kdmc tutorials

KDMC produces a wealth of digital media tutorials to support our training sessions and classes. While the focus of some tutorials is on technology and journalism, most are general enough to be of use to anyone.

Select a category to find related tutorials

FTP Made Simple

Once you've created a web site, you'll need to upload it to a public web server, where the rest of the world can enjoy it. If you're not working with a content management system, you'll need to use one of the internet's oldest protocols, FTP (which stands for File Transfer Protocol). This tutorial includes a video screencast illustrating the FTP process step-by-step.

Multimedia Storytelling: learn the secrets from experts at Multimedia Storytelling Institute 2014

Not all stories make good multimedia stories. The best multimedia stories are multi-dimensional. They include action for video, a process that can be illustrated with a graphic (e.g., "how tornadoes form" or "how this new surgery works"), someone who can give some pithy quotes for video or audio, and/or strong emotions for still photos and audio. Most multimedia stories require that the reporter go into the field to report the story face-to-face with sources, rather than doing a story entirely by telephone.


Soundslides has become one of the industry standards in creating audio slideshows due to its simple interface, low cost and its devotion to journalistic storytelling.

Audio Recorders

This tutorial covers some of the basics in portable digital audio recorder devices, and their use in a journalistic capacity. There are several factors to consider when purchasing a digial audio recorder, including cost, quality and durability.

Flash Templates

A tutorial on how to create and use templates for creating news projects using Adobe Flash. A general understanding of the basics of Flash is required for this instruction on implementing the templates.

Financial Disclosure Statements

This tutorial covers financial disclosure statements filed by politicians and other public officials that detail their income, investments, property ownership, gifts, business positions, and other financial information. The tutorial describes what information is available, where to access it and what's available online.

Public Records Act Request Resources

This is a guide to resources on filing public records act requests to obtain documents from federal and state government agencies.

Google Map Basics

This tutorial will show you how to create your first Google map. These step-by-step instructions are guaranteed to get you started in one of the coolest—and easiest—Web technologies.

Using Spreadsheet Data in Google Maps and Google Earth

How do you take spreadsheet data and turn it into a great looking map? How do you do this without writing a lick of code? These simple steps will make your mapping work fast and efficient.

Building Flash Templates

This tutorial will go through the process of constructing a simple Flash template with three buttons. Each button will take you to a different section of the project that will showcase your videos, photo slideshows, or a Google map mashup. This tutorial was written for people using either Flash 8 or Flash CS3, under the ActionScript 2.0 language.

Map Mashup Resources

This is a set of resources for map mashups. The resources include links to sample sites used in the KDMC Tech Training Workshops and links to online resources for creating your own map mashups.

This is not an exhaustive list of resources available; the list will get you started. If you find a great resource, please let us know and we'll add it here.

Using Free Web Designs

Multimedia web sites often take the form of mini sites that don't utilize your publication's design templates. Coming up with fresh, professional-looking web designs for multimedia projects can be tedious and time-consuming. Fortunately, there are literally thousands of downloadable free web designs out there, ready to be customized and modified. In this tutorial, we point to some of the best resources for free web design templates, and also provide detailed instructions for modifying our own freely downloadable web design.

Databases of Statistical Information

This is a directory of online databases of demographic and other statistical information that are publicly available on the web. The directory is organized topically, and includes database with national, state and local information, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area.

WordPress: Getting Started

New to WordPress? This tutorial will guide you through the basic steps of publishing with the world's most popular content management system. Learn how to post and mange your content, manage tags and categories, upload media and more.

Canon VIXIA HF10

This tutorial will cover the basic use of the Canon VIXIA HF10 video camcorder, as used in a journalistic application. This tutorial is written specifically for the students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Although the information will be catered toward the school's use, we are making this available to the general public.


Podcasts are a simple and effective way to add multimedia to your site. While there are many tools and applications available to create podcasts, this tutorial covers a basic setup for fast production. All you need is a headset, a Mac, and GarageBand.

Jail and Prison Records

This is a guide for reporters on accessing information about jail and prison inmates.


Audacity is a free, lightweight, sound-editing program that works in PC, Mac OS X, and Linux. It is an easy way to start editing audio if there is little or no budget for this type of software. But Audacity quickly becomes eclipsed by other, more robust, pieces of software that are more complete, less bug-prone and have better support.

Geotagging and Mapping Photos

Locating photographs and mapping them online is a great way to add another dimension to a story or project. This tutorial will cover methods in tracking the locations where photos are shot and how to get them into maps.


ZeeMaps is a map mash-up application that can easily map address lists using data from industry-standard .csv [comma separated value] files.

The Transition to Digital Journalism

This is an overview of the transition to digital journalism that many news organizations and individual journalists are undertaking.

The guide provides background information, data and history on the trends and tools that are rapidly changing the practice of journalism. It's designed to serve as a starting point for discussions at news organizations and among journalists about what needs to be done.

This is also very much a work in progress - we'll be constantly adding new information and new sections, including an exploration of the business side of online publishing. We welcome suggestions and comments to improve the guide.

Video Cameras

Choosing the right video camera gear can be difficult since the market is flooded with an abundance of choices. If you break down the elements each camera has to offer, you can significantly narrow your choices to a camera that offers you the best results at an acceptable price.

CSS 101

HTML is for setting the logical markup of documents on the web, but has nothing to do with how those documents appear - that's a job for Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS. This tutorial provides an introduction to the fundamentals of document decoration with CSS.

Photo Cameras

There are three basic camera types: Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras, advanced point-and-shoot cameras, and point-and-shoot cameras. Each camera type comes with various prices points and advantages. This tutorial includes a buying guide and some information about the different camera types and which is best for your newsroom.

Creating a Publication Widget

Widgets are bits of code that when embedded into a website, blog or personal page on a social network, can display different kinds of content from other websites, such as a feed of news stories.

Getting Started with Facebook for Journalists

Journalists can use Facebook to get leads, find sources, get feedback, partner with the audience, promote stories and publications and much more. However, all of this starts with a basic step-by-step understanding of how Facebook works.  Getting started with Facebook can be intimidating for some journalists. This tutorial will guide you through the basics of getting your own account and setting your initial privacy settings. 

Picking the Right Media for a Story

How do you decide whether to take a video camera, a photo camera, an audio recorder or just a good old reporter's notebook on a story?

This tutorial gives you some tips on how to make those choices.

GarageBand—Basic Editing

GarageBand '09 is a powerful, easy-to-use audio editing program. This tutorial shows the basic techniques for cutting an interview audio.

Macintosh OS X—Getting Started

This tutorial presents resources for learning and mastering the OS X operating system, basic file management and basic communications tools.

Assessor's Office

This is a guide for reporters on how to research property records at a county assessor's office.

Search Engine Optimization — Basics

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of making the content you publish appear near the top of the Search Engine Result Page (SERP). Your SEO skills make it easier for your audience to find and connect to your content. This tutorial presents the foundation tools and techniques for incorporating good Search Engine Optimization techniques into your publication workflow.

ActionScript 3.0 for Journalists

This tutorial covers basic ActionScript 3.0 for journalists. ActionScript is a programming language used in the Adobe Flash program to extend its capabilities. This tutorial is written as a complement to a class taught at the UC Berkeley Journalism school on Flash, however it is posted here for public use.

Business and Corporation Records

This tutorial describes the different kinds of public records and directories reporters can use to find out information on businesses and corporations.

Nonprofits and Charities

This tutorial shows reporters how to find public records on nonprofit and charitable organizations such as foundations.

Civil Court Lawsuits

This is a guide for reporters on what kinds of public documents are available in civil court lawsuits.

Tascam DR-100 digital audio recorder

The Tascam DR-100 digital recorder is a compact advanced audio recording device that accepts professional microphones. It records to a Secure Digital (SD) or Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) memory card, which allows quick and easy transfer to a computer. The recorder also features a dual power system; an included recharable lithium ion battery, and a backup AA battery option.


This is a guide for reporters on finding information on lobbyists and companies that employ lobbyists.

Election Results

This is a guide for finding government websites that post election results on state and local elections.

Storytelling Apps and Tools

There are many free applications and online tools journalists can use to make different types of stories, from interactives and graphics to data visualiztions and maps. These are links to many of the most useful and popular ones and tutorials on how to use them.

Criminal Court Records

This tutorial describes for reporters what records are available in criminal courts. It also provides a general overview of the criminal court procedures so reporters can better understand what records are available and when in the court process they become available.


This tutorial covers the basics of creating and doing calculations with a spreadsheet. It is based on using Google Docs spreadsheets, with notes on some differences with Excel spreadsheets.

Lexis Nexis

This is a tutorial for reporters on using the LexisNexis service to locate news stories and some public records that are in its databases.

Taxonomy of Digital Story Packages

Online story packages take a variety of forms on the Internet. Some borrow heavily from old media formats, others try to define what kinds of storytelling are native to a digital format.

Intro to cleaning data

Understanding how to clean data is an important skill every reporter needs. Learn how spreadsheets work, basic data-cleaning workflow and how to use formulas and functions.

Police Records

This tutorial describes what records are available to reporters from law enforcement agencies investigating criminal cases. It also generally outlines criminal case procedures, based primarily on the workings of the California criminal justice system.

Businesses - Regulatory Agencies

This is a guide for reporters on finding public documents on businesses that are licensed or regulated by federal and state agencies. In most cases the agencies keep an online database or a name index of businesses for which there are reports or enforcement actions.

Campaign Statements

This tutorial describes how to check campaign statements politicians file when running for office, which detail who contributed to their campaigns and how the money was spent.

Voter Registration Records

This is a guide for reporters to what voter information registration information is publicly available.

Professional Licenses

This is a guide for reporters to finding public records on licensed professionals.

Data Visualization: Basics

Interactive graphics give your content context and impact. Learn how to use Google Gadgets to create charts that you can embed in your site. Google Gadgets are free.

Vehicle and Vessel Licenses and Registrations

This is a guide for reporters on finding records on driver's licenses and motor vehicle registrations, as well as registrations for boats and aircraft.

Vital Records

This is a guide for reporters on how to access vital records - birth and death certificates as well as marriage certificates and divorce filings.

Bankruptcy Court Records

This is a guide for reporters on how to acces U.S. Bankruptcy Court records.

Build an animated ad in PhotoShop CS4.

Independent bloggers and journalists may find that they need to build an ad to support their work. This tutorial will provide some basic guidelines and instruction on how to build an animated ad in Photoshop.

Build an Interactive Census Map

Step-by-step guide to using geocommons.com to make a an interactive census map. Created by Len De Groot for the Knight Digital Media Center.

Recorder's Office

This is a guide for reporters on using a county recorder's office to research property records.

Building Inspection and Permit Records

This is a guide for reporters on using a city building inspection department to research records of construction permits and code violations on properties.

Property Tax Collector's Office

This is a guide for reporters on how to research property tax records at a county tax collector's office.


This is a guide to finding legislation on a federal, state and local level, including government websites with searchable databases of legislation.

Military Records

This is a guide for reporters on finding military service records.

Immigration and Passport Records

This is a guide for reporters on government agencies that keep immigration and naturalization/citizenship records and passport records.

Coroner's Office Reports

This is a guide for reporters on the documents that are publicly available as part of a coroner's office investigation into a person's death.

Notary Publics

This is a guide for reporters on how to access information from a notary public.

PHP 101

PHP has emerged as the most widely used server-side web programming language in use today. PHP makes it easy for web pages to interact with databases, present different kinds of content to different users, manipulate text, send email, process forms, perform advanced mathematics, or do most anything else that involves delivering dynamic data into web pages.

Build 960 design grids in Photoshop

Most modern Web sites are designed and built on a fixed, 960-pixel grid. Building on a grid creates page layouts that are visually consistent and easier for users to navigate. This tutorial will teach you how to build a 960-grid template using Photoshop.

Protovis JavaScript Charts: Part 1

The Protovis JavaScript Library takes care of the difficult programming so you spend less time writing code and more time visualizing data. This tutorial is designed for beginners with little or no JavaScript experience.

Protovis Part 3: Variables and animation

Variables allow you to make easy-to-update data visualization templates that you can post in minutes. Plus learn simple animation.

Protovis Part 4: External data and animated labels

Learn to how to load data into your Protovis charts from an external file and learn new tricks to animate bars and labels simultaneously.

Protovis Part 5: Swap external data

Learn to how to swap external data files and some techniques to improve animate with small objects like lines.

Map Mashups: Collaboration

Map mashups provide a visual location component for data. Collaborating with a reporting team is a great way to visualize a story as the reporting develops. Collaborating with the community on building a map involves direct engagement and can lead to highly relevant and useful information. As with all types of interaction with the community, it is always necessary to monitor and filter community input.

Protovis compatibility in Internet Explorer

Protovis is a terrific tool that works well in modern browsers. But it does have some compatibility problems with Internet Explorer 6-8. We'll look at some methods to make your Protovis graphics work in every browser type.

Use Google Refine to Export JSON

Google refine is great at cleaning large sets of data. But one amazing under-documented feature is the ability to design and output JSON files.  With Google Refine, you can turn a simple spreadsheet into a straight forward JSON datasets or multidimensional arrays quickly and easily.

Introduction to Flash

This tutorial is designed as a guide for a class taught at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. It teaches the basics of the Adobe Flash program.

Protovis Templates

Our customizable templates will help you produce interactive JavaScript charts in minutes.

Building an Ad Platform with DFP

Serving ads isn't as easy as it sounds, but Google's Double-Click for Publishers goes a long way toward streamlining the process, maximizing revenue, and keeping performance high. This tutorial explains how to get started building an ad platform of your own with DFP.

Twitter for Journalists

Twitter is a powerful tool for journalists, who use it for everything from finding sources to engaging the public in communities drawn across lines of interest. This tutorial offers an introduction to Twitter and how journalists can best utilize it.


Hands-on tutorial will give you tools to improve the quality photos and manage your collection as it grows. 

QGIS basics for Journalists

QGIS is a free, open source GIS application that works on most major operating systems. It's a great starting point for journalists who want to explore data with maps. This tutorial will guide you through the basics and give you the tools to make quick interactive data maps that work on every platform.

Canon Rebel T3i Camera

A tutorial on the Canon Rebel T3i digital SLR camera. This camera can be used both as a still photo camera as well as a video camera.

CSS Layout with HTML5

If you've got basic HTML and CSS skills and are ready to learn how to structure a web design with CSS layout techniques, this tutorial will help you take your skills to the next level.

FreeDive tips and tricks

Get the most out of freeDive searchable databases.

Sony HXR-NX70U

This is an instructional tutorial on how to operate the Sony HXR-NX70U. This camera, also colloquially described as simply Sony NX70, is a portable high-end consumer level camera that is also used by many professionals. This means the camera includes many automatic features for novices, as well as manual overrides that allows experienced photographer to control the look of the image with an high level of granularity. 

JavaScript for Journalists

JavaScript is a coding language used in webpages. It enables you to do things like add interactivity to a website, build applications, retrieve data from other sites and so much more.

Canon Rebel XT Series Camera

The Canon Rebel family of cameras is the first level of SLRs the company makes. They generally run between $600 to $1,000 depending on the kit options and accessories. The camera caters to a wide audience by including automatic options for beginners as well as highly customizable settings for more professional photographers.

Embedding Map Mashups

Now that you've learned how to create map mashups, adding them to your site should be a simple matter of copy-and-paste, right? Not so fast - there are a number of issues you may run into when trying to insert the map embed code provided by Google and other providers to your site. We'll cover a few of those here.

Protovis Part 2: Lines and Labels

Tick marks and labels make charts easier to comprehend. Here's how to add them to Protovis JavaScript charts.

Sony PD 150/170 Video Cameras

This tutorial covers usage of the Sony DSR-PD170 or DSR-PD150 video camcorder. It is also an overview of video camera principles and hardware.

Compact Flash Audio Recorders

A compact flash audio recorder is a digital audio recording device that saves audio onto a compact flash card - the same kind of card used with a digital photo camera.

Digital Still Cameras

There are two basic kinds of digital cameras: Digital SLR (single lens reflex) and non-SLR. Digital SLRs are generally more expensive and more accurate than non-SLR cameras, and include more professional features.

HTML 101

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is simple document markup languaged used for creating Web pages and other information viewable in a Web browser. This tutorial is a crash course in basic HTML - enough to get you up to speed and help you feel comfortable with general HTML syntax and structure.

Dictation Recorders

Many times professional digital audio recorders such as the Marantz PMD 660 are either not available or are too expensive. This tutorial will show one cheaper "non recommended" alternative when other options are not available.

Using Flash buttons

This tutorial is an introduction to the Adobe Flash CS4 program. It will instruct the basics of the Flash interface, and how to incorporate button symbols in Flash. It is intended for people who have never used Flash before.

Sony PD 150/170 Video Camera Accessories

This tutorial covers accessories related to the Sony DSR-PD170 or DSR-PD150 video camcorder. There are several accessories you should have with your camera to improve the quality of the video and audio you get, and to protect your equipment. They include things like different microphones and a set of headphones, a tripod and a carrying case, and various adapters, filters and cables.

Minidisc Audio Recorders

A minidisc recorder is a digital audio recording device that saves audio onto a minidisc. Each minidisc holds up to about 80 minutes of recorded audio.


Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard for working with digital images of any kind. This tutorial will take you through the entry-level steps of using the program to open, crop, resize, adjust and save a photographic image. While applicable to earlier versions, this tutorial uses Adobe Photoshop version CS3.


Dreamweaver is a Web page design program that lets you type text and add media elements directly into a page, much as you would with a word processing program like Microsoft Word. Dreamweaver converts your text and graphical page design into the HTML code read by a Web browser.

Note: This tutorial covers an older version of Dreamweaver. However, most instructions and screenshots are still relevant to the current version.

WordPress: Beyond the Basics

Now that you've found your footing with WordPress, it's time to roll up your sleeves and dig deeper. In this tutorial we cover building menus and sidebar widgets, installing and working with themes and plugins, batch post management, using the Links manager, and more.

Video Techniques

People invariably make the same sets of mistakes when they first start shooting video: Trees or telephone poles sticking out of the back of someone's head; interview subjects who are just darkened blurs because there was bright light in the background or beginners take boring shots of buildings with no action.

Here are some shooting tips to help you avoid some of these common mistakes...

Soundtrack Pro

Soundtrack Pro is an audio editing program designed to work in concert with the Final Cut Pro video editing program. It can be used for more fine tuning of audio tracks in your video files than is possible in Final Cut Pro. It also can be used to edit audio files that are not attached to video, such as audio you recorded on a compact flash recorder or a minidisc recorder.

Embedding Multimedia

This is where your skills come together - Web page creation skills, interview skills, audio and video editing skills, and storytelling skills all converge at this point. Inserting media into Web pages is a bit more difficult than creating plain old HTML with graphics, but if you've mastered the other tutorials in this site, you'll do fine.

Standups and Voice-overs

A voice-over is a narration done by a broadcast reporter, usually reading from a script and a standup is when a television reporter appears in front of the camera to narrate part of a story - most often at the beginning to set up the story, or at the very end.

However, reading that script is an art that requires both smooth delivery and emphasizing the key points in the story.

Here are some tips for doing these standups and voice-overs...

Pro Tools

ProTools is a professional audio engineering software program made by Digidesign. Although it's used by top-notch pros in the radio industry, ProTools has a fairly easy learning curve, making it just as good for beginners.

Building a slideshow with Flash

Adobe Flash is a powerful vector-based animation tool that has become the de facto standard for multimedia on the Internet because it allows authors to create online presentations with minimum file sizes. This is an entry-level tutorial to introduce Flash's basic features to people who have never used it before.

WordPress: Managing Settings

This is a companion to the WordPress: Beyond the Basics tutorial. It takes a deep dive into all the options found in the Settings section of the WordPress Dashboard.


iMovie is a simple, easy to use video editing program that comes free with the Apple operating system (it has no Windows PC version). Despite its simplicity, iMovie offers many of the same features — dropping clips on a time line, cropping them, adding transitions between clips, etc. — as more advanced video editing programs like FinalCut Pro or Premiere.

Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro is a sophisticated video editing program made by Apple. It is the editing software of choice for multimedia journalists using Apple computers, and is comparable to Adobe's Premiere video editing program. Final Cut Pro does not make a version for Windows.

Final Cut Pro is also particularly popular with video journalists working in the field who want to edit their video on a laptop computer.

Installing WordPress

Depending on your existing web experience, the most complex aspect of running a WordPress site may be the installation process. In this tutorial, we demystify the process of using WordPress installers at popular web hosts, and offer pointers on first post-installation steps.

Premiere Pro CS6

Premiere is a popular video editing program made by Adobe that works on both Windows and Apple computers. It is comparable to Apple's Final Cut Pro video editing program.

Video on the Web

Once you've finished editing your video (or audio), you'll need to greatly reduce its filesize so that it can be transferred over the Web effectively. Compressing audio and video can be as much an art as a science, but we've attempted to simplify the process here.

WordPress: Photo Galleries

Learn how the WordPress Media Library and galleries work, how to set up and use the NextGen plugin to improve photo management and create slideshows and galleries that can be rated or contributed to by users.

WordPress: Modifying Themes

Learn how themes are constructed and how to get your chosen theme to work exactly the way you want it to.

WordPress: Building a "Topics" Site

A news site often publishes many related articles on the same topic, such as "Healthcare Reform." While these disparate articles may be linked to one another through a tagging or category interface, it's ideal if a site can maintain a single, stable URL that gathers related content under a single umbrella. Having a "topic page" system helps both readers and the publication to locate and target related information, and improves SEO value. This tutorial demonstrates how KDMC fellows can use our demonstration "Topic Central" system, as well as how developers can create such a system with WordPress.