Free tools that make your online content sing

By on May 21, 2014

This is one of a series of blog posts from the third ONA class of MJ Bear Fellows, three journalists under 30 who are expanding the boundaries of digital news. Applications are open to apply for this year’s fellowship until June 6. Fellow Armie Garde is assistant content editor and multimedia journalist for Sun.Star Publishing, Cebu City, Philippines.

One of my tasks as an assistant content editor for the Sun.Star website is to keep myself up to date on the many multimedia and online tools available to journalists. I track how other news websites use these tools and then figure out how to maximize their features.

As much as possible, online content should be both interactive and visual. I take advantage of free online tools to achieve that, and some are even available on a mobile device. Here are a few I’ve found particularly helpful:


Sometimes you can’t help but have a favorite tool, and ThingLink is one of mine.

You can tell a story through a photograph and make it come alive with music, a voice over, video text and more. Just unleash your creativity. Uploading images and other media, as well as adding links, is a simple task in this interface. You can also share your content on social media and embed it on your website.

Here is an example of what I came up for my Chinese New Year 2014 coverage.

Newsrooms are increasingly focusing on data journalism. When you’re dealing with a lot of data, you’ll likely need the ability to quickly create a quality infographic.

Meet, which offers more than 30 chart types, from pies to bubbles to treemaps. It also has a built-in spreadsheet tool to help you edit your data.

Here is an example I made. With, you can share a finished infographic on social media, embed it on your site, or even download it to your computer as PNG and PDF. The tool also allows you to incorporate photos, videos and more. Keep exploring, and you’ll see how you can best use this for your regular news content.



There are stories, especially developing stories, that are better told through a timeline. Dipity allows you to create a visually engaging and interactive timeline. It incorporates audio, videos, links and more, and you end up with an embeddable timeline on your website.

Here, I created a timeline of a September 2013 siege in a southern Philippines city.

Fellow Armie Garde is assistant content editor and multimedia journalist for Sun.Star Publishing, Cebu City, Philippines. She is a graduate of the University of the Philippines Cebu College.