Five Useful Tools for Journalists


Real-time traffic statistics allow publishers to answer three basic questions at any point in the lifecycle of a story. How many people are on my site right now? What articles are they currently reading? Where did they come from? The answers to these three questions should form the basis for an organization’s social media and content distribution strategy. In addition, the answers to these questions above can also help publishers evaluate the different ways readers can be engaged with the content once they’ve arrived on the website.

There are a number of options when it comes to tracking visitors to your site in real-time. ChartBeat/NewsbeatClickyReinvigorate and the open-source tool Piwik all offer publishers the ability to see live traffic results in different ways.

Newsbeat is a new iteration of ChartBeat’s existing services that has been tailored to better suit the needs of the newsroom. Editors and reporters can establish their own dashboards to track articles and sections of the site that matter the most in their daily work. Traffic spikes trigger alerts to help editors stay on top of what content has gone viral and identifying the stories that have the most potential.


Evernote is a robust note-taking service that allows you to save “ideas, things you like, things you hear, and things you see.” With broad support for almost every computer and mobile device, the notes that you save on your phone are then available on your computer or any other web accessible device. Alexandra Samuel has a great breakdown for journalists on 10 ways to use Evernote.

Facebook + Journalists

While establishing a presence on Facebook might not be new to anyone, fewer people may know how to best utilize the Facebook community for newsgathering and reporting. Facebook has put a concerted effort into reaching out to the journalism community and is actively building a repository of best practicesvideos and How To’s on topics such as breaking news, social storytelling, showcasing media, curating a news stream and cultivating an active and engaged community.


ESRI’s new web-based version of ArcGIS offers up a large gallery of sample maps to help journalists interested in tapping into publicly available data sources to create and share maps that help enhance news stories. The maps can be linked to, embedded in articles or even shared as stand alone web apps. Along with shared data sources, there are also drawing tools to highlight, annotate and embed links to information that is relevant to the maps you share. Take a walk through the Quick Tour to see how you can begin embedding data rich maps into your news stories.


While this recommendation may not be new to many people, we thought it would be appropriate to highlight WordPress’s strengths for start up investigative journalism outlets. WordPress recently announced that they’re powering 14.7% of the top million websites in the world and that’s an increase from 8.5% only a year ago. The cost to build and maintain a site powered by WordPress still makes it one of the most attractive CMS’s for non-profit newsrooms. Native applications for iPhone, Blackberry and Android make it easy to publish and manage the content on your site when out of the office and away from a desk.