My Top Ten: Alastair Tibbitt, senior journalist, STV

MY Top Ten invites media practitioners to identify their top ten websites, apps, software tools and gadgets, etc, and here it is the turn of Alastair Tibbitt, a senior journalist for the portfolio of STV’s cities-based websites.

Writes Alastair on his blog, his particular interest in hyperlocal news, open data and environmental issues is expressed in him being a web manager and general volunteer for Greener Leith, a trustee of Planning Democracy and part of the team developing a long-form, not-for-profit journalism project, the Scottish Inquirer. You can follow Alastair on Twitter @allytibbitt.

1. Flickr – website – It’s been around for a while, and perhaps not as gold as it used to be, but it’s still by far the best resource for photos out there. I especially rate the ever-growing archive of historical and creative commons photos on Flickr. And in fact, if more organisations shared photos with a Creative Commons license, we’d all win. And it’s still free.

2. Pixlr – web app – This cloud-based photo editor does me for 99 per cent of my photo editing needs. It integrates with Google Drive, it has presets for most commonly-used aspect ratios and loads of easy-to-use touch-up tools. And it’s also free.

3. Buzzsumo – website – Buzzsumo answers lots of useful social media questions. Which of your own content is getting shared lots and where? Which of your competitors content is doing well? Or check out well-shared content by topic or even author too. They’ve just launched a pro-tier, but am hopeful much of the useful stuff will stay free.

4. Trendsmap – website – You have to pay for this one, but it gives far more details on what’s trending on Twitter in a particular location. A local news must-have.

5. – web app – There are quite a few cloud-based tools for building interactive charts and info-graphics, but seems to have evolved into one of the best. Whilst it can’t do really complex stuff, I think it’s found a very good sweet spot that allows for rapid deployment of responsive, good-looking interactive charts.

6. oTranscribe – web app – Another free, cloud-based tool that makes transcribing audio interviews quick and easy. If your shorthand is as bad as mine, then this tool is a huge time-saver, and it too plays nice with Google Drive.

7. Coeverywhere – website – This is a new one, and arguably needs a bit of polishing. Nevertheless, it’s already become a regularly useful free hyperlocal news-gathering tool. In particular, I like its ability to dig out up-coming events from a particular place. Here’s some areas I drew earlier:

8. ifttt – web app – If This Then That allows you to join up all sorts of things. If you’re a blogger or a publisher on a budget then you probably don’t have enough time to manually tweet and cross-post everything everywhere, regardless of what some social media guru might tell you is best practice. If This Then That can help with that, as well as millions of other things. For example, I use it to email me daily updates from a load of Reddit sub-groups, so I don’t have to remember to check them all.

9. pinboard – website – I know I’m not alone in rating the no-nonsense aesthetic from Pinboard, but still, before flat design and stripped-out websites were fashionable, pinboard proved that if you do one job and do it well with no nonsense, you’re going to win. You should pay for an account right now, and relax safe in the knowledge that it will archive all your tweets and anything else you want to bookmark. It can also give you an RSS feed of your links so you can remind yourself what you wanted to read a few hours ago but didn’t have the time.

10. Google Fusion Tables – web app – Google Fusion Tables is still officially an ‘experimental app’, even though it feels as though it has been around for years. It’s capable of producing a number of different types of data visualisations, but I mainly use it these days for generating interactive maps. There is undoubtedly a bit of a learning curve with Fusion Tables, but it’s worth fiddling around with them, because, with just a little bit of HTML and CSS, you can make some pretty things. If your coding skills extend into Javascript then you can do some really great things.