Multimedia views / software

Use free tools to better your news product

Paul Bradshaw makes a point about the Guardian (UK) that I was making last week to a group of college newspaper editors at the Management Seminar for College Newspaper Editors (MSCNE) at the University of Georgia: Use what’s out there.

Paul notes that the Guardian uses tools like del.icio.us, Google gadgets, Yahoo Pipes, and others to bring more content to their readers, and do so without having to develop their own software.

None of them owned or built by the Guardian. But all of them do the job required, and well – for nothing. Culturally, this is a hard thing for many news organisations to do (”But we can’t control it!”), but increasingly, it’s something they’re learning tends to work better than unwieldy bespoke software. It’s cheaper – and importantly in these times, much, much quicker.

There are numerous free software solutions that will add to your news organization’s abilities to add value online. Using these tools is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. I admire college newspapers who use tools like YouTube, for example, to push forward with new media instead of relying on someone to come up with a uniquely college media-specific solution.