This week we test several tools that turn video and photos into animated GIF files, and we see how The Huffington Post is using the messaging app Viber to connect with audiences in a new way.

PART 1: GIF tools

Thanks to their compact size and ease of sharing on mobile devices, animated GIF files — which fit somewhere between still photos and video — have become a standard visual element that many newsrooms now incorporate into their journalism. We run through several desktop and mobile apps for creating animated GIFs and offer suggestions on which to use.

Reporting by Katy Mersmann.

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For more information:

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) files, have been around for almost 30 years, with animated GIF files making their way across the Web starting from the mid- to late 1990s. But recently the format has become widely adopted by younger users of social media. The files have some clear benefits over video: They loop by default, they autoplay without audio on most social media platforms, and they have much smaller file sizes. “GIF keyboards” are now available for many smartphones, as GIFs overtake emoji as a simple, wordless way to display emotion. Although generally smaller than video, there is no maximum size for GIF files, so any limitations are based on whatever the creation tool or host site allows. Imgur accepts GIFs up to 200 megabytes. Tumblr only accepts much smaller GIFs, up to 2 megabytes. If size limits are an issue, there are a number of ways to decrease file size for GIFs.


More info about the apps we tried: Giffffr (owned by Giphy) enables users to create GIFs and then upload them to the Giphy database. GifGrabber is very simple to use and creates GIFs by capturing an onscreen recording. Gif Brewery also offers ways to customize GIFs. PicGIF allows for more customization of GIFs than other options. Giphy Cam enables users to create GIF files and add visual effects on mobile devices

PART 2: Viber for news

The Huffington Post is one of a few news organizations using the voice and text messaging platform Viber to reach new audiences. Julia Bush, editorial fellow at The Huffington Post, explains how the app brings users into the news in a different way.

Reporting by Adam Pressler.

[To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

Reuben Stern  
Director of NYC Partnerships

Rachel Wise  
Video Editor


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