Engaging Audiences with Multimedia

We’re gathering the coolest tools out there, reviewing them and giving you the skinny, so you can rock at your job — always here to make your life easier.

To start off with, we’ll take a look at a few projects from the Knight Lab, so you can create more visually catching and interactive multi-media projects.

Tool: Timeline JS

Cost: Free

Needed Tech Level: Novice

Timeline JS is an extremely easy and useful tool to help tell stories with a confusing or packed chronology. A reporter introduced us to the platform when covering an incident on widespread cheating at Dartmouth College, and it proved very useful in explaining the stages of disciplinary action.

Photo credits: Technology_12

What is it

With Timeline JS, everything is streamlined through a Google Spreadsheet, so you don’t have to know any code. You just add links to Tweets, photos, videos, Google Maps and sound to the spreadsheet, and the system does the rest. It even provides an embed code so the timeline can be hosted on your website.

Our Thoughts
The long set of instructions can make Timeline JS look intimidating, it’s basic Google spreadsheet template doesn’t provide the level of customization that some more advanced coding can provide, and its support features are limited. But it’s streamlined process makes it easy to pick up and is a great tool for journalists who don’t have the time or coding knowledge to craft an entirely new website for their story, all without downloading or purchasing new software.

Photo Credits: Symo0

Use Cases

Timeline JS can also be useful for lighter stories on changes over time, like this history of hats, or stories that show the progression of events over time, such as the Arizona Daily Star’s coverage of six-year-old Isabel Celis’ disappearance.

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