Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

How to keep up in 2012

Posted in Entrepreneurial Journalism, Online Video by Adam Westbrook on January 2, 2012

So a new year is upon us, and as usual, it’s a good time for reflection and making big plans for the year ahead. 

There’ll be some small tweaks to how I do all this blogging in 2012, so briefly, here’s a quick round-up of how to keep in touch with everything I do this year.

In return for your attention, I promise to keep writing useful practical advice on multimedia production, plus ideas and advice on publishing and entrepreneurship.

The blog

This blog now reaches between 5 and 10,000 people a week which is really nice.  The posts here are usually much more thought out than anything else I write, and focus – as much as possible – on the doggedly practical.

Make sure you subscribe by putting your email address in the box to the right of this page. It’s free, and you should only ever get an email whenever a new post is written.

You can also keep in touch over RSS – click on this link to grab the rss feed for this blog.

Tumblr

I started using Tumblr more in 2011, and it’s a much more informal place for raw ideas, quotes, thoughts and more reflection. I wrote a post looking back on 2011, which was more personal than you’d expect here, as well as explaining why I’ve quit Facebook. There’s a very small, but growing, number of readers – if you’d like to be one of them, just follow me, the tumblr way, here.

Twitter

If you want to keep up anywhere, Twitter is probably still the best place, although I’ll be tweeting a little less in 2012. @AdamWestbrook is the link to click.

Video .fu

The video.fu library of  remarkable video storytelling is growing over at Vimeo. I add any awesome factual video I find – and usually go onto to write about it here. But subscribers see the videos as soon as they’re added: a nice way to keep your inspiration flowing.

The website & journal

Finally, there’ll soon be some changes to my home page on the web, with a new design, and the addition of a web-design journal, where I’ll be creating blogazine features throughout the year.

That’s it! Here’s to an amazing 2012.

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The multimedia journalist’s Christmas list

Posted in Entrepreneurial Journalism, Online Video by Adam Westbrook on December 12, 2011

What to buy a multimedia journalist for Christmas?

On Monday I published a book list of great titles for any journalist, producer or publishing entrepreneur. If you’re still looking for festive ideas, here are ten gadgets and gifts perfect for any next generation journalist. Enjoy!

Field Notes Set: ($9.95/£7) Moleskins are so last year. These days, the chic journalist jots their thoughts down in a Field Notes book, currently on sale in handy three-pack sets. If you don’t already, always carry a notebook with you, and always write everything down!

Redhead windscreen: ($35/£22) a quirky essential for any multimedia producer recording audio in the field. These hand made windshields are designed specifically for the Zoom and Tascam audio recorders and if the video on the website’s anything to go by, they do an amazing job of ensuring crisp audio in windy conditions. Added bonus: your audio recorder will look like a robot troll.

Adobe After Effects: ($1,320/£850) The ability to design and animate motion graphics is becoming a popular extra string to any multimedia journalists bow. The most popular (but not necessarily the best) suite is Adobe’s After Effects. Get this with a good guide book, and you’ll be creating knockout animations in months.

External hard drive: ($290/£180) Just like no-one is disappointed to receive some Amazon vouchers for Christmas, some extra terabytes always come in handy. This 2TB beast from G-Tech is both reliable and lovely lookin’.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaccson: ($18/£12) this is on everyone’s Christmas list this year, and if it’s anything like the man’s speeches, talks and writing, it’ll be full of wisdom on creativity and business. Not to mention an insight into what it takes to revolutionise an industry.

Kindle Fire: ($199 US Only) People who have upgraded their original Kindle are raving about the Kindle Fire. The new one comes in colour and allows more iPad style user experience, but without the iPad price tag.

Plug bug: ($34.99 – US Only) A downside of all this 21st century gadgetry is it tends to hog all the plug sockets in the house. Well, TwelveSouth have come up with a neat solution: ‘one plug, two chargers, tres cool’.

Vimeo Plus subscription: ($59.99/£38) A year long subscription to Vimeo’s plus service gives you unlimited HD uploads, better viewing stats and a pass to the front of the encoding queue. Well worth it for any serious online video producer.

Glidetrack MobiSlider: ($129/£99 opening offer, December 2011) Yes, the inevitable has happened – someone’s brought out a camera slider specifically for iPhones and other small HD cameras. If you can get past the garish neon green design, this the most affordable way to add some elegant tracking to your smartphone footage.

Camera Table Dolly: ($90/£58 via PhotoJojo) But if wheels are more your thing, then why not try this new Table Camera Dolly – smooth camera moves with a greater variety of angles – a cheap option for any DSLR film-maker.

Holstee Manifesto: ($25/£16) This modest little poster has hit the internet like wildfire in 2011. I’ve had a copy on my wall for more than a year and it makes an inspiring reminder to go do epic shit. If you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur, this is good piece of decoration.

The gift of knowledge

Cheesy I know, but if you’d rather give someone’s brain a present for 2012, then here are three unrelentingly practical ideas guaranteed to make the recipients life better.

A good book: Easy to wrap as well! Here are 10 ideas from my other blog post this week.

Lynda.com ($25/£16 per month) There’s Google of course, but then there’s Lynda.com – the best online tutorial place I can think of. If you want to learn InDesign, Final Cut Pro, even HTML then Lynda’s got it all. A month’s subscription (enough to pick up a new skill) is in that perfect price range too.

RosettaStone ($240/£150+) Want a sure-fire way to beat the competition in a job interview? Knowing your Bună dimineaţa from your Guten Morgen is a sure fire way. Personally I’m trying to improve my French, but Rosetta Stone offers a range of languages to learn at home.