What is it: An open-source tool for transforming interview articles into shareable and embeddable interactive chats.

Cost: Free

How is it of use to journalists? Simple Q&As can sometimes feel dull. With InterviewJS, journalists can build a story as interactive messaging, complete with the three dots as the interviewee “types” their answer. This puts the reader in the journalist’s seat -- instead of simply reading, they ask the interviewee pre-selected questions and watch the conversation unfold. And who wouldn’t want to chat directly to Barrack Obama or Donald J. Trump about Obamacare?

InterviewJS, a tool developed by Al Jazeera and funded by the Digital News Initiative Fund, is free to use and the code is open-source.

The interviews can be embedded on a website or shared on social media, and you can use text, images, video, audio, maps, and charts. Every answer comes with a link to the original source like a website or a specific tweet, so the reader always knows where the information comes from.

Screenshots of InterviewJS

After creating an account with an email address, users can start to compose a chat by creating a headline, byline, and adding a cover photo and logo. Then they add an intro and description of the content and create an interviewee profile (name, title, bio and a profile picture).

The tool allows for several interviewees which comes in handy when writing about a topic that requires different points of view. It is even possible to choose the colour of the text bubble for more personalisation.

The user then puts together the elements of the story, such as interview notes or existing transcripts, that will be converted into chat bubbles, videos and pictures. As for the questions, the user can choose from pre-selected prompts like “Tell me more” or “How do you know?”, or type their own. It’s even possible to rearrange the speech bubbles and edit text at any stage.

Finally, journalists can create a closing poll to engage readers and ask them to have their say. The published interview is stored in the cloud and you get a URL to share on social media or embed on your website.

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