The continuous improvements at Wix.com and Imcreator.com have made these two free web-authoring tools more and more practical for use as digital news reporting platforms. This post is an update on a previous post comparing wix and imcreator in putting together a multimedia reporting package.
Elements to be included in the package
As in the previous post, I’m using the two tools to create two new versions of a multimedia story about Tent City, a makeshift shelter for homeless people in Lakewood, N.J.
I managed to pull together some contents that are typical of a digital/multimedia reporting project; some contents are created by me, some are not – for purpose of demonstration, let’s assume all these contents are created by me, a digital journalist:
- video: a video documentary of Tent City, hosted on Youtube
- audio: an audio interview with the founder of Tent City, edited with Audacity and hosted on Soundcloud.com
- audio slideshow: created with Soundslides and hosted on Dropbox, about a Tent City resident reflecting her life in the “city”
- interactive map: a Google map showing locations of Tent City and the nearest shelter
- data visualization: an interactive visualization created with, and hosted by, Tableau Public, showing median household incomes by county in New Jersey
- content curation: a curated story using Storify which pulls together various web and social media resources in telling about Tent City
It’s worth noting that all these contents are created or hosted using free tools/services or free versions of the paid tools/services. The tools/services utilized include Youtube, Audacity, SoundCloud, Soundslides, Dropbox, Google Maps, Tableau Public, and Storify.
The two finished projects are both neat and functional
It took me several hours working on the Wix project: preparing contents, getting to know Wix’s new editor interface, and working on the layout; after that, it only took me about 30 minutes to put together the imcreator project, with all elements already in place and thanks to the familiar imcreator editor interface which has not changed much since I last used it.
Click on a screen shot below to explore the multimedia project in a new window – the first one is for Wix project and the second for imcreator project.
Some observations and thoughts about wix and imcreator as digital reporting tools
In my previous review of these two tools, I was complaining about Wix for not being able to embed a customized Google map – now Wix has made it a standard feature. My complaint about imcreator for not allowing audio upload still holds – although I can embed the same audio clip from my Soundcloud account, the default playback control is a bit difficult to work with.
That said, both tools are easy to work with – without having to learn anything about web design or flash animation. They will prove valuable for people who want to present multimedia contents to a web audience – think about a a freelance journalist or a small local news site who doesn’t have much of IT and technical support, or a PR worker who needs to send out multimedia materials to client and the media.
One issue I have with both tools is that I was not able to embed a Storify story. I created a Storify story about Tent City, and Storify provides ready-made embedding codes; however, the codes won’t work – nothing shows up in the embedded area.
Also, it should be noted that these two tools are started first and foremost as web design tools, not digital reporting tools. They both come with all the templates for various themes, but there is not a “news theme,” and I feel that a few basic news templates (breaking news, feature stories, etc.?) would make a digital reporter’s job much more efficient.