Big newsrooms can mean hundreds of noisy journalists chasing each other for more news on a story or long meetings discussing all the details of an important media project.
In fast-paced environments like this, collaboration is essential but not always easy to achieve.
In collaborative journalism, technology plays an important role. Here are some useful tools to make the work of your newsroom simpler and more collaborative.
- Content Creation
Perhaps one of the most widely used platforms for collaboration because of its ubiquity, Google Docs can be shared with anyone who has a Google account.
A similarly free tool for writing and editing with a wide range of options that allows team members to personalise their writing experience and collaborations. Draft has a more detailed control of past versions than Google Docs to find previous editions that may have been overwritten, as well as transcription tools, analytics image hosting and the fantastically named 'Hemingway mode' – "write drunk; edit sober" – turning off the ability to delete anything.
- Digital file storage
Two good solutions are:
The most popular digital storing tool, extremely user-friendly and versatile on mobile and tablets. Dropbox allows automatic storing and the possibility to edit docs and view PDFs. It is free for 2GB of storage, with graded plans for more storage options.
A storing service with a dedicated 'Media and Entertainment' plan that offers an efficient sharing workflow and with a six level access system providing high protection to important files. Free for up to 10GB storage.
- Mind-mapping and Brainstorming
If part of your team is in the office and the rest is online, then it is worth using one of these tools:
Designed more for managing visual projects than written, Conceptboard is still applicable to both in allowing the user to drag and drop content onto a virtual whiteboard to share thoughts and notes. Free basic features.
Easy and with the essential options to fix the most important bits of a brainstorming session. The whiteboard can be used by the team and be read at any time. With GroupZap users can create a PDF to send to the team members as a record. Free basic features.
- Communication and organisation
An innovative tool to help you to organise your collaborative project without email. The user can easily create, assign and comment on tasks, keeping the conversation all in one app. Free up to 15 members.
A fast way to organise anything on a daily basis, with a card for each task and the possibility to invite all the team member. Used by the New York Times, Trello is available on across all platforms and mobile devices. Free with 10MB storage.
For programmers and designers, having a repository to share drafts of their work and get feedback can be very useful, so here are some some options:
GitHub is the most used platform for collaborative coding and has an active community of coders always ready to help if a problem comes up. There is also a collaborative code review to facilitate the workflow and the improvement proposed to the original project.
Free, or $7 a month for five private repositories and $12 a month for 10 private repositories.
A good tool that offers the possibility to host, manage and share unlimited private repositories. Bitbucket also give the possibility to code and collaborate without restriction, sharing the code with new members. Free with five users.
- Design collaboration
This platform is built to meet the needs of designers that can share and get feedback about images from other members. With very simple sharing tools, Marqueed improves the collaboration process between visual artists and media.
Free 100MB storage.
A good app to keep track of design revisions and to get faster feedback on the work done. Cage gives the possibility to share easily and have video conference while working on a particular image. Free 15 day trial.
At the next news:rewired digital journalism conference, organised by Journalism.co.uk, speakers from De Correspondent, the European Journalism Centre, Hostwriter and Beacon Reader will be sharing their experience and advice on collaboration between organisations, journalists and readers.