NewHive Review

NewHive is undefinable, and definitely indescribable. Its website attempts to define it as a “radically simple, DIY self publishing tool.” Users can embed almost anything into the collage/publishing tool — it makes virtual collages of all shapes and sizes.

What can you do with this tool?
I think the more appropriate question is what can’t you do with this tool. Users can combine text, images, videos, shapes, and anything you can find to embed (including maps from our favorite tool, CartoDB) to make a visual story. Though it doesn’t have the cool effects of parallax scrolling, you could create a faux-parallax story using it. I could foresee creating an infographic or a table and embedding it within a bigger NewHive story.

What kinds of stories is it good for?
I don’t see this being good for really in-depth, text-heavy stories because though it creates beautiful collages, it’s not too user-friendly in terms of including large blocks of text. It’s definitely good for web-only stories as well, because it’s fairly interactive and that just wouldn’t translate to print-only stories.

How do you get started using it?
The website includes a tutorial NewHive post that all users must look at in order to create their first collage, but I also found this video tutorial that gives an overview of the program. These don’t really give an insight to data journalists, though — they’re more for the artistic side of the program.

How easy or hard is it?
It is fairly easy to learn once you start messing around with it, but the program still isn’t too intuitive. For instance, normal commands that work on most websites and photo editing programs (like command + z for undo or command + c for copy) simply don’t work on this website. Additionally, there are just some weird kinks in the program that need some patience to work around with. In order to adjust the size of a font, users have to manually drag the box rather than being able to type in a numerical value. In order to increase page size, you have to zoom out (which isn’t exactly intuitive either) and then add something else to the page.

What skills do you need to become proficient in it?
Patience! A willingness to mess around and have it not look good. Creativity, definitely. It helps to have some basic knowledge of image editing programs.

Would you recommend this to a friend?
If they’re willing to experiment with the program.

Will you consider using it for your final data story?
I might! I think it is a really cool way of combining multiple different aspects of a story — I could put in maps, graphs, videos, photos, and words to create a comprehensive story about the two Roxburys in Boston. After even messing around with it for an hour in class I began to feel much more comfortable in it. I think it’s a little overwhelming because it really has no parameters, but that also is kind of exciting — not having a limit on what it can do makes it infinitely more useful for me.

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