Software & Online Multimedia Tools

Not every school can afford Adobe Creative Suites, but that doesn’t mean you have to abandon multimedia journalism altogether. Here are some free alternatives that you can download online to perform many of the same functions as Photoshop, InDesign, Final Cut Pro and Premier, as well as photo editing and animation.

With Animoto, you can create and share videos by uploading content from your computer or social media sites. Select a format and music if you want, and then share it. It is similar to Meograph (listed below), but Meograph incorporates more media options.

Audacity is open-source, free sound-editing software that offers cross-platform compatibility.

Avidemux is a free video editor designed for simple cutting, filtering and encoding tasks.

Buffer allows users to post content on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn in an efficient manner. “Custom scheduling, multiple accounts, team member access and detailed analytics make Buffer the go-to social media management tool for more than 1.2 million users around the world.”

An easy, drag-and-drop infographic creator that includes hundreds of free design elements, allowing users to experiment with data visualization.

Creatavist is a platform that allows you do create your own interactive storytelling experience by combining videos, text, images, audio clips, maps and more.

FotoJet is a free online collage maker that enables you to create amazing collages, photo cards and posters quickly from its 170+ delicate templates, working perfectly in your browser without the hassles of downloading or installing anything!

Gimp can be used for photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.

Google Media Tools
Google’s media tools suite provides a variety of invaluable resources for news gathering and digital presentation. It combines access to websites like Google Maps, Youtube and other apps in a user-friendly platform.

iMovie is a simple, easy to use video editing program that comes free with the Apple operating system (it has no Windows PC version).

JQuery before/after plugin shows a before and after picture and lets a visitor drag a slider over the images to see the differences.

Meograph is a user-friendly multimedia tool that is employed in a wide range of professions. It combines audio recording, like a narration, images and video (from YouTube) to create a “four-dimensional” storytelling experience.

Mozilla Popcorn Maker, tailored to the needs of journalists. Quickly synchronize text, photos, maps and wikipedia articles with audio or video to create an interactive video experience.

Piktochart has free and paid options that make it easy to turn data into creative, graphic presentations.


With Renderforest it’s easy to make slideshows with music, promotional animations, explainer or animated videos, presentations, logo or intro animations, event invitations, kinetic typography and more.

Seashore is an open source image editor for Mac OS X’s Cocoa framework.

Scratch is easy to use animation software. It is targeted at students age 8 to 16, but anyone interested in creating or teaching the value of animation and graphics would benefit from using scratch. The process of making these animations, which can be interactive, gives students experience with multimedia and interacting with an audience that is invaluable to online journalists.

Scribus is an open-source desktop publishing tool.

Scrollkit helps you bring your long-form story to life by integrating larger fonts, parallax scrolling and multimedia embeds into the story’s online presentation.

SoundCloud allows users to post original audio clips — including music — to an online community of friends, family, fans and followers. The free software also lets users embed their files on different websites, including Twitter and Facebook, which optimizes exposure.

Soundslides has become a standard for creating audio slideshows due to its simple interface, low cost and its devotion to journalistic storytelling. To post Soundslides material on some sites, it must be converted to video. This can only be done with the professional version of the program. To convert it, go here.

Synfig Studio
Synfig Studio is open-source 2D animation software.

TwistedWave is a browser-based audio file editor.

Vimeo is a video-hosting service similar to YouTube. Users can upload their own videos to make them publicly available, but vimeo is preferred among more serious videographers because it offers better services and playback than YouTube.

WeVideo is a browser-based video editor.

Zeega is an open-source HTML5 platform for inventing new forms of interactive storytelling.

Zentrick is another online tool that allows you to create an interactive video experience that encourages viewers to take action in response to what they’re viewing. It’s similar to Meograph or KettleCorn.