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Five reporting tools you might have missed in 2012

Five reporting tools you might have missed in 2012

Margaret Looney | December 31, 2012

With so many journalists plagued by information overload, it’s easy to miss out on a tool or two.

In case you missed them, IJNet picked five favorite reporting tools from the past year that are worth checking out in 2013:

1. Pixlr

Named one of our alternatives to shuttered photo editor Picnik, Pixlr is great for quick photo touch-ups. It offers easy upload and editing settings. This free online photo editor has three desktop applications--advanced, efficient and playful--plus mobile apps for Android and iPhone.

Use the advanced version for a slew of adjustment options or stick to Pixlr express and Pixlr-o-matic for quick Instagram-like filters or a collage.

2. Plagiarisma

Cited as our top choice for versatility among five online plagiarism checkers, Plagiarisma checks content from pasted text, urls, Google Scholar and Google Books in 190 languages. Use this tool to see if websites are republishing your content without permission or to catch clichés in your writing.

3. Piktochart

This free Web application offers an easy way to create a data visualization project. Though it may not have received as much hype as infographic maker Visual.ly, Piktochart offers more hands-on possibilities for the average blogger who wants to pair an infographic with a story inexpensively. Featured in the Data Journalism Handbook.

The free version offers six customizable themes. It lets you add graphics, shapes and text; change color schemes and fonts; upload as many as five images; and create charts. Drawbacks: There’s a watermark at the bottom of all free themes, and you can only save your infographic as an image. The professional version (US$29/month) removes the watermark, offers more than 100 customizable themes and lets you export your infographic as raw data or HTML for embedding purposes.

4. YouTube’s face-blurring tool

Whether it’s footage from a controversial protest or a sit-down interview with an apprehensive source, journalists can use this tool to preserve anonymity for the people they film. Reviewed on IJNet earlier this year, the tool gets mixed results because of the lengthy processing time, but its ease of use makes it a helpful tool for video makers with limited equipment.

5. Popcorn Maker

Announced at the 2012 Mozilla Festival, this app lets you edit Web video by adding text, photos, links, maps and other content. Edit your YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud or HTML video with the tool's timeline-based editing setup and drag-and-drop features. Make your next video interactive by adding a Google map, Twitter search, Wikipedia entry or captions. Click here for a how-to on more of the tool's features.

Image CC-licensed on Flickr by noodlepie.

@margylooney