Mastering multimedia

Improving your writing, reporting, and speaking skills,
mastering multimedia,
making the most of Word and other software, equipment, and tools

· Mastering multimedia
· Tech tutorials for computer novices
· Equipment, software, tools, and tutorials for working in multimedia
~Audio tools and technology
(including Choosing the right microphone)
~Recording phone interviews
~Audio editing software and tutorials
~Tutorials for radio
~Scanning and repairing photos
~Organizing photos
~Scanning and indexing magazines and newspapers
~Video production and editing
~File extensions, listed and explained
· Improving your writing, reporting, and speaking skills
· Making the most of Word software

See also Films, plays, and documentaries

Why are topics such as Toastmasters and multimedia training listed here? In today's market, you need to know not only how to write a sentence, develop a narrative, hold the reader's attention, explain complex ideas clearly in plain English, and so forth, but also how to attract people to your work, build a platform, work in multimedia, and so forth. Additional links to improving your sentence-writing craft will be found under Style, grammar, word choice, and pronunciation.

I've included a section on equipment here because for many of us new equipment, while it promises much and often delivers, almost always comes with a new learning curve and a fair degree of anxiety before the equipment is mastered. I remember that day in 1981 when I opened my first computer and burst into tears at the thought of pressing a wrong key and destroying it. There have been many computers since them, and I still get nervous! And with multimedia the amount of equipment has proliferated and is taking over my office!


• Journalists' toolkit (Mindy McAdams training site for multimedia and online journalists).
• No Fear Guide to Multimedia Skills (Mindy McAdams handout for National Writers Workshop)
• Mastering Multimedia (Ronald A. Yaros, American Journalism Review, Aug/​Sept 2009). It’s not enough to post some text and then simply throw some video into the mix. To keep readers’ attention and enhance the audience’s understanding, it’s critical that each ingredient in a rich multimedia stew is placed precisely where it makes the most sense.
• I'm Ira Glass, Host of This American Life, and This Is How I Work (Andy Orin, Lifehacker, 7-23-14) Great behind-the-scenes detail on how-to, or how-we-do-it, and technology.
• Journalism 2.0 (a digital literacy guide for the information age, Knight Citizen News Network)
• (searchable database of journalism training that meets your needs)
• Vermont Folklife Center Field Research Guides
• Location Sound: The Basics and Beyond (Dan Brockett, on Ken Stone site, 10-21-02).
• Glossary of audio terms(Atlantic Technology -- check out their Learning Center)
• The Basics (Jay Allison on recording in audio for public radio, Transom Tools)
• Knight Digital Media Center Multimedia Workshop (regular workshops and online tutorials)
• Knight Digital Media Center tutorials (KDMC tutorials on audio, computing, data visualization, Flash, mashups, photography, public records, reporting, social media, video, and Web development), seminar archives (rich in material--browse by year or by topic), and blogs.
• Lifehacker's Step-by-Step Guide to Digitizing Your Life
• Tip Sheets on Photojournalism (David Shedden, Poynter Institute)
• There’s Lots of Tech Help, Yes, on the Internet by Azadeh Ensha (NY Times, 12-24-08). A good list of online-help sites.
• Time-Coding Transcripts. This blog from the Audio Transcription Center provides a good argument for going to the extra time and expense of time coding a transcript, using this interesting recording and transcript from the Kentuckiana Digital Library as an example.
• Web 2.0 top tools and resources
• Oral History Tutorial (Matrix, Audio-Tech, somewhat technical -- to help researchers implement several important aspects of audio technology in the field, studio, and research lab)
• Transom Tools FAQ (Jeff Towne)
• Digital Oral History Workshop (Baylor University's online guide to principles in selecting and using digital equipment and software for recording, preserving, and disseminating oral history)
• BBC Advanced Audio Tips(for radio, but with applications for personal history interviewing). NEW (for students): Hands on History: A Guide to Oral History (download free PDF). The Hands on History videos appear not to be accessible in U.S. but some of the how-to-build-a-castle type instructions are.
• Family Oral History Using Digital Tools. Technical whiz kid Susan Kitchens reviews equipment and, as a consultant, can help you with technical questions. Of particular use may be this series: From Digital Audio Recording to Audio CD: Part 1 - Audio into Audacity; Part 2: Making minor edits to increase sound level; Part 3: Exporting your recording to a file format that iTunes can use and creating an Audio CD and Part 4 (Dividing the audio into sections based on topics of discussion using Audacity’s Label Tracks, "to come").
• Alpha Geek: How to digitize cassette tapes by Rick Broida (Lifehacker)
• Future Media Concepts (excellent, expensive training in small classes in DC, New York, Philly, Boston, Orlando, Chicago and Irvine, CA)
• Docs in Progress (Silver Spring, MD)
• Knight Digital Media Center (UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, includes Multimedia Storytelling Institute, Data Visualization, Data Driven Maps, Video Storytelling, and so on)
• Multimedia Bootcamp (University of North Carolina School of Journalism)
• Society for News Design (SND)
• News U (Poynter). Among courses offered: Five Steps to Multimedia Storytelling
• Online News Association
• Ourmedia (powering change through environmental media)
• Maine Multimedia Workshops
Please let me know of other training opportunities worth listing here (email to pat at patmcnees dot com)

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Equipment, software, and other tools and tutorials for creating multimedia


~Audio tools and technology
(including Choosing the right microphone)
~Recording phone interviews
~Audio editing software and tutorials
~Tutorials for radio
~Scanning, repairing, and organizing photos
~Video production and editing
•’s tools page with equipment reviews and tutorials on how to use the equipment (a showcase and workshop for New Public Radio)
• Glossary of audio terms (Atlantic Technology)
• The Basics (Jay Allison on recording in audio for public radio, Transom Tools)
• The B&H Handheld Digital Audio Recorders Buyer's Guide (Sam Mallery). Some advise going to this website, calling B&H (The Professional's Source 800.606.6969 or 212.444.6615), and letting one of their knowledgeable sales people help you decide what to buy. Another good source of audio gear: BSW (800.426.8434).
• Audio Resources (Mindy McAdams, Journalists' Toolkit)
• CNET product reviews (equipment in many categories) and reviews of freeware (free software downloads for Windows). Or check out reviews at Macworld.
****Digital Audio Field Recording Equipment Guide (Andy Kolovos's excellent list, Vermont Folklife Center). See also his list of list of Audio Field Recording Equipment Guide -- Retired Equipment (mostly analog)
• Portable Digital Recorder Comparison (, fall 2009)
• How to digitally record and transcribe an interview (Jack Dougherty, 11-12-13)
• Audio In Close Up - Which Lavalier Should I Use? (Dan Brockett, on Ken Stone's Final Cut Pro website, 4-7-08)
• Microphones (B&H)
• Hindenburg Journalist (this links to a 30-day trial for this user-friendly audio editor--audio producing software designed especially for radio, audiobook producers, podcasters, and home users. The Danish manufacturer Nsaka has posted several tutorials here, and Jeff Towne's review on may also be helpful. Oral historian Elisabeth Pozzi-Thanner says, "In those rare cases when I agree to record someones voice long distance, because I really can not get to them in person, I use the oral history audio editing software Hindenburg Journalist."
• How to Find an Audio Recorder That's Right for You, part 1 (Dan Curtis, personal historian). Here's part 2
• How To Choose CD/​DVD Archival Media and Longevity of Recordable CDs and DVDs . Thanks to Dave Morrison ("Nerd in a hurry") for those links. Dave recommends not buying the cheapest blank CDs available. For a few cents more per disc, you can buy a brand that is "made to a higher standard," such as JVC/​Taiyo Yuden.
• Field Recording in the Digital Age and Guide to audio recording equipment (Andy Kolovos, Vermont Folklife Center). See also his list of retired equipment, mostly analog
• Audio technology tutorial (Historical Voices, somewhat technical, not entirely up-to-date, but useful)
• Web Audio: MP3 Streaming (Joshua Barlow's tutorial,
• Switch Audio File Converter Software (convert or compress sound files from one format to another within minutes of downloading)
• Ask Doug: Choosing a Digital Audio Recorder ( Doug Boyd, DigitalOmnium, 12-29-12). A site with many helpful entries.)
• Oral History Association on Technology
• Soundslides (a rapid production tool for still image and audio Web presentations)
• Room Acoustics Primer (this one's for listening to music)
• Capturing Analog Sound for Digital Preservation: Report of a Roundtable Discussion of Best Practices for Transferring Analog Discs and Tapes (PDF)
• History of various media (Richard Hess)
• Remote Recording Survival Guide (Tom Lopez,, 6-1-02, on the equipment you'll need if traveling to record at remote locations)
• Recording Highs and Lows (Barrett Golding,
• HOW TO: Convert DVD (VOB) Files to Editable MPEGs (Scott Nadsan, Ensemble Notes, 1-13-11). One of many Tips & Tricks, including, for example, a six-part "crash course" on video conversion.

• Choosing the Right Microphone:An Overview of Popular Short Shotgun, Supercardioid, Hypercardiod and Cardioid Microphones (Dan Brockett, on Ken Stone's Final Cut Pro website, 1-7-08).
• Audio In Close Up - Which Lavalier Should I Use? (Dan Brockett, Ken Stone's Final Cut Pro website, 4-7-08)
• Stereo-Types (Jeff Towne,, on collecting stereo sound)
• What Microphone Do I Get? (Jeff Towne,, 6-11-01)

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People have very different opinions about what works best, and technology is rapidly improving, so read everything here! Can it record both inbound and outgoing calls, are you in control of the audio, is it easy to hit a button and record or do you have to jump through hoops?
• Going Digital (Jordan Raphael, Online Journalism Review 1-12-04)
• Recording Phone Calls and Conversations (Digital Media Law) State and federal wiretapping laws may limit your ability to record telephone calls or in-person conversations (including by recording video that captures sound. Breaking those laws may expose you to risks of criminal prosecution or a civil claim for money damages. Read this before you proceed.
• State Law: Recording (Digital Media Law) Each state has its own wiretapping statute and its own rule on how many parties need to consent to the recording of a phone call or conversation in order to make it lawful. State law also varies on whether or not (and under what circumstances) you are permitted to use recording devices in public meetings and court hearings. Choose your state from the list below for state-specific information on recording laws.
• Recording Phone Calls (Jeff Towne, Jay Allison,, 2-26-09). The excellent (for National Public Radio) offers advice non-NPR people can use. There are reviews and advice here on Analog Phone Couplers and Hybrids, Digital Hybrids, Cell Phone Taps, Skype and Computer-based Telephony, etc. Not advice for dummies!
• Record Your Own Radio Documentary (a tutorial by producer David Isay, Sound Portraits). An interview guide and an interview list.
• The Easiest Way to Record Phone Interviews? Have the Subject Use an iPhone to Record Themselves ((Neal Augenstein, MediaShift, December 10, 2012--he's talking to journalists, but for high-quality audio on public media)
• Tape-A-Call (Personal historian Wendy Ledger tested some call-recording apps for iPhone and recommends this one, for those who need to record a lot of phone interviews.)
• How to Record a Podcast Using Skype (Doug Kaye and Paul Figgiani, Skype for Interviews, Digital Podcast, 22-minute online video, free) " If you can get both parties using Skype you can create exceptional quality. You can also use Skype out which will give you a telephone quality on one side and broadcast quality on the other side."
• How to Record Skype Conversations: Tools, Resources, Tips (Amit Agarwal, Digital Inspiration 6-7-06)
• Six essentials for recording phone interviews (Science Writer's Handbook)
• Practical Tips for Recording Phone Calls, Conversations, Meetings, and Hearings (Digital Media Law)
• How to Record Phone Calls to a Hard Drive Automatically (Alexander Poirier, eHow, 11-5-10)
• Capturing Analog Sound for Digital Preservation: Report of a Roundtable Discussion of Best Practices for Transferring Analog Discs and Tapes (PDF file)
Apps and other tools
• Dynametric telephone and webinar recording equipment
• The Olympus TP-8 telephone recording device (a telephone pick-up microphone, $18.95, records both sides of a conversation). You plug it into the microphone jack on your digital audio recorder, put the earpiece in your ear and press the record button. The microphone in the earpiece picks up both sides of the conversation on either a landline or cell phone.
• Search for "telephone recording device" at Amazon, B&H, and other vendor sites for other options.
• With this free bridge line service, both parties dial the same number and key in an access code and press #9 to record, After the call, FreeConferenceCall emails you a link to the recording, which is available as both a WAV and mp3 file. The recording quality is good (don't know if it is good enough for micromedia). You may wonder, as did (and explains): How Can A Free Conference Call Be Free?
• How To Record Skype Video – Skype Video Call Recording Tools ( online video guide--this is a review of various software options)
• Hindenburg (this audio editing software records Skype calls directly into the software. Call via Skype, record the interview, edit the interview.)
• Free Skype call recorder: http:/​/​​
• Recording Skype calls in video-audio or audio-only with Evaer software (inexpensive--you get better sound if you record audio only)
• (with this app, which you can use on an iPhone, you can record outgoing or incoming calls (stored in the cloud), paying by the minute, and you can get transcription, too (quality varies). Some interviewers don't like losing control of the recording.
• You login, schedule and manage conference calls, can download a call and play it as an mp3.
• Audio Hijack Pro (record any audio from applications like iTunes, Skype, or DVD player
• Esonic One-Touch Mobile Cell Phone Recorder U2 (gets some so-so and negative reviews)
• SuperTintin, another Skype video call recorder (and as described and rated on C/​Net--some negative)
• GoToMeeting (good for recording various types of group conferencing (products: GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToTraining).
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• Express Scribe (free transcription playback software, for digital transcription of audio recordings)
• Audacity: download for free here (it's a free cross-platform sound editor). (Have old cassette tapes you want to transfer to your computer? You may be able to do so through Audacity, with a line cord connected from a tape player.)
• Audacity Forum
• Audacity tutorials step-by-step instructions for performing common tasks in Audacity
• More Audacity tutorials , as well as Tips
• Switch Audio File Converter Software (convert or compress sound files from one format to another within minutes of downloading)
• (self-paced hands-on learning for software such as Acrobat, Dreamweaver, Final Cut, InDesign, Photoshop, $25 a month) -- a lot of people swear by this site!
• Edit Smarter with Larry Jordan (newsletter and other resources)
• Top Tutorials & Tips (an Audacity wiki).
• Mindy McAdams’ Superfast Guide to Audio Editing (on Audacity), Part 1 (PDF), and here’s Part 2 .
Download them, save them, and print them out.
• Simple guide to editing in Audacity (text with visuals, from Steeple).
• Using Audacity (a multimedia presentation, one of many useful Teacher Training Videos from Russell Stannard (http:/​/​​).
• Digital Editing of Field Audio (Vermont Folklife Center)
• From Digital Audio Recording to Audio CD: Part 1 - Audio into Audacity and Part 2 - Basic Audio Edits (Susan Kitchens, Family Oral History Using Digital Tools)
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• When This Guy Talks, NPR Listens (Paul Farhi, Washington Post, quoting media trainer David Candow about how to come across better in front of a microphone). From Paul Farhi's story about media trainer David Candow ("When This Guy Talks, NPR Listens") Farhi: "In radio, 'the big adjective is a verb'... a single punchy verb can describe someone better than a string of flowery adjectives. For example, Candow recalls a radio story about a 105-year-old woman named Alice. The reporter told her listeners that upon their first encounter, Alice 'flits' into the room. 'Flits!' repeats Candow. That one verb is 'more powerful than any description I can make up.'"
• BBC Tips for Radio News (useful for anyone gathering and editing audio)
• BBC Academy (training and development)
• BlogTalkRadio 101 (screencast tutorials and live training to help get started as a host)
• Getting Started in Internet Radio (Gerry Michaels, Studmuffin Media)
• Gathering Audio, Part 1 and Part 2: A Practical Guide (Brian Storm, Media Storm). Here's more on audio Mindy McAdams, Journalists' Toolkit)
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See also Organizing photos

Tutorials and explanations of how to make a digital file of an old photograph:
• Scanning Basics 101 (Wayne Fulton's wonderfully useful site,, which includes pages such as
~The fundamental concepts of digital images (for print and for video--they're different)
~Pixels, Printers, Video - What's With That? (pixels, bytes, and other explanations)
~Scaling--how to print a different size (printing resolution)
~Printer resolution
~Scanning line art
~Scanning for fax
~Scanning Images in Books/​Magazines/​Newspapers
~Photographic Resolution: How much can we scan?
~Image File Formats - JPG, TIF, PNG, GIF -- Which to use?
~Memory problems (Why is memory size important? What is swapping? What is Virtual Memory?
~What does JPG Quality Losses mean? What are JPG artifacts?
~Menu for the ScanTips site
~Scanning and Printing Resolution Calculator.

• Learn Photography: A comprehensive beginner's guide (Udemy blog)
• Tips & Tutorials (Digital Photography School)
• JPEG vs. TIFF (Digital Memories, good explanation in a chart)
• Tips for Handling Mold & Mildew Damaged Photographs (Yesteryear Memories)
• ScanCalc (a little helper to calculate image scan resolutions when working with video)
• Storybook Perfect Scanning (Joan Hitchens, Navigating Grief site, good general instructions on scanning for beginners)
• Preparing Stills in PhotoShop for Import into Final Cut Pro (FCP) (Ken Stone).
• Photoshop: 60 Photoshop Tutorials for Photo Touch-Ups (Vandelay's Web & Graphic Design Blog)
• 60 Photoshop Actions for Photo Touch-Ups and Enhancements (Steven Snell, DesignM.AG)
• Photo Organizing Software Review (from - organize, archive, re-size and publicize your digital photos, though I doubt you need such software)
• PDF programs reviewed. Softonic's pages of reviews, listed by frequency of download, of software for creating and reading "portable document format," or PDF, files (which Adobe invented, which preserve the integrity of the pages they capture, yet are viewable and printable on almost any platform).
• Acrobat 9 Tutorials (, which many rely on for guidance)
• Fotosizer (Batch Image resizing made easy)
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Organizing photos

Do read the comments. See also Scanning and repairing photos

• The Best Way to Organize a Lifetime of Photos (Geoffrey A. Fowler, WSJ, 4-21-15) Apple Photos, Adobe Lightroom, Shoebox, Lyve and Mylio put your entire picture library in your pocket
• Upload the Pictures, and Let Google Photos Do the Rest (E. Justin Swanson, Personal Tech, NY Times, 6-3-15)
• Google Photos Review: Why Google Beats Apple at Organizing Your Life’s Memories (Joanna Stern, WSJ, 6-2-15)
• Less is More: Avoiding Photo Overload (Rebecca Robinson, APH blog, 2-11-15)
• Bye Bye, iPhoto: Apple Reboots With Photos for Mac ( Geoffrey A. Fowler, WSJ, 2-5-15) New OSX App Makes a Case to Pony Up for iCloud Storage
• How to Organize Photos (Better Homes and Gardens)
• How Can I Organize Generations of Family Photos? (Walter Glenn, Lifehacker, 10-21-13)
• Digital Photography Super Guide: How to Organize Your Photos (Michael Muchmore, PC Mag, 11-12-12)
• Cloud Photo Storage: The Best Ways to Bank Family Pictures (Wilson Rothman, WSJ, 4-22-14) Exploring the Best Options From Dropbox, Flickr, Shutterfly, SmugMug and Google
• Why You Should Always Have More Than One Backup (Melanie Pinola, Lifehacker, 11-16-12)
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Scanning, archiving, and indexing magazines, journals, and newspapers

• A Scanner and a Mission: An Interview with Paul Ford (David Barringer, AIGA, 6-5-07) "Hewlett-Packard made a big fuss about putting 80 years of Time magazine online. It took HP Labs and a consulting team a year to do it, and the online archive is still limited: it provides the text of the articles but not the actual images of the pages. Other periodicals, including magazines like The New Yorker and newspapers like the New York Times, have put their content online but have stopped short of providing reproductions of the very pages as they were laid out in the original print editions....Harper's Magazine, on the other hand, has gone all the way...".associate editor Paul Ford created what he calls "a massive, interlinked, searchable document that provides quick access" to 157 continuous years of Harper's—with illustrations and all. Working alone, without any consulting team and without fuss, Ford has been a man with a plan, a scanner and a lot of patience."
• Rob Dubbin Q&A with Paul Ford (final issue of Wag's Review, Issue 20, Fall 2015) Paul Ford "marched into Harper's and digitized their entire many-thousand-issue back catalogue with what he would later describe to me as 'XSLT, Java, PHP, Perl, scotch tape, and glue.'" Q&A about the process.
• Google Shuts Down Ambitious Newspaper Scanning Project (Search Engine Land, 5-20-11). Basically it's efforts to make the world's newspapers available online for free are ending and it will help newspapers make them available for a charge, is how I read this.
• Thinking of scanning records?(Cardiff University, Governance and Compliance) "Scanning, if undertaken properly, and for the right reasons, can make information more accessible and reduce the amount of physical space taken up by paper records. But it can also have serious cost and legal implications." A checklist and discussion.
• Digitization (Smithsonian Institution Archives). Start on this page to find some good technical info.
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This is an area where you may not know what you don't know. In an article on "Prepping Still Images," on Larry Jordan's Edit Smarter, for example, I learned this: "[I]mages on our computer are not the same as images we see in video. They differ in color space, color sampling, gray scale, bit depth, and, worst of all, the aspect ratio of their respective pixels.

"Computers display all images using square pixels. Almost all video displays an image using rectangular pixels. And converting between these two aspect ratios is going to drive all of us mad — because it seems that no two video formats use the same shape pixel. This means that we need to size images on our computer to compensate for these different aspect ratios."

• Knight Digital Media Center video tutorials, including tutorial on Editing in Final Cut Pro.
•, Learning @​ Your Own Pace (Lynda Weinman's tutorials on tools and techniques in digital media, design, and development), some free, some only by subscription, $25 a month)
• Your Inside Source. Order Larry Jordan's free monthly newsletter to learn about mastering Final Cut Studio and Digital Media. Edit Smarter, Master Final Cut Studio and Digital Media with Larry Jordan. See his helpful Editing Resource Library.
• BBC Academy (BBC's center for training, where you'll find the Colleges of Journalism, Production, Leadership and Technology--many free and online, some commercial.
• Video Journalists: More Crews, More Coverage, More Ratings (James Careless. Television Broadcast, or TVB, archive) Video Journalist (VJ) is a "fancy term for a one-man band camera-toting reporter" “Teaching people how to use the camcorder is only 10% of the process,” Michael Rosenblum tells TVB. “90% is psychological. Reporters need to learn that they can shoot their own footage, while camera people and editors need to learn that they can report.” Rosenblum runs a 3-week VJ boot camp.
• What journalists need to know about interviewing for video (Casey Frechette, Poynter, 2-6-13). See also (same writer and venue) How journalists can improve video stories with shot sequences ( 8-13-12) and What journalists need to know about digital video editing (11-16-12) and 9 key elements that can help journalists be better video storytellers (2-27-12)
• TED film guru gives students tips on filming presentations (TEDEd, 11-25-14)
• Nashville TV station’s surveillance crash story shows how to write to video (Al Tompkins, Poynter, 12-15-11, asks WTVF reporter Nick Beres how he created a compelling video story from an incident for which he had surveillance video but almost no audio).
• Media College (free site, with tutorials and articles on many aspects of audio and video, including tutorials on lighting techniques)
• Videomaker. Many, many articles about audio and video software, video editing hardware, and help with video lighting techniques.
• Video 101 (a/​k/​a/​ Production 101 -- tutorials on the fundamentals of film and video production--including video clips, flash animations, and explanations)
• The Difference Between LCD, LED, Plasma, and OLED TVs, Explained as Fast as Possible (Whitson Gordon, Lifehacker)
• Video University (master the art, techology, and business of video production--articles, forums, guides--and sales of instructional books and CDs)
• Vimeo Video School (lessons, tutorials, and sage advice on how to make better videos)
• Creative Cow video tutorials
• The Basics of Video Editing: The Complete Guide (Adam Dachis, Lifehacker Night School)
• Multimedia Shooter's tutorials
• How to fail at online video (Glen Canning's tongue-in-cheek guide to how to do it wrong)
• Ken Stone's Final Cut Pro resources, including all this on video editing
• Media College Video Camera Tutorials
• Apple tutorials
• Editing Resource Library (Edit Smarter, with Larry Jordan)
• GeniusDV tutorials, including Learning to Use Modifier [shortcut] Keys in Final Cut Pro (
• 2-pop (digital filmmaker's resource site, including forums)
• Strobist (learn how to light your photographs
• Capture analog video using a digital camcorder (
• The DV Show (podcasting the ins and outs of digital video)--looks like you have to pay to see the good stuff.
• Editing for the Web (Thom Lieb, skip ahead to basics on images and sound)
• Edit Smarter (Master Mac's Final Cut Studio and Digital Media with Larry Jordan)
• Family Legacy Video Producer's Guide (CD-ROM)
• The Top 3 Prosumer HD Camcorders Under $2,500 (Dan Curtis, 8-24-11)
• Restoratioon Tips & Notes; Media Formats and Resources (Richard Hess, 2007)
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For those of us puzzled by those phrases after the period: doc, mp3, and the like
• Audio file types ( -- an alphabetically organized (by extension) key to compressed and uncompressed audio formats). Here's another such list:
•, a searchable database of thousands of file extensions with detailed information about the associated file types (both compressed and uncompressed). You can use to look up information about unknown file types and find programs that open the files. Along the left you'll find categories of common file types: text files, data files, audio files, 3D image files, raster image files, vector image files, page layout files, spreadsheet files, executable files, game files, CAD files, GIS files, Web files, Plugin files, font files, system files, settings files, encoded files, compressed files, disk image files, developer files, backup files, and misc. files. Who knew?? Subsections of the site (helpful for personal historians, especially) include:
~ Answers to common questions about file extensions
~ Audio File Types (includes compressed and uncompressed audio formats, which contain waveform data that can be played with audio playback software. This category also includes MIDI files, musical scores, and audio project files, which typically do not contain audio data).
~ Video File Types (a wide range of video formats, which use different codecs to encode and compress video data)
~ Software Information (another helpful section of the, with information about popular software programs and a star-rating system to indicate a program's popularity).
~ Page Layout file types
~ Vector Image Files . It sez there: "Vector graphics are made up of paths, rather than individual pixels. These paths can be used to represent lines and shapes within the image. Most vector image formats can also include colors, gradients, and image effects. Since vector graphics store image data as paths, they can be enlarged without losing quality, which makes them a good choice for logos and other types of drawings. Common vector image file extensions include .EPS, .AI, and .SVG. Other image file categories include Raster Graphic and 3D Image files."
• Richard Hess's Media Formats and Resources (tape and magnetic media), Digital Audio resources), and his tips and notes -- pretty technical.
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Improving your writing, reporting,
interviewing and speaking skills

On interviewing:
• The Art of the Interview, Dale Keiger's presentation at the CASE Editors' Forum (3-30-09)
• Elizabeth Arnold on Interviewing (The Transom Review)
• Mary Pat Flaherty (Wash Post) on interviewing and writing (Patrick Cassidy's Investigative Reporting webpage)
• Secrets to a Successful Interview (Valerie Holladay,, 1-1-05)
• So What Do You Do, James Lipton, Creator and Host of Inside the Actor's Studio? (Amanda Ernst's interview for Media Bistro, 4-4-12)
• Pat McNees's links to good interview questions and guides online

Books on interviewing (especially for journalists):
• The Craft of Interviewing by John Joseph Brady
• The Talk Book: The Intimate Science of Communicating in Close Relationships (explains reflective listening and disclosure)
• Creative Interviewing: The Writer's Guide to Gathering Information by Asking Questions by Ken Metzler
• Interviews That Work: A Practical Guide for Journalists by Shirley Biagi
• The Art of the Interview: Lessons from a Master of the Craft by Lawrence Grobel (memoir of a top interviewer who prepares deeply for long interviews; don't expect helpful instruction for quicky interviews).

• The interviewee's right to "edit" a transcript or story (Pat McNees)

Analytical writing for science & technology (T.M. Georges)

Associated Writing Programs

"Basic" plots in literature (Internet Library)

Bulwer-Lytton Contest (craft the worst opening line for a novel)

Choose the right way to tell your story (API)

Conferences, workshops, and other learning places

Design Makeovers (Layers Magazine)

Poynter. Training (Essential Skills for the Digital Journalist, and other training, in person or online). See also Poynter's Syllabus Exchange (encouraging educators to share ideas and teaching materials).

Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully: in Ten Minutes (Stephen King's now-classic article, which appeared in The Writer in 1986, reprinted on the Great Writing site).

Joyce Carol Oates on Productivity

Layer Magazine (a how-to magazine for everything Adobe)

Math Test for Journalists (Phil Meyer, UNC-Chapel Hill)

Math Test #2 for Journalists (Stephen Doig, ASU, inspired by Phil Meyer)

Memoir, biography, and personal histories

Mentoring program of ASJA (American Society of Journalists & Authors—an organization of independent nonfiction authors & journalists)

Mind Mapping, Tony Buzan (YouTube video), useful for note-taking, creativity

My Rules of Information (Marylaine Block on how to find the information you need, which may not be on the Internet)

Narrative nonfiction

News University (NU), Poynter’s online training for journalists, inexpensive and often free, with funding from one of the Knight Foundations--check out their excellent lineup of courses!)

No train, no gain
Training for newspaper journalists

Patrick Cassidy's Investigative Reporting links include many pages of excellent practical advice, such as Writing the Project: Using Story Structure to Shape Your Reporting (James Neff, Kiplinger Reporting Program)

Plain English (before-and-after examples from Plain Language website)

The Power of the Opening Sentence (Alan Rinzler, The Book Deal)

Poynter Online links to articles on attribution; bylines, credit lines, authorship; corrections; credibility; fact-checking; grammar, spelling, typos; photomanipulation; plagiarism

Rx for Writers (topical index for articles and transcripts on writing for children (Institute for Children's Literature). I am told the newsletter subscription is well worth $20 a year.

Scared Speechless? Join Toastmasters (Washington Post story by Pat McNees)

ShawGuide to Writers Conferences and Workshops

Statistics Every Writer Should Know (Robert Niles)

Ten Rules for Writing Fiction. Inspired by Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing, the Guardian asked several authors for their personal dos and don'ts. Read what Elmore Leonard, Diana Athill, Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Helen Dunmore, Geoff Dyer, Anne Enright, Richard Ford, Jonathan Franzen, Esther Freud, Neil Gaiman, David Hare, PD James, and AL Kennedy (part 1)and Hilary Mantel, Michael Moorcock, Michael Morpurgo, Andrew Motion, Joyce Carol Oates, Annie Proulx, Philip Pullman, Ian Rankin, Will Self, Helen Simpson, Zadie Smith, Colm Tσibνn, Rose Tremain, Sarah Waters, Jeanette Winterson (part 2) have to say.

Thirty tools for writers (Roy Peter Clark)

Tip Sheets: Online & Media (David Shedden's useful links, Poynter Institute)

Tip Sheets: Writing and Editing extremely helpful long list of articles from the Poynter Institute, thanks to David Shedden

Toastmasters International website

Tom Robbins: "My Advice to Writers" (on Alan Rinzler's writing blog)

The Top 100 Freelancer Blogs, many of them about improving your skills (Heather Johnson, Bootstrapper)

When This Guy Talks, NPR Listens (Paul Farhi, Washington Post, quoting media trainer David Candow about how to come across better in front of a microphone)

"Write now is good" (Kristin Gorski's remarkably eclectic blog about words, sweat, and inspiration)--plan to spend some time here!

The Writer (magazine for writers at all levels)

Writers on Writing (the New York Times series) Requires free membership

Writing Tics: Now You See Them, Now You Don't (The Subversive Copy Editor, 7-22-10, an interesting way of framing a common problem)

Writing with Numbers (Journalist's Toolbox links)

Writing workshops (Preditors and Editors’ list and links)

Acoustic Primer (GK Associates). This is really about acoustics for listening to music in a room, not for audiovisual productions, but it may be of interest for those more advanced than I am (a large crowd). on DV, DVCAM & DVCPRO formats . Explore the site and you may find material you can use.

Adobe keyboard shortcuts

Adobe tutorials for Creative Suite (free, Layers Magazine)

Ask Dave Taylor (online tech support about Windows, Mac OS X, iPhones, iPods, Sony PSPs, search engine optimization, online advertising and HTML). Lots of how-to explanations on his site. I also rely on Claude Kerno, or PCTutor, for tech help; he also has an archive of helpful articles.

Audio Field Recording Equipment Guide, Andy Kolovos's list of retired equipment, mostly analog (Vermont Folklife Center). See also his important Digital Audio Field Recording Equipment Guide

The Best Free Software of 2012 (Eric Griffith, PCMagazine, 4-2-12). See also Best free software of 2010 (Eric Griffith, PCMagazine), Best free software of 2009, and Best Free Apps for Your Phone

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Making the most of Microsoft Word and other software

How to find online help when your personal techie is sleeping, on vacation, or otherwise unavailable. Word is a powerful piece of writing software that is commonly used in publishing, but it is NOT considered adequate page-layout software and should not be used to design a book that you want to appear to be professionally published.

FAQs on Suzanne S. Barnhill's Word Tutorial site

Making the Most of Word (Shauna Kelly)

Download Making Word Work for You: An Editor's Intro to the Tools of the Trade (for up to Word 2003) by Hilary Powers, $10.25, 80 pages, or order the book for slightly more (
Or Making Word 2010 Work for You (Hilary Powers, EFA, Lulu). "Tames Microsoft Word."
Both help with track changes, macros, styles, templates, and personalizing the program and the screen to meet your needs and taste.

• Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Word (U.S. keyboard)
• Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Word 7 (this and the next few are courtesy of Claude Kerno)
• Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts
• Windows keyboard shortcuts in OS X (for Mac)
• Shortcuts for
(when using a keyboard with an iPad, iPhone, iPod touch)
• Keyboard shortcuts for Android

Resources for Word (and other Microsoft Office software) users (Liz Broomfield, LibroEditing--excellent instructions on using Word functions such as auto-correct, styles, margins, bullet points, case toggling, tabs, etc.)

Microsoft Word 2010 for Medical and Technical Writers by Maxine Okazaki and Peter Aitken (available in print and Kindle editions), described here by Piedmont Medical Writers

Getting Started With Microsoft Word Styles for Book Layout (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 2-1-13). (But it is not what Joel himself uses to design books.)

Maximizing Word's Status Bar (Andy Hollandbeck, Tech Tips, Copyediting, 6-10-13)

How to Remove Personal Data from a Word File (Adrienne Montgomerie, Copyediting, 9-21-15)

Get More Space in Word: The Disappearing Ribbon Trick (Dawn McIlvain Stahl, Tech Tips, Copyediting, 5-17-13)

Macro Cookbook for Microsoft Word by Jack Lyon, a new book that will be good news for users of Editorium (Jack Lyon's helpful "macros" for dealing speedily with mind-numbing tasks that eat up time, done manually in Word) and Editorium Update. For wordsmiths who work with Word, "In no time at all, he'll have you recording, running, borrowing, and modifying macros to make your work shrink and your income grow." See also Lyonizing Word: The Next Character Macro (a series of essays by Jack Lyon on using Microsoft Word, especially macros, to best advantage during the editing process), on the An American Editor blog)

The Professional Editor: Working Effectively Online II — The Macros (Jack Lyon, on An American Editor, 3-3-14). See also Working Effectively Online VIII — Macros Redux. (If this looks like Greek at first, you are not alone.)

8 Microsoft Word Shortcuts You Probably Don’t Know (Becky Worley, Yahoo! News, 3-14-12). For example, add the date: "How many times a day do you type the date? If you do it even once, that's too much. Next time, just hit Alt-Shift-D (or Control-Shift -D on a Mac) to add the date automatically."

PDF Converter (free PDF-to-Word converter, online -- no programs to download).

Two Hidden Features in Microsoft Word (nonbreaking spaces and optional hyphens, Robert Levy, on Save the Semicolon, 5-16-11)

100 Essential Tips for Microsoft Office 2010 (Jill Duffy, Edward Mendelson, 6-16-11)

The Editorium (Jack Lyon's program add-ins that make Word do a number of things it can't normally handle). For example, FileCleaner for Microsoft Word cleans up common problems in electronic manuscripts, including multiple spaces, multiple returns, unnecessary tabs, improperly typed ellipses, ells used as ones, and so on. It turns double hyphens into em dashes, and hyphens between numerals into en dashes. It can also remove directly applied font formatting (such as Times 12 point) while retaining styles (such as Heading 1) and character formatting (such as italic and bold), quickly cleaning up those messy documents imported from other word processors or CR programs. Click here for a page on Using found macros. Jack Lyon's book Microsoft Word for Publishing Professionals comes so highly recommended that I have just ordered it myself, despite the $35 price tag.

Effective Onscreen Editing: new tools for an old profession by Geoff Hart (available electronically or as book from

EditTools for MicrosoftWord , with macros for achieving consistency in style, especially useful with medical citations--for correcting incorrectly abbreviated journal names or odd/​incomplete/​inconsistent punctuation (e.g., N. Eng. J Med. the first time and N Engl. J. Med the second, when the client wants N Engl J Med), the only limitation being the dataset. You add the incorrect form in the dataset for The Journals portion of EditTools the first time you come across it; then that incorrect form gets corrected automatically. The Journals macro highlights in green journal names that are correct, leaving only the incorrect names and those not in the dataset, says Rich Adin, whose firm released this Microsoft Word add-in. Other features: Superscript Me (changes bracketed in-text references to superscript references), Insert Queries (to the author), and a Toggle macro (change one letter or sign to another by pressing a key combination). There's a free 15-day trial period for the macros.

Electronic Editing: With Your Computer, Not Just On It (Hilary Powers' presentation to BAEF, 3-16-04--notes by Dawn Adams). Plus a tip sheet, with macros, for the same presentation.

HP Learning Center: Microsoft Office and Adobe (free online classes, available 24/​7; topics include Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint,Digital Photos, etc. Go to​go/​learningcenter.

Keyboard shortcuts for Word 2002, Word 2003, and Word 2007 (Microsoft Support). And see Some of the most useful Word shortcuts (Microsoft Most Valued Professional site)

Tracking Changes with Word 2003

AnyCount (software that counts words or characters in any file format, and unlike Word counts footnotes and textbooks, too -- available for one-month free trial).

Count Anything (a free word-count utility for Windows in a variety of file formats)

Allen Wyatt's

Why Use InDesign Instead of MS Word? by David Blatner, (for those of you stubbornly and very very slowly trying to format a book in Word)

WORD VS. INDESIGN and other common first-time questions from our design customers (Jonathan Gullery, Publishing Basics 5-29-08)

7 Reasons NOT to Use Word to Typeset Your Book (Walt Shiel, View From the Trenches 5-21-11)

Why Use InDesign Instead of MS Word? (David Blattner, InDesign, quoting Bevi Chagnon, a consultant for the federal government)

Word PC e-mail list. Frequented by Word MVPs (most valued professionals), it's one place to ask for help when you've done all you can to resolve a Word problem.

Microsoft Word MVP FAQs. Word's Most Valuable Professionals resources include Word Tutorials, links to articles on other sites, and reviewed and recommended books.

Word Processing (James Marshall's helpful articles on

Word tutorials by "most valued professionals" (as named by Word), including a tutorial on creating an exclusion dictionary (making a word that Word thinks is spelled correctly show as a spelling error).

Word Hacks: Tips & Tools for Taming Your Text by Andrew Savikas ("exposes the inner workings of Word and releases your inner hacker" for those who know how to use VBA code)

Word 2010 Beta available free from Microsoft
All the Office 2010 Beta is now available.

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Tech tutorials for computer novices

help wth HTML and more techie stuff

• HTML for beginners (on WhoIsHostingThis?--insight into 473 hosting companies from thousands of user reviews). Basics about html, tags, meta tags, formatting, forms, tables, etc.
• A Detailed HTML Overview
• Anatomy of an HTML page (John Espirian, UK, Part 1, building blocks of HTML). Part 2: headings, images and lists; part 3: comments, tables and special characters; part 4: quoting and citing; part 5: the 'head' element that allows so-called metadata (information about our pages)
• Cheat sheet for commonly used HTML tags
• Special entity codes in HTML (letters with accents, other foreign characters, currency symbols, math symbols, etc), part of an excellent larger site Computing with Accents, Symbols & Foreign Scripts (Penn State)
• Karen's Directory Printer (quickly print the list of files in your computer's directory), which also publishes Karen's Power Tools Newsletter
• Personal Computer Tutor newsletter archives (Claude Kerno, my computer guy, writes these and helps me understand the mysteries of my little computer-and-printer etc. universe)
• Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User (Pogue's Posts, 10-2-08, but much of this is still helpful for novices)
• Hacked and Hijacked: What to Do if Your E-mail Account Gets Compromised (Jon Chase, Switched, 2-24-11)
• What I Did When My Email Was Hacked (Besides Panic) (Paul Solman, Next Avenue, 1-21-13). Paul Solman of 'PBS NewsHour' details the break-in of his Yahoo Mail account — and Next Avenue offers advice to hacking victims
• An Internet Scammer Reveals His Tactics (video, MoneyTrack, Next Avenue, 2-8-13)
• Twitter's Help Page (has links to all the major e-mail services' support pages)
• Hacked and Hijacked: What to Do if Your PC Gets Compromised (Jon Chase, Switched, 2-23-11, on dealing with malware)

• Techbyter Worldwide (Joe Bradley and Bill Blinn's technology program--you can listen to podcasts going waaaaay back--High Tech, Plain English, was the tagline for the show that started on WTVN Radio's Sunday morning line-up)
• What is my IP address? (go to this website when you need to know your IP address--it will show onscreen).
• How to take a screenshot (capture an image onscreen)
• How to download files from the Internet (how to download download programs, zipped files, HTML files, graphics, and clipart, etc. from various places on the Internet)(Autumn Web's tutorial)
• Gizmo's how-to guides and tutorials
• Using Winzip to download zipped files (tutorial by Roxy Flanagan, about the mysteries of working with "compressed files," files made smaller for travel on the Internet)
• How to: Convert DVD (VOB) Files to Editable MPEGs (Scott, Ensemble Video). Part of a series Ensemble provides on video conversion.
• Download Mysteries Solved (The Newbie Club)
• Basic HTML That Everyone Should Know (Michael Rohde, HTML Goodies)
• Banner Primers (Joe Burns, HTML Goodies). Learn to make your own advertising banner from scratch
• 30 steps that make javascript fun to learn (Javascript Primers, HTML Goodies)
• DNS Stuff (on-demand troubleshooting tools help you find and solve problems with your email, DNS and connectivity - fast. Tools tell you "what the world thinks" and offers trusted 3rd party validation. At the top of landing page you'll see your I.P. address. For advanced computer users -- the tools are fun to play around with, says my computer guy.
• Office 2013: the real startup guide (Peter Deegan) Things you should know that Microsoft won’t tell you: saving money, installing, configuring and using Office 2013
• VLC Media Player. VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVD, Audio CD, VCD, and various streaming protocols (VideoLAN). Here are answers to frequently asked questions
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