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Business Tools

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Here are tools to help small newsrooms with all the work that isn’t newsgathering: paying the bills; scheduling collaborative projects, and maintaining shared communication channels for team members; editing and posting a podcast; designing a graphic for social media and then seeing how well the post performs. With myriad products on the market all claiming to be the best, or uniquely necessary, researching the best solutions and then paying for them can be overwhelming. We’ve selected a number of popular offerings in a few key categories, with affordability as one of the main criteria.

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Business Tools — Chapter 1

There are myriad platforms and tools for general organization, project management, and scheduling. Although products from both Google and Microsoft can grow costly depending on the size of your organization, the all-in-one nature of their products can translate into tremendous savings of time and effort, especially when you do not have a dedicated IT team. […]

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Business Tools — Chapter 2

Messaging and Communications Element Formerly known as Riot, Element is an open source, end-to-end encrypted messaging and collaboration platform. Put a little more succinctly, it combines a Slack-like interface with Signal-like security. Users can use Element for free on a shared, decentralized server or choose from two paid options (dedicated hosting for faster speeds, or […]

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Business Tools — Chapter 3

In the US, the two most popular accounting and invoicing programs are QuickBooks and Xero, neither of which offers a free option. But there are some less well-known low or no-fee alternatives. Accounting and Invoicing Platforms GnuCash GnuCash is a free and open-source accounting software, modeled after Intuit’s Quicken. It’s available worldwide in numerous languages. […]

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Business Tools — Chapter 4

These are tools that both assess site traffic data — the digital and geographic origins of site visitors, what device they’re using to view the site, the popularity of specific articles — and help optimize pages to increase traffic and to improve visitors’ experiences. Data Analytics and SEO Tools Ahrefs Ahrefs is an easy to […]

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Business Tools — Chapter 5

Here are tools for directly receiving input and feedback from site visitors, whether you’re looking to do a survey or add a moderated comments section. While collecting data from your audience provides important insights and can strengthen reporting or your awareness of your readers’ interests, it’s crucial to ensure that the questions you ask and […]

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Business Tools — Chapter 6

These tools can record and edit audio and video, as well as integrate them into your site. Audio Anchor Anchor is Spotify’s podcast hosting and distribution service. It provides unlimited space for users to upload podcasts, automates distribution to most major podcasting platforms, and displays analytics about downloads, listenership, and the demographics of podcast listeners. […]

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Business Tools — Chapter 7

A roundup of web publishing and content management platforms. This section focuses on WordPress, due to its ubiquity and suite of add-ons. WordPress and Associated Plug-ins WordPress WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system. You are currently reading a WordPress site, and since 40% of the internet is built on WordPress, it’s likely […]

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Business Tools — Chapter 8

For an organization looking to build a large donor and subscriber base, it can be helpful to have a tool specifically designed for customer (or “constituent”) relationship management. The products here compile contact information, manage subscriptions and recurring donations, and even designate certain content as subscriber-only. Donor Management Platforms Bloomerang Most of the major nonprofit […]

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Business Tools — Chapter 9

For this guide, we’ve selected a few free, low cost, and/or beginner-level tools for illustration and data visualization. Please see the GIJN Resource Center’s Data Visualization Tools and Visualizing Data guides for expanded lists and further links to data journalism and data tools. Illustration and Data Viz Platforms Canva Canva offers attractive templates for social […]

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Business Tools — Chapter 10

This list includes tools for queueing and scheduling social media posts across social networks, sending out mass emails and newsletters, and assessing how users engage with them. This is a fairly broad category, but many of these tools encompass a number of functions. Most of the free options are very limited, but most do include […]

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Business Tools — Chapter 11

No single app or tool makes an organization or even any single communication secure. Because journalists’ communications and digital assets face numerous threats, whether from hostile government agencies or just protecting a source who lodged a complaint against their neighbor, we highly recommend familiarizing yourself with digital security basics. Many groups are currently working to […]

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Video: GIJC23 – Developing a Business Strategy (Part 1 & 2)

Investigative journalism can’t survive without sustainable media organizations. Join our panel of journalists and consultants to hear strategies that work in the real world, from fundraising and membership to commercial revenue.