by Katie Dunn |
In light of the recent news of The Beacon going all-digital next year, attending the Online News Association conference in Los Angeles was incredibly useful and timely. I had known for about a month about the change before we went to the conference so I knew some things I wanted to learn. I learned those things and more over the few days I was there.
It wasn’t crucial that I knew about the change before the conference, it is the online news conference after all, but it did give me time to have questions I wanted to find answers to. One of those things was, ‘how can we make webpages more engaging for readers?’ I went to many design-focused sessions, but the best one was, Interactive Graphics for the Newsroom Couch Potato. I will openly admit I am not a tech guru when it comes to programing and working on the back end of websites. This session felt like something that would appeal to the average journalist that isn’t tech savvy either. If you want to browse the presentation I saw, here’s the link.
Here’s a few key programs I learned about:
- Chartbuilder- Static and simple
- Soundcite JS- Add in text with Soundcloud
- Timeline JS
- Tarbell- beautiful, interactive pages
- More heavyweight tools:
- d3.js- charts
- Mapzen- Metro extracts for a city
- Landline- Maps of the U.S.
- Wes Anderson Paletts on Tumblr
- Color Brewer
I also learned about Tableua, a desktop chart making program that I heard about from the Midway area. I downloaded it for free because I’m a student and played around a little making a chart for our College Scorecard story. The best part of using this was the fact I could go back to the Midway the next day and ask questions directly to someone. This program is great, although hard to use with multiple data sets.
I had some fun on the Midway, getting a cartoon of me drawn in about five minutes. Really amazing to me since I have never been much of an artist.
The one session I went to that probably had no real relevance to The Beacon was the Sprinkling Pixie Dust on Immersive Events. It was put on by Disney’s parade creator. I have always had a passion for Disney and knew I wanted to go to this session as soon as I saw it. Steve the presenter said that he does what he does because he just wants to show the magic of Disney. He showed how they plan every part of the parades and shows, pretty much having no limitations on how big he could go.
On Saturday, my mom and I went to Disney and I made a point of standing on Main Street to watch the fireworks show. It was so magical and the coolest show I have ever seen.
I’m so glad I was able to go to the conference, network and meet professionals in the business as well as a few other students that attended. Online is the present and the future, which is really inspiring and exciting.