SXSW: 5 More Great Sites for Progressive Media Types

SXSW Interactive: Austin Convention Center.Photo: Laura McClure

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Yesterday I blogged about 5 online bon bons and what makes them so sweet. But wait! There’s more in that digital candy dish! Forthwith, five sites and apps joining Storify, Tumblr, Readability, DocumentCloud, and MuckRock as my picks from 2011’s SXSW Interactive. (Read my first 5 reviews here.)

1. Freedom.

Tagline: “Freedom is a simple productivity application that locks you away from the internet on Mac or Windows computers for up to 8 hours at a time. Freedom frees you from distractions, allowing you time to write, analyze, code, or create.”

Sweet spot: Nora Ephron, Peggy Orenstein, and other great writers swear by it.

2. Ushahidi.

Tagline: “Ushahidi is a platform that allows information collection, visualization, and interactive mapping, allowing anyone to submit information through text messaging using a mobile phone, email, or web form.”

Sweet spot: This free, open-source crowdmapping platform makes lo-tech phones a smart choice for crowdsourced data viz. (See: Japan people finder.)

3. Scribd.

Tagline: “Millions of documents and books at your fingertips! Read, print, download, and send them to your mobile devices instantly. Or upload your PDF, Word, and PowerPoint docs to share them with the world’s largest community of readers.”

Sweet spot: Presentations, spread sheets, and how-to manuals of all stripes find a good home here.

4. Instapaper.

Tagline: “Save long web pages to read later, when you have time, on your computer, iPhone, iPad, or Kindle.”

Sweet spot: Instapaper shines when paired with the #longreads twitter feed.

5. Longreads.

Tagline: A free, daily dose of timeless, community/editor-curated “long-form journalism, magazine stories, interview transcripts, and even historical documents” from top magazines.

Sweet spot: The Top 5 Longreads of the week will change your commute. Even better: Each story comes with a time estimate of how long it’ll take you to read it, and you can search the site by 15-minute reads, 30-minute reads, etc.

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LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

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