJ/ONA President Brianna Kelly will also be on site taking free headshots. You’ll leave with new tips for maximizing your LinkedIn presence as well as a high-quality portrait.
When: Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014
Where: Daley Building, Room 1130 – 14 E. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604
Time: 4 to 5:45 p.m.
See you there!
SPJ/ONA DePaul, the campus organization for the Society of Professional Journalists and the Online News Association, received the Outstanding Organizational Development award Thursday night at the DePaul Socially Responsible Leadership Awards at the Lincoln Park Student Center.
SPJ/ONA DePaul was honored for its innovative programming, which includes social media training, ethics, free speech, coding and multimedia training and a diversity panel. Judges also mentioned the organization’s ability to recruit new members and use the web in daily operations as a factor in the award.
The organization also was a finalist in the Outstanding Student Organization and the Diversity/Social Justice categories. The organization has won eight SRL awards in the last four years.
SPJ/ONA DePaul presented its free speech wall project at the SPJ Region 5 conference in Chicago. After the presentation, we held a brainstorming meeting with other chapters that attended, including Indiana, Loyola, Butler and Eastern Kentucky.
Here are some of the ideas the chapters came up with as we plan to take the project to the regional and national level with other chapters next year:
- Hold your free speech wall not only on campus, but on a public sidewalk or park.
- Coordinate with all chapters participating by tweeting to the #fsw hashtag on Twitter as the event goes on. Tweet photos, what’s posted, short videos, etc.
- Have signs with details from landmark free speech court cases near the free speech wall area.
- Hold it both indoors and outdoors on your campus.
- Coordinate a multi-school free speech wall in your area (DePaul and Loyola are doing this) and then present findings to local media/professional SPJ chapter.
- Partner with a local pro chapter and do it in public and on campus.
- In Chicago, you could post a free speech wall in the performers section on a CTA subway line.
- Have an online component — post to Twitter or a message board — and see if people say different things online as opposed to writing on the wall.
- Tie the free speech wall project in with a First Amendment Free Food Festival on your campus.
- Bring more snacks as you’ll run out quickly!