Explainer videos are great at illustrating complicated policy issues, sometimes. Over the past two years we have learned several tips for making videos that delight and inform our audiences. It starts with deciding if a video is right for you. Let this handy guide show you the way:
Check out a few examples of successfully videos below and read tips from your StateImpact colleagues.
NPR Digital Services has created an excellent resource for reporters who are new to Core Publisher, replete with a downloadable manual. There are a few things, though, that we’ve grown accustomed to created on our WordPress StateImpact sites that are not yet included in that documentation.
Below are some of our recommendations for how you can duplicate some of those features (including maps, charts and graphs, tables, document viewers, images, topic pages, pages, featured posts) on your station site.
Google Fusion Maps can be embedded as iframes and include the new built-in legend feature. This works well in both Core Publisher posts and pages.
Here is some guidance to help you through that process.
CHARTS AND GRAPHS
Google Spreadsheets will likely be the best option, even though images will have to be created and uploaded as full-screen images OR as iframes. It isn’t optimal, but it work.
Toolbox Instructions from Emilie Ritter Saunders on embedding them (and instructions from Yan Lu on creating charts and graphs, if you’re not too comfortable with that part).
For ready-made Google charts with official data, like this, the iFrame embed is a good option and easy to update.
Also, if you are going the iframe route,know that you can modify the iframe width and/or height to 100%. To do this, simply add 100% (including the percent sign) into the embed code, overriding the pixel measurements.
Tables can easily be displayed in Core Publisher by using the iframe publishing option in Google Fusion Tables. However, filterable tables are not an option, unfortunately. Continue reading →
We’re implementing a new WordPress plugin to “ingest” StateImpact posts into the NPR API and, thus, your stations’ sites.
Most of our states have been pushing posts to the API since launch. But the plugin that we’d been using had limited functionality. Kevin Moylan and others at NPR Digital Services have been working on developing a new plugin that works much better. And, now, it is ready to launch.
Here’s what you can expect to transfer nicely from WordPress to Core Publisher using v1.5 of the plugin:
Regular posts (including bylines and excerpts)
Inline Images (including captions and credits). All images in the post will be sent to the API regardless of the “can distribute” flag in the WordPress Media Library.
Audio (see instructions below)
Video embeds (and other iFrames that can be inserted into posts)
StateImpact Oklahoma’s Joe Wertz, mapping wizard, shows us how to create an interactive map using Google Fusion Maps and some raw data in this quick and simple tutorial.
Here is the data that you can use, if you’d like to try this at home.
(Don’t be alarmed! The audio doesn’t kick in until about ten seconds in.)
Creating a Legend
Of special note, around minute 31 (31:00), Joe walks us through creating a legend for your map. To do that (in the new and improved version):
In the map view, click on the little arrow on top of the “Map of…” tab and navigate down to “change map styles.
Whether you are dealing with points or polygons, make sure that your bucket ranges are exactly as you’d like them to appear in your legend.
Click on “automatic legend” (your last option on the list to the left).
Create a title for your legend.
Decide where you’d like your legend to appear (typically in the bottom right-hand corner, unless your map makes a different corner preferable).
Embedding an Iframe Into Your Site
At minute 32 (32:35), Joe shows us how to embed an iframe with your map and legend right into your site.
Click on Share (in the upper right-hand corner) and publish it to the web. You’ll see your current sharing settings listed towards the top. If it doesn’t say “Public” hit the blue “Change” and select “Public on the web.” Continue reading →
We’ve decided to start using ScribbleLive for live blogging. It offers many of the same features as our former platform. You can collaborate, pull in outside Tweets or Facebook posts, embed images, video, and other multimedia content.. And you can have a virtually unlimited number of viewers. And, as if all of that weren’t enough, the interface is very intuitive.
One minor problem is that our account will only allow a limited number of events to take place at any given time. So, if you are planning to use it for an upcoming event, please claim your turf by giving us a heads up.
Our designer Danny DeBelius has introduced us to a data visualization tool called Google Image Charts. It’s pretty handy when you need some simple charts to help tell your stories. Now, guess what? Google has updated that tool and make the experience even better.
The main difference is that you don’t need to go to a Image Charts Editor page, but you can finish the process in your Google spreadsheet.
Connect to your data in real time
Let me explain this tool by using an example. I have a spreadsheet with data about Idaho legislators compiled by Emilie Ritter Saunders. Now try this: if you go to the spreadsheet, change some numbers in the education worksheet and refresh this post, you will see the numbers also changed here in the image below.
Isn’t it amazing? The updated Google charts tool connect your chart to your data in real time, making it convenient to change numbers or styles or add data to your posts as it becomes available.
Easy to use
This tool is also easy to use. We all have some experience using Excel to produce simple charts and graphics. The rules are similar here: Continue reading →
Part of adapting to a sideways world involves de-cluttering your sites to provide a cleaner, more focused experience for your readers. It is still important that we use every page to showcase some the great stuff that we have to offer. However, it is equally important that we don’t create a chaotic a visual experience in that effort.
To that end, the DC team has dutifully considered all of the right rail widgets and whittled them down in order to provide some clear guidelines for what we think should–and shouldn’t–be living in your right rails. Here’s what we’ve come up with:
The arrival of the new year means it’s clean-up time–for your house, your garden, and for your topic pages! With legislative sessions around the corner in most of our states, we want our tag buildouts and topic pages ready and clear so that our audience can find your content easily.
So let’s review what our founding parents said about topic pages, or tag buildouts:
The best tags are the discrete entities (i.e. specific individuals and organizations) named in your posts. In general, it’s best to use full names rather than abbreviations. Instead of tagging posts with “Obama,” use “Barack Obama.” It’ll look better as the title to a topic page, and it will aid search engine optimization.