My normal routine has been disrupted. I am betting you can relate. What remains though is vital and can illuminate the foundational elements that can moor us and keep us sane--or at least keep the crazy bits to a minimum.
Most days a group of National Press Club members gather for 30 minutes on Zoom. The Journalism Institute hosts our discussions and presents a quick writing prompt to focus our discussion. Often timely or pulled from the community at large we share thoughts, laughs, outside resources, and a nontrivial amount of camaraderie and support.
One of my contributions was a glimpse into how I am managing to conduct workshops, speak at virtual events, and keep a bold working life in the face of grounded flights, cancelled venues, and unmitigated chaos. I thought I would share some of the tools and resources that have been monumental in this shift. Most, if not all, internet resources have a free option for exploring before purchasing. And the majority of these suggestions are reasonably priced. I think about it like wearing Prada boots with a pair of Target jeans. Make the necessary investments when and if you are able.
HyperDrive hub for managing additional ports
I purchased portable USB LED Video lights on adjustable tripod stands. You don't need to get them all at once but a pack of two was less than $60. You might have seen the loop/circular variety but I think they would get crushed during travel unless you are hyper vigilant. You will be surprised about how much better you look with proper lighting.
You can see the set-up in the corner of my office. It has the yellow filter (comes with white also) and I have it adjusted so it is right behind the webcam tripod when I am standing at my desk. You can turn on your camera and the play with the lighting as it is fully adjustable and see where you look less like a zombie and more like your best self. I also have another one to my right that either sits on the desk or on the floor with the tripod fully extended.
On top of my laptop you can see the webcam. It quickly clips onto the laptop or slides into the top of the tripod immediately behind it int he photo.
The last few things are subscription based tools I discovered along the way. A few I am trying out to see if they are useful enough to warrant a yearly subscription. Simply agree to a monthly trial for now--your mileage may vary.
For example, Noun Project offers icons and other useful graphics for building data visualizations, online courses, reports, and any customizable deliverable where you want to add a little polish.
You are going to thank me for this one. I have hours and hours of conference sessions recorded--some where I am speaking but others on interesting topics in unique venues or with notable experts. I meant to transcribe them or repurpose those Zoom talks I have given but who has time for that. Although this would be the perfect task for an assistant, I don't have one at the moment.
Try Descript. I primarily use it for simultaneously editing video and audio but think about creating a podcast or editing interviews.
My experience with Descript introduced me to Loom. Loom is asynchronous tool that allows me to teach data analytics or survey design for example by screen casting. A simple workflow might be something like this. I record sessions on topics, and then edit them on Descript, and upload to my Teachable course. Boom.
In all honesty I have limited experience with Canva but I am also exploring perhaps integrating it into my workflow. I am starting to gravitate away from outside platforms and hoping to rely on my blog to share, message, and link to opportunities for engagement. I don't think I would need both Noun Project and Canva but I am exploring.
This has been a quick review of my foundation or roots in this time of upheaval and uncertainty. I hope buried here is an insight or suggestion to make your road a little smoother.
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I have been working on a course on Teachable that isn't ready for primetime just yet but newsletter subscribers and sustaining donors will get links to courses for free. I will keep you in the loop.