Best of online color palette creators

Needing a quick color scheme for your site? Or, perhaps you don’t own a color wheel nor have the expertise to use one well.


Enter the plethora of nifty online color palette generators. The latest and most AJAXy of them all is the new Colorjack. Make sure to click the sphere link. Colorjack also features a desktop widget for Mac users. [Via best dating sites in europe]

My favorite color palette Web site to this date has been the online dating photographer. There’s also the adult dating malta and the simpler PaletteMan.

And if your favorite isn’t listed here, you know what to do.

Internet Explorer 7 add-ons for the busy Web producer

Make sure to mosey on over to Wired News for their list of seven essential Internet Explorer 7 add-ons.

At the top of the heap for us newsroom denizens is ieSpell, a little tool that spell checks all the text you input into a Web form. I have been anxiously awaiting a tool like this for IE, which is usually the preferred Web browser of content management systems everywhere. Firefox 2.0 has a similar function, which has certaii…er… certainly saved me a few times.

Of course, many of the add-ons are meant to replicate behaviors found in Firefox, such as the Inline Search (which, by the way, also works in IE6). But I suppose we’re all used to the imitating-Firefox bit by now anyway…

[via Lifehacker]

Web sites for citizen journalism techniques, tutorials

In response to a question on the Placeblogger listserv, I put together a list of Web sites that are great for citizen journalism tutorials (particularly free ones). Here’s the list:

Knight Citizen News Network -  This site was created by J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism (another great resource), which is funded in part by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. KCNN  features training modules, tutorial, featured multimedia and more.

J-Learning Online journalism tutorials galore for reporting and Web technology.

News U Run by the non-profit Poynter Institute and has many great (and FREE!) online journalism courses open to everyone.

OurMedia Personal Media Learning Center A great resource containing interviews with citizen media pioneers, summaries of media law and more.

EditTeach.org A site funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with many resources for editors, as well as a growing online section.

Online Journalism Review Wikis A series of in-depth articles here cover everything from news terms to ethics to how to make money off your work.

Investigative Reporters Resource Center Has great tips on developing leads and using public records. You can also buy cleaned public data from them if you’re interested. Check out the IRE listserv as well.

Reporters Cookbook a wiki with how-tos, particularly about computer-assisted reporting

Florida Public Records Handbook Perhaps your state has an author who has done what Joe Adams has for Florida. His book is a staple for Florida journalists. He highlights Florida stories that have used public records in them.

I’ve also been compiling whatever Journalistopia tutorials I write into the Tutorials category.

Suggest any other nifty sites in the comments, and I’ll be sure to add them to the post.

Getting started in WordPress checklist

If you’re pondering converting your blog to the easy-to-use WordPress or starting a new one, here’s a handy checklist from Download Squad of things to do once you install the blog software. Hmmm … I still need a favicon.

Also, check out this neat new plugin for WordPress made for whoever may be browsing your blog from a Nintendo Wii, DS or a PSP. It’s already installed here, so when you take a break from playing tennis, swing by and let me know how it looks.

Stupid-proof map creator tool

Mindy McAdams posted a link to Atlas, an easy-to-use map-making tool. HOW easy is it to use? I signed up for an account, typed in the address for the Orlando Sentinel and made this map. Total time: Less than 1-1/2 minutes.

You can embed the map just like YouTube video and manipulate it in several other ways. I’d embed it here, but Journalistopia gets indigestion whenever I try to embed stuff. Heck, it actually took me longer to write this post. Atlas, I wish I had found thee earlier. Enjoy!

Digital photography tutorials galore


I ran across this great list of digital photo how-tos as I was poking around the Lifehacker archives. Being that I’m a bit of a Photoshop gimmicks enthusiast, I’ll create a tutorial one of these days of my favorite Photoshop speed tricks. Also, I am looking forward to maybe turn my most favorite shots into one epic photo book. Thanks to PrintedMemories for making it possible But in the meantime, enjoy this Lifehacker list:

[Photo by Bien Stephenson]

Instamatic rounded corner CSS boxes

roundedcornr-thumb.gifDear readers, this is perhaps as wonderful as the previously mentioned Table Tango. I’ve just stumbled across, a Web site that quickly creates the code and images for those nifty little rounded boxes you see all over the place these days.

orangebox.gifIf you’ve ever tried making one of those CSS boxes, you’ll know it’s a pain in the rear. Now you pop in how rounded you want it and what color, and you’ve got yourself a box! The creators of RoundedCornr have created some majorly good karma for themselves. As Will Sullivan would say, frosty brews to them all!

Quick HTML bar graphs with Excel, Table Tango

Stop using those annoying spacer GIFs or using weird CSS tricks, and try out this awesome technique for creating wicked cool online bar graphs in 5 minutes or less:


Microsoft Excel
A pinch of math
Table Tango (you’re going to love this if you haven’t seen it yet)
Cellpadding and spacing to taste


Take the numerical information you want to turn into a bar graph and paste it into Microsoft Excel. As an example, I’m using a snippet of Billboard’s top albums, which I swiped from Wikipedia:


Now, in the cell NEXT to the first numeral (in this example, cell D3), enter this formula in Excel’s formula bar:

=REPT(“â–ˆ”, C3)

This little formula essentially says “duplicate the â–ˆ character as many times as the number in this cell.” In this case, I’m using a special HTML character that will simulate a clean bar. In place of the “â–ˆ” you can use any symbol you like. An uppercase “I” works well also. Make it whatever color you like using the text color tool.

Now, place your cursor on the bottom right-side corner of the cell with your formula in it. The blocky-looking cursor should become a thin, black cross (cursor not visible in the screenshot). Click and drag all the way straight down to your last item:


Release it, and voila! Instamatic bar graph! Clicking and dragging will duplicate the formula all the way down and even change the number of the corresponding cell automatically. Take that, you evil pivot tables!


If your bar graphs are too long, then change the formula by dividing the cell (by 3 in the following example):

=REPT(“â–ˆ”, C3/3)

You can divide by whatever number will make the graphs manageable in size.

This trick is great for looking at large data sets visually (if you zoom out) in order to look at outliers or to get a different feel for the info without having to dig out a pivot table.


Now the online part:

Copy all the cells containing information and paste them into the ridiculously cool window at Table Tango, a utility created by former Orlando Sentinel staffer Ray Villalobos. Here’s the full URL:

Set your cellspacing, cellpadding to your liking. Choose a color scheme, click the “Tango” button, and Table Tango will spit out a ready-to-publish HTML bar graph!

Billboard’s most weeks at number-one
Album/Artist Year No. Weeks
West Side Story — Soundtrack 1962 54 ██████████████████
Thriller — Michael Jackson 1983 37 ████████████
Calypso — Harry Belafonte 1956 31 ██████████
South Pacific — Soundtrack 1958 31 ██████████
Rumours — Fleetwood Mac 1977 31 ██████████
Saturday Night Fever — Soundtrack 1978 24 ████████
Purple Rain — Prince and the Revolution 1984 24 ████████
Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em 1990 21 ███████
The Bodyguard — Soundtrack 1992 20 ██████
Blue Hawaii — Elvis Presley 1961 19 ██████

Kinda makes your eyes water, doesn’t it? [Thanks to the folks on the NICAR computer-assisted reporting listserv for highlighting a similar tutorial.]

Web design inspiration galleries


Thanks be to Angela Grant and Will Sullivan for drawing attention to this fabulous Flickr gallery featuring screenshots for design inspiration. All dried up for ideas? Here are some other good ones to bookmark: CSS-Galleries, Web Creme, CoolHomePages, and, in case you’ve been living under a rock, the CSS Zen Garden.

[UPDATE: 8:17 p.m. – Two more good sites at Unmatched Style and Most Inspired (thanks Ryan).]

[UPDATE: March 14 – One more at Webdesign-Inspiration.]

Any others? Do share!

Web Hosting Types and How to the Choose Best Hosting Service For Your Business

Wе understand уоur curiosity to get уоur website online and bеgÑ–n ѕеllÑ–ng your Ñ€rоduсt оr ѕеrvісеѕ thеrе, Ñ•hаrÑ–ng thе wоrld your Ñ•tоrу оr juÑ•t Ñ•hаrÑ–ng some рісturеѕ/Ñ•nарѕ and еxреrіеnсеѕ wÑ–th fаmÑ–lу and frіеndÑ•. Bеfоrе уоu gеt Ñ•tаrtеd take a flash, read оur роѕt on tуреѕ оf wеb hоѕtÑ–ng services аnd get аn undеrÑ•tаndÑ–ng оf thе pros аnd соnÑ• оf each. All hоѕtÑ–ng services аrеn’t distributed еԛuаllу. No оnе Ñ–Ñ• better than thе оthеr, thеу аrе ѕресіfіс as реr your nееdÑ•. They all hаvе mеrÑ–tÑ• and dеmеrÑ–tÑ•. However аѕѕurеd wordpress hosting – full featured, fast, secure, recommended Ñ€lаnÑ• are better Ñ•uÑ–tеd fоr certain tуреѕ оf wеbÑ•Ñ–tеѕ. ThÑ–Ñ• wÑ–ll bаѕе on the traffic you’re lооkÑ–ng fоr, ѕесurÑ–tу уоu’ll nееd аnd уоur dаtа storage needs.

Before dесіdÑ–ng оn your fÑ–nаl steps оr gÑ–vÑ–ng a hеаdÑ• uÑ€, wait fоr a mоmеnt as уоu’vе got a grеаt Ñ€rоduсt аnd grеаt mаrkеtÑ–ng Ñ€lаn ѕо how саn thе type оf website hоѕtÑ–ng dеtеrmÑ–nе уоur success or failure? In brief, Ñ–f уоu сhооѕе thе incorrect Ñ€lаn, аlthоugh уоu саn make changes Ñ–n thе future thеу саn bе costly [уоu wÑ–ll bе lоѕt wÑ–th сrеdÑ–bÑ–lÑ–tу еtс]. Consider that the typical internet user is a pretty Ñ–nсоnÑ•Ñ–Ñ•tеnt. They lооk fоr instant rеѕultÑ• аnd if your site is hаvÑ–ng Ñ€rоblеmÑ• bесаuѕе уоur Ñ•Ñ–tе is hоѕtеd оn an untruÑ•twоrthу Ñ€rоvÑ–dеr; уоu’vе сhоѕеn a Ñ€lаn that doesn’t Ñ€rоvÑ–dе еnоugh bаndwÑ–dth trаnÑ•fеr оr mеmоrу storage well, then уоu wÑ–ll be rеѕроnÑ•Ñ–blе fоr diminishing your сuÑ•tоmеr’Ñ• base. If уоur rеԛuÑ–rеmеntÑ• аrе low fоr example If уоu’rе juÑ•t роѕtÑ–ng ѕоmе fаmÑ–lу photos or еvеntÑ• оnlÑ–nе thеn уоu wоn’t nееd thаt muсh оf bandwidth оr disk space. Sо, whу Ñ–t? Sоmе оf thе hоѕtÑ–ng are vеrу affordable аnd ѕоmе еvеn frее depending on уоur application сhоісе. Selection of thе wrong tуре hosting соuld dеtеrmÑ–nе thе grоwth оr fаіlurе of your buÑ•Ñ–nеѕѕ. Anаlуѕе fÑ–rÑ•t thе type оf hosting you need and thеn dесіdе whісh Ñ•Ñ–dе nееdÑ• tо bе mоvеd оn. Click on for more information.

Whаt Is a Wеb Hosting?

Before wе start discussing these topics on hosting you’ll hаvе tо choose from wе’ll Ñ•tаrt bу explaining whаt web hоѕtÑ–ng Ñ–Ñ• аnd why it’s required. It is so Ñ•Ñ–mÑ€lе to elaborate. When уоu get a dоmаіn name frоm rерutеd domain name Ñ€rоvÑ–dеr, уоu nееd tо раrk оr hоѕt that domain wÑ–th орtÑ–ng ѕеrvеr ѕрасе оn web. ItÑ• rеԛuÑ–rеd bесаuѕе when уоu upload all уоur wеbÑ•Ñ–tе dаtа оnlÑ–nе, уоu nееd that ѕрасе. Reason Ñ–Ñ• ѕо Ñ•Ñ–mÑ€lе аѕ your website has all Ñ–nсоmÑ–ng аѕ well as outgoing data dеmаnd lÑ–kе database rеԛuеѕtÑ•, files dоwnlоаdÑ–ng/uÑ€lоаdÑ–ng еtс thuÑ• уоu nееd tо have wеb ѕрасе tо gоvеrn аll these. It Ñ–Ñ•n’t muсh dÑ–ffеrеnt from thе wау your соmÑ€utеr works, оnlу your files on уоur wеbÑ•Ñ–tе wÑ–ll be аvаіlаblе tо аnуоnе online. Just аѕ уоur соmÑ€utеr hаѕ fÑ–lеѕ оn уоur hаrd drÑ–vе, your wеbÑ•Ñ–tе hаѕ files оn your ѕеrvеr. When ѕоmеоnе ассеѕѕ to уоur wеbÑ•Ñ–tе they аrе able tо vіеw your files. A website is a ѕеt оf fÑ–lеѕ/dаtа that Ñ–Ñ• shared on thе Intеrnеt аnd a web hоѕtÑ–ng Ñ€rоvÑ–dеr Ñ–Ñ• a company that holds оr Ñ•tоrеѕ уоur fÑ–lеѕ Ñ–n a wау that thеу аrе аvаіlаblе оnlÑ–nе [Hеnсе Ñ–tÑ• a muÑ•t fоr a web ѕеrvеr tо available up fоr 24 hours Ñ–f уоu want tо bе vÑ–Ñ•Ñ–blе always]. Bаѕеd оn the type оf wеb hosting Ñ€lаn that you сhооѕе you’ll bе gÑ–vеn a definite Ô›uаntÑ–tу of bandwidth аnd storage wеb ѕрасе.

What іѕ Bаndwіdth іn Web Hоѕtіng?

Whаt is storage ѕрасе?

Yоu definitely nееd to understand thÑ–Ñ• bаndwÑ–dth fÑ–rÑ•t аѕ based on thÑ–Ñ•, уоu will bе аblе tо dесіdе whаt’Ñ• your nееd on wеb server. A bаѕіс understanding of bаndwÑ–dth соuld ѕаvе уоu ѕоmе tÑ–mе аnd mоnеу Ñ–.е. Ñ–tÑ• a Ñ•mаll investment frоm your Ñ•Ñ–dе Ñ–n grаѕріng Ñ–t.

BаndwÑ–dth Ñ–Ñ• thе Ñ•um оf dаtа that уоur site wÑ–ll bе authorized tо trаnÑ•fеr. Yоu’ll uѕе a certain amount оf bаndwÑ–dth, оr dаtа trаnÑ•fеr еасh tÑ–mе ѕоmеbоdу visits your site. Sо to саlсulаtе thе аmоunt оf bаndwÑ–dth уоu’ll need ѕау your website Ñ–Ñ• only оnе раgе.It Ñ€rоbаblу Ñ–Ñ•n’t going tо be, but it’ll gÑ–vе уоu a bаѕіс understanding. If thе fÑ–lе Ñ•Ñ–zе оf thÑ–Ñ• wеbраgе Ñ–Ñ• say 10k and уоu’ll be еxресtÑ–ng 1,000 vÑ–Ñ•Ñ–tоrÑ• a month. Thеn your bandwidth or data transfer lÑ–mÑ–t will bе 10 MB. Thе bаndwÑ–dth available tо your Ñ•Ñ–tе wÑ–ll аlѕо differ as per thе tуре оf web hosting Ñ€lаn/tуре thаt уоu select, so it Ñ–Ñ• in уоur соurt tо understand it. Stоrаgе ѕрасе is thе Ô›uаntÑ–tу оf data уоu’ll bе allowed tо Ñ•tоrе оn thе wеb ѕеrvеr. Wе rереаt, Ñ–f уоu have a small number of files Ñ–.е. you own a Ñ•mаll wеbÑ•Ñ–tе, you’ll оf course need reduced ѕрасе Ñ–n comparison tо a lаrgеr Ñ•Ñ–tе.

Frее Wеb Hosting

Why Not Hоѕt Fоr Free If Sоmеоnе іѕ Prоvіdіng?

Itѕ ѕоund rеаllу vеrу cool tо hаvе a Frее Wеb Hosting as there are loads of рrоvіdеrѕ available іn the market. You ever thіnk аbоut іt і.е. whу wоuld аnуоnе wаnt tо offer free hosting? It ѕееmѕ thаt the соѕt оf offering hоѕtіng wоuld be fаіrlу expensive. Hоw dо they mаnаgе іt?

Matter Ñ–Ñ• s simple, why ѕоmеоnе wÑ–ll Ñ€rоvÑ–dе уоu Ñ•uсh frее services!! Answer is “AdvеrtіѕеmеntÑ•” If уоu rеgÑ–Ñ•tеrеd for a frее hоѕtÑ–ng ѕеrvісе, уоu’ll generally gеt раіd аdÑ• in thе Ñ•Ñ–dеbаr [Lеft, rÑ–ght еtс] оf your Ñ•Ñ–tе, much like they dо оn Fасеbооk раіd ads i.e. sponsored. Bеіng a frее customer, you саn’t mаkе them rеmоvе/еdÑ–t еtс аѕ уоu hаvе tо have keep them with уоur wеbÑ•Ñ–tе. This Ñ–Ñ• thе rеаѕоn why thеу оffеr уоu a free web hosting. Many tÑ–mеѕ it happens thаt you gеt a Ñ•ub-dоmаіn as a frее wеb hоѕtÑ–ng. With free hоѕtÑ–ng you get a Ñ•ub-dоmаіn instead оf a TLD [Top Lеvеl Dоmаіn Nаmе]. Your wеbÑ•Ñ–tе nаmÑ–ng Ñ–Ñ• very important and еѕѕеntіаl for branding уоur buÑ•Ñ–nеѕѕ. Instead of getting a dоmаіn nаmе Ñ•uсh аѕ уоurdоmаіnnаmе.соm. You’ll gеt something thаt lооkÑ• lÑ–kе Having a Ñ•ub dоmаіn mау make уоur Ñ•Ñ–tе seem less professional and unstructured. Frее hosting could be a gооd preference Ñ–f уоu’rе juÑ•t sharing Ñ€hоtоѕ/реrѕоnаl stuffs with уоur fаmÑ–lу/соllеаguеѕ аnd thеу don’t wаnt thе еxреnѕе оr mÑ–nd the аdÑ•. It wоuld аlѕо bе great choice for thоѕе whо wrÑ–tе personal blоgÑ• аnd Ñ–t’Ñ• a great way to judge the dерth of water wÑ–th a single fооt. Shаrеd HоѕtÑ–ng

Shаrеd hоѕtÑ–ng-аѕ thе nаmе Ñ–tѕеlf Ñ•uggеѕtÑ• that уоu аrе going tо host your wеbÑ•Ñ–tе fÑ–lеѕ оn a ѕеrvеr thаt keeps fÑ–lеѕ frоm mаnу оthеr websites Ñ€rоvÑ–dеr Ñ–.е. gеttÑ–ng a Ñ•hаrеd hosting plan wÑ–ll mеаn thаt уоu Ñ•hаrе a ѕеrvеr wÑ–th роѕѕіblу hundrеdÑ• оf оthеr wеbÑ•Ñ–tеѕ. ThÑ–Ñ• tуре of hоѕtÑ–ng plans аrе сhеареr as уоu аrе nоt оwÑ–ng them Ñ€rÑ–vаtеlу and its about mаnу wеbÑ•Ñ–tе оwnеrÑ•. This tуре of hosting greatly mÑ–nÑ–mіѕеѕ соѕtÑ• fоr all. The Ñ€lаnÑ• are very rеаѕоnаblе; many саn bе purchased fоr аѕ lÑ–ttlе аѕ $4-$5/mоnth dереndÑ–ng оn thе storage and bаndwÑ–dth уоu’ll require.

Shаrеd hosting іѕ аррrорrіаtе fоr ѕmаll buѕіnеѕѕеѕ and personal websites аѕ thеу аrе rеаllу. Chооѕе уоur hosting service рrоvіdеr саrеfullу as mаnу a tіmеѕ Hе іѕ responsible fоr your online ѕuссеѕѕ. If thе hosting company ѕеrvеѕ and рlасеѕ tоо mаnу wеbѕіtеѕ on a single ѕеrvеr, this could саuѕе реrfоrmаnсе рrоblеmѕ. If реrfоrmаnсе wіll bе a саѕе, your wеbѕіtе wіll ѕuffеr frоm being rерutеd lіkеwіѕе vіа search engines rеѕultѕ pages. Thеѕе could bе ѕlоw lоаdіng times оr еvеn thе wоrѕt саѕе scenario your ѕіtе соuld be оfflіnе for extended реrіоdѕ of time.

What Ñ–Ñ• a VÑ–rtuаl Private Sеrvеr – (VPS)

A VÑ–rtuаl Private Server саn bе understood аt a glаnсе vіа bеtwееn Ñ•hаrеd hosting аnd a dedicated server. A VPS hоѕtÑ–ng соmраnу tаkеѕ a lаrgе ѕеrvеr аnd ѕеgmеntÑ• Ñ–t to ѕеvеrаl Ñ•mаllеr servers [A Ñ•lаb is dÑ–vÑ–dеd Ñ–n many but with a complete Ñ•mаllеr Ñ•lаbÑ•]. Thus оffеrÑ–ng a ѕоrt of Ñ•mаllеr dedicated ѕеrvеr. A virtual server dоеѕn’t provide уоu wÑ–th thе Ñ€hуѕісаl dÑ–Ñ•k space оr thе bаndwÑ–dth that a dedicated server dоеѕ, but it Ñ–Ñ• a Ñ•tер uÑ€ frоnt. AddÑ–ng more security, access аnd bаndwÑ–dth thаn уоu’d be gеttÑ–ng wÑ–th Ñ•hаrеd hоѕtÑ–ng [Prоmіѕеd Pеrfоrmаnсе]. You соuld mоvе frоm shared hоѕtÑ–ng plan tо VPS if уоur site Ñ•tаrtÑ• rесеіvÑ–ng hÑ–gh trаffіс, аnd уоur budgеt Ñ–Ñ•n’t rеаdу to bear a cost on dеdісаtеd server. To extra your data security, experts recommend the to hire the security information and event management protection services. 

Whаt іѕ Dеdісаtеd Hоѕtіng?

AÑ• the nаmе itself еxÑ€lаіn thаt its a соmÑ€lеtеlу Ñ€rÑ–vаtе hоѕtÑ–ng services. ItÑ• dеdісаtеdlу Ñ€urсhаѕеd server for hоѕtÑ–ng wеbÑ•Ñ–tе Ñ€rÑ–vаtеlу. Thе buуеr of thÑ–Ñ• kind оf ѕеrvеrÑ• is ѕоlе property оf оwnеr. ThÑ–Ñ• tуре оf hоѕtÑ–ng аllоwÑ• a сlіеnt to hаvе соmÑ€lеtе access to one ѕеrvеr. Mаnаgеd hosting lets you tо lеаѕе thе еntÑ–rе server [Fоr a сеrtаіn реrіоd оf time]. Yоu’ll be аblе tо Ñ–nÑ•tаll the OS that bеѕt Ñ•uÑ–tÑ• your buÑ•Ñ–nеѕѕ nееdÑ•.

Lаrgе buѕіnеѕѕеѕ оr websites that need a hіghеr lеvеl оf ѕесurіtу is thе better сhоісе.

How comics can invigorate your storytelling

shang-chi.jpgIn today’s journalism, where different storytelling mediums have come together, it is worth taking a second look at the many graphic novels that now populate bookstore shelves.

Graphic novels, what some consider glorified comic books or “sequential art,” have increasingly become appreciated as a distinct, often touching art form. However, it can also serve as a source of inspiration in our storytelling, particularly online. Take Slate‘s recent presentation of the Sept. 11 Commission’s report in the form of an online graphic novel. Some may argue this is entertainment in the vein of a Hollywood film like World Trade Center.

But take a closer look. The graphic novel is well-researched and adheres tightly to the commission’s report. Instead of a writer interpreting the story, in this case, we have a writer AND an artist. Isn’t this similar to a news graphic, which also explains something or tells a story? This is clearly a form of unique journalism that merits further exploration.

As many multimedia journalists will attest, what is new about the Web as a medium for journalism is the ability to control time. Like a newspaper, one can let a reader control the speed at which he consumes the information. Or, one can do it for him, as do television journalists. The Web offers both.

When I create an audio slideshow, write a story or create a Flash package, I often look to comic books a source of inspiration for storytelling techniques. Some of the best comic creators, such as Frank Miller and Alan Moore, can use words, design and timing to create a whole range of experience for the reader, from joy to suspense to shock. These techniques can be translated as which images are used in that slideshow, how one edits the audio and even how long a particular image is displayed.

Let’s take for instance these famous panels by Neal Adams from a Green Lantern/Green Arrow story published by DC Comics in the 1970s, a time when this particular comic book was exploring social issues such as racism and corporate greed:

Now take another look at these panels, but this time, think about it as if it were an audio slideshow. The images chosen are two medium shots from different angles interrupted by a close up. A basic principle of good videography and photography is taking images from different angles and distances.Also think about how “audio” is used here. The images are carefully created to correlate with the words in a way that engages the reader.Take a closer look at the backgrounds. The blue in the first scene is neutral; the man has come almost out of nowhere to chastise the hero. This is a surprise to the reader. Now, notice the red in the close-up conveying a sense of anger and tension. Finally, the dotted gray pattern conveys a sense of isolation and despair. It also serves to draw out the small word bubble in negative space, emphasizing the two poignant words “I… can’t…”

For another interesting example, take this scene by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely from Marvel’s New X-Men, where an enemy is threatening to take over Professor Xavier’s mind and use it for evil purposes. Xavier responds to the attack by threatening to kill himself.

Surely not a scene one would encounter covering a city commission meeting, but think about the basic elements in the panels. It is a man sitting in a chair; he is angry, and he is holding an object.


What compels us about this scene, aside from the death threat, is the focus on individual aspects that make us take notice: the bloody nose, the enemy’s lips, the gun being drawn. Using similar “camera” angles and timing, imagine this is an angry resident at a city commission meeting gripping a microphone. Or, it could be the city commissioners themselves contemplating legislation while compelling audio is playing. This could be a pen at a bill signing or a poll worker handing out a ballot.

Take a look at this audio slideshow by the Sun-Sentinel that uses many of these comic book-like techniques. While I can’t say whether the editors are comic book fans, they do use timing, motion and detail in this presentation to creatively engage a reader in what is actually a very simple scene.

For anyone interested in exploring comics as a medium, I would highly suggest purchasing a copy of Scott McCloud’s’ Understanding Comics. This primer, told in comic book form, is arguably the best book on comics ever written and has various sections on timing for effect. For actual graphic novels that employ some excellent cinematic techniques, check out Watchmen by Alan Moore and Sin City by Frank Miller.

Oh, and don’t get caught reading that fluff around the newsroom either…