Futures Lab Update #156: Customizable Databases with Airtable

    by Rachel Wise
    June 30, 2016
    A screenshot from this week's Futures Lab Update video.

    This story first appeared on RJI’s Futures LabReporting by Whitney Matewe and Haley Reed.

    This week we look at Airtable, a tool designed to create databases that are more visual, collaborative and customizable. For journalists, Airtable could help streamline workflows and simplify things like editorial calendars, budget documents and project management.


    For more information:

    • Two similar tools called Rowshare and Fieldbook also allow users to create customizable spreadsheets. Rowshare currently offers only a free option while Fieldbook has a free option and premium plan for $10/month per user. Both Rowshare and Fieldbook allow customization, attachments, importing of spreadsheets and a variety of templates. But neither allows a form view or calendar view like Airtable.
    • One useful application of Airtable for journalists might be managing editorial content. Freelance editor Laura Blackwell created a sample template because, she says, “traditional spreadsheets just aren’t adaptable enough to handle each story’s unique needs.” Users can copy the base and make it their own.
    • Airtable users can connect directly to Slack accounts, allowing teams to be notified in Slack chats when any changes are made to a database.
    • Airtable is available as a desktop app and a mobile app on iOS and Android.
    • Airtable offers three separate plans. In addition to the free option, users can sign up for the plus plan at $12/month per user or the pro plan for $24/month per user. With paid plans, users get more attachment space, additional records and priority support. An enterprise plan, ideal for larger newsrooms, will be available soon.

    Rachel Wise is an editor at the Futures Lab at the Reynolds Journalism Institute and co-producer of the weekly Futures Lab video update.



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    The Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Futures Lab video update features a roundup of fresh ideas, techniques and developments to help spark innovation and change in newsrooms across all media platforms. Visit the RJI website for the full archive of Futures Lab videos, or download the receive email notification of each new episode.

    Tagged: airtable customizable databases fieldbook project management rachel wise rji futures lab rowshare

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