Video, photo and other tools still needed

Since the announcement of the Ben Franklin Project by Journal Register’s CEO John Paton, we have received some tremendous interest and some wonderful feedback spurred by those watching and those helping.

To date we’ve received suggestions of about 100 tools — free tools — we can use to carry out the digital first, print last transformation of Journal Register. Even with that list we’re still short. In some cases we have a tool in mind — using ShareThis is an obvious choice for content sharing — but we don’t want to overlook another option because we are choosing one we find familiar and/or comfortable.

JRC advisor Jeff Jarvis — who offered WordPress, Google Docs, and Flickr as editorial options when he blogged about the Ben Franklin Project — wrote:

… The rest of the process of publishing a newspaper is more complicated — at least to me, as I don’t know the tools. I’m not sure all that can be done with free tools but I’ll bet it can all be done in the cloud …

The beauty of this process is that it’s a collective effort to find the right tools. We’re not claiming  we have the right ones on our list — which we’ll post in the coming days after another round of feedback — we just want to make sure we do as much as we can to find the right ones.

That said, here are a number of the spots where we are still looking for strong feedback including:

  • Video editing — Journal Register bought the Flip cameras so the FlipShare software doesn’t make the “free” list. Other ideas?
  • Video streaming — Is YouTube our answer or are we better looking at Vimeo, or others?
  • Photo editing — Color correction, sizing, etc.
  • Accounting — Primarily ad placement, tracking and billing

We’ll continue with the crow-sourcing of story assignments on another day. Again, we have a few ideas but we’d like to hear how you think they’ll work.

As always, thanks for the help, the feedback and support.


Filed under tools

19 responses to “Video, photo and other tools still needed

  1. John –

    Terrific idea; a grab-bag of tools are cited here:

    For photos in particular: If you’re just resizing, changing resolution and tweaking a photo a little, a ton of free sites ( ) handle those jobs quite nicely. And did we mention they’re free? We like Pixlr (, but that’s simply because we’re familiar with it. With all of the web services, you can probably finish a tweak in less time than it would take to simply launch Photoshop. If you’re a Mac user, the inexpensive Graphic Converter handles most of the basics for a fraction of the price of Photoshop.

    Good luck!

    Tom Davidson

  2. Eric (Rick) Thomason

    GIMP is still a cool, free photo editing software. Not terribly sophisticated, but certainly will do the job.

  3. Video editing: Windows Movie Maker and iMovie are pretty simple. Couple them with free converters like MPEG Streamclip or Koyote and you’re there.

    Photo editing: I’m not too crazy about, but it’s decent for a free photo editing program. At least it has layers. But, alas, it is no Photoshop.

    Streaming: I would have said Vimeo for HD, but YouTube has that now. And I think most people are comfortable with it.

    I’m guessing that has already been brought up. Pretty neat for open source. But if you like Google Docs, you might as well use Picnic,

    Accounting? If you’re talking spreadsheets, I’ll have to say Open Office again.

    Also, I just saw a tweet by former Freeman colleague Steve Early suggesting Stroome for video and Splashup. There’s also, which I’ve been playing with on the iPod Touch.

  4. Pingback: uberVU - social comments

  5. I’d be reluctant about YouTube or any of the other third-party services for streaming, if the goal is to find viable solutions. You don’t want to be so wholly reliant on services hosted by someone else — since those services could shut down or kick you off at any point, for any reason.

    Don’t know the quality of the tools, but a quick google for “GPL” and “video streaming” turned up these interesting-looking choices …

    This might be good for video editing (haven’t tried it, but looks OK)

    For photo editing, maybe Krita ( on a Linux box? Supports CMYK (and other color spaces), as well as ICC profiles.

  6. Rebecca Jones

    I’ve used Picknik to edit photos for my Flickr page. Only basic things like cropping and some color correction are offered with the free package, but it does the job. For video editing, Most Macs come with iMovie for editing. This website talks about some options for free editing software.

    As for video streaming, I heard great things about at a conference this weekend. The speaker said one thing he’s noticed is that when it comes to content, enthusiasm for what you do always trumps production values. So that speaks well for the success of the Ben Franklin Project. I have come across another website with a ton of free tools for slideshows, etc. If I find it, I’ll pass it along.

  7. Sam Piroton

    I see it has already been mentionned, i thought about Imovie for video editing.

    For video streaming, maybe you should have a look at (daryn kagan uses it) (if im right, myles o brien uses it)

    For pic editing, picasa seems to have a tool , too.

  8. Sam Piroton

    Another thought, too.

    The only tool you have to be extra carefull about (but im sure you know it) ; is to have a very good, professionnal, internet provider.

    It may seem obvious, but, a few month ago, even belgium big media players got caught and were offline for 2 days.

  9. Sam Piroton

    Back with 3 more links.

    First if you want to publish video on multiple websites in a single procedure:

    Also, there is a good tool to publish to multiple social media services:

  10. Sam Piroton

    Just had a feedback about photo and video editing tool, freeware, opensource:

  11. Kim Klein


    Just saw this – includes a list of free video editing software and some reviews. Thought it might come in handy:

  12. Sam Piroton

    Just one last thought. If you head to freeware; be carefull too. See what happens with Ning. Totally free at first, now scrapping it, and going immediately premium. That can have big consequences…

  13. Disclaimer: I am an open-source Linux nut.

    Great breakdown of the top Linux video editors:

    I second GIMP for photo editing (Windows and Linux versions), although there are a ton of open source Linux offerings; this guy seems to know a bit more:

    Not sure about a non-third-party video streaming platform, but you can use a tool called ffmpeg to convert your video to a Flash format. Once in a Flash format, there are a number a free video players (as long as your bandwidth can handle it). Looks like these guys have an open source one:

    As for accounting, as long is it’s for ad tracking, and not hosting, SugarCRM is always a good option. May be a bit over the top, but it should do the job once products are set up.

    Joe Gagne

    Developer –

  14. Viktoria Sundqvist

    How about using Formspring in some way or another? I see this pop up all the time now on Facebook.

    You could use it for a Q&A where online readers can ask questions that the staff member answers and the top 10 questions and answers will then be pulled and used on the website of that newspaper.

  15. Tricia Ambrose

    I’m just now trying out for photo toning and sizing. So far so good. Will try GIMP next

  16. Paint.NET was created for Windows, and has no native support for any other system as compared to GIMP that supports both MAC and Windows

  17. A pretty robust free photo editor is available called It seems to have a wide variety of photo editing tools in the toolbox but the transformation of RGBs to CMYKs using this tool still elludes me.

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