SXSW: 5 Great Sites for Progressive Media Types

Yes, I got my photo taken with the penguin.

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


I took the nerd bird out of Austin with my fellow SXSW Interactive geeks this week just as a clutch of tattooed, guitar-toting rock stars swaggered into town for the Music portion of South by Southwest. The Texas tri-part festival (Film, Interactive, and Music) overlaps slightly in schedule and demographics, but frankly the attendees aren’t hard to tell apart in an elevator. Real rock stars, it turns out, are generally better dressed than Internet rock stars; their pallor looks more midnight partyin’ than Minecraft in the den. (I’m still not sure about that 6th Street evening parade of cheering men wearing wedding dresses, though. Start-up guerrilla marketers? Typical Austin Saturday night? The SXSW trade show featured a giant penguin, a Michael Jackson impersonator, cotton candy, and QR codes on anything not nailed down—so really, who can tell?)

Anyway, Monika Bauerlein and I did a SXSWi panel this year on how Mother Jones uses Twitter in reporting (thank you to everyone who made it such a fun panel). Also fun: Hanging out with other SXSWi media folk and hearing what sites caught their fancy lately. Below, 5 digital bon bons and what makes them so sweet:

1. Storify.

Tagline: “Storify is a way to tell stories using social media such as Tweets, photos and videos. You search multiple social networks from one place, and then drag individual elements into your story. You can re-order the elements and also add text to give context to your readers.”

Sweet spot: Via Nieman Storyboard, this example of how local DC news site TBD used Storify to unspool a real life murder mystery.

2. Tumblr.

Tagline: “Tumblr lets you effortlessly share anything. Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos, from your browser, phone, desktop, email, or wherever you happen to be.”

Sweet spot: Mother Jones‘ Tumblr, natch.

3. Readability.

Tagline: “Readability is a web & mobile app that zaps online clutter and saves web articles in a comfortable reading view…Readability offers a new way to compensate writers and publishers without punishing readers. 70% of all membership fees go directly to the people who make the content.”

Sweet spot: The New York Review of Books online. A Readability button on each article gives the option to read it now or read it later.

4. DocumentCloud.

Tagline: “DocumentCloud runs every document you upload through OpenCalais, giving you access to extensive information about the people, places and organizations mentioned in each. Once you decide to publish, your documents join thousands of other primary source documents in our public catalog. Use our document viewer to embed documents on your own website and introduce your audience to the larger paper trail behind your story.”

Sweet spot: The world’s largest searchable reporters’ notebook, uploaded to the cloud.

5. MuckRock.

Tagline: “MuckRock is an open governent tool powered by state and federal Freedom of Information laws…You are free to embed, share and write about any of the verified government documents hosted here.”

Sweet spot: Got a FOIA request? Want someone to submit it and follow up? There’s an app for that.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

payment methods

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate