Free Course – The Practice of Online Journalism

One of the great untapped resources, in my view, is the iTunesU. This is Apple’s initiative to get further education into the hands of as many people as possible. One course that I recently saw featured is “The Practice of Online Journalism”. It’s presented by The Poynter Institute for Media Studies and features 15 video lectures of between 40 and 70 minutes each.

I’ve not watched them all but this course is just one of a series on the practice of journalism with visual journalism, leadership and ethics among the various topics also covered.

They’re all free to download and can be watched on a PC, iPad or any video-capable iPod. To find them, open iTunes, click the iTunesU link at the top of the screen and search for Poynter.

Blogging on the iPad

Many journalists are also bloggers, either running their own corner of cyberspace or blogging for some publication. Most blogs use some sort of Content Management System, or CMS, for getting content live on the web. It turns out that the iPad is a pretty good tool for doing this although you’ll need to invest a few dollars to make it work.

iOS Tips for Capturing Images

The iPad makes it easy to capture images from the web.

To grab an image from a website, just tap-hold on the image. A context menu will appear that allows you to save the image. That will put the image file in the iPad’s Photo app.

If you need a screen capture, which might be the only way to get an image if you need something that the usual image saving process can’t do then simple hold down the iPad’s front button and press the power button. If the sound is on, you’ll hear a shutter sound as the screen flashes. The screen capture will be saved automatically into your Photos.

Image Editing on the iPad

There are literally hundreds of image editing and manipulation apps for the iPad. We’re going to suggest just two.

The first is actually an iPhone app but that’s not a big deal. Crop Suey makes it easy to crop and rotate images – perfect if you need to clean up a screen grab or some other image.

Crop Suey costs $1.99 from the App Store.

The second app is one for when you want to make things look a little special. Color Splash (free from the App Store) lets you apply some special affects to images. It takes an image, converts it to black and white and lets you selectively recolor specific parts of the image. If you need to highlight something in an image, just recolor that specific part.

Blogging Software for posting and editing on the iPad

Of course, the iPad’s version of Safari is big enough to run the WordPress admin tools from then browser. But what if you’re not online?

WordPress for iOS is a good place to start. It lets you create posts and save them locally. You can add images but it doesn’t let you set the alignment easily. Also, if you want to create a link you have to manually create the link – that means you need some basic HTML skills.

The reality is that WordPress for iOS is OK but very basic. In our experience, it also not very stable. We found that it would frequently crash after saving.

Another option is BlogPress. It’s a more polished app that can be used to create content for a whole bunch of different blogging systems including Blogger, Drupal and Joomla among others.

We like that is offers some basic HTML formatting and seems far more stable than WordPress’s app. One thing we did notice with the HTML formatting was that it uses the older B and I tabs for bold and italics respectively whereas “strong” and “em” are more commonly used these days.

We also like that BlogPress will automatically send an update to Twitter and Facebook when we post without the need to load a plug-in to WordPress.

BlogPress costs $2.99 from the App Store. In our view, the cost is worth it for the advantages it boasts over WordPress’ free app.

Keyboard Case – make your iPad a notebook

Typing on the iPad’s soft keyboard isn’t too bad but sometimes it’s nice to use something with actual buttons. We reviewed the PADACS Rubata Keyboard Case a few weeks ago at ITWire.

We’ve been using this case for awhile now and it’s getting used a lot. It does add some bulk to the unit, making the iPad the same size as a netbook. However, being able to pull the iPad out and use it as a regular tablet gives it an edge over many netbooks.

The PADACS Rubata Keyboard Case can be purchased from the PADACS online store for $110AU