The Common Craft Blog

This blog is where we announce new videos & talk about the power of explanation & the change it can create. 

Meet Maybe - The Newest Addition to Common Craft

Posted by: leelefever on May 22, 2014- 11:53am


Categories: bosco, Dogs, maybe, our work

A few years back, we introduced you to Bosco, our faithful mascot. If you're a subscriber to our newsletter, you've seen him grow up. 

Apparently one dog was not enough.  We now have a 3 month old puppy at Common Craft headquarters named "Maybe".  She's half Bernese Mountain Dog and half Standard Poodle - a "Bernedoodle". And yes, she will be a big dog - likely around 70 pounds. While her names is Maybe, we're pretty sure she's a keeper. :) 

Here are a few photos to enjoy before the long weekend:

This is Maybe at about 10 weeks:

Maybe at 10 Weeks

Bosco has been very tolerant, even as she turns into a projectile puppy.

Maybe the Puppy at 3 Months

She's a little bigger now, but still has those sharp puppy teeth. We all (including Bosco) are ready for those things to go away.

Maybe the Puppy at 3 Months

A full set of Maybe photos can be found on Flickr

We have a tradition of sharing dog photos in our newsletter. If you'd like to keep up with Common Craft videos, news and dogs, you should subscribe. You can do so at the bottom of our home page.

Have you ever watched a Common Craft video and thought - “This could really work for me if I could just make a few changes”? Now you can.

We now offer the Explainer Editor plan that includes the rights to edit any ready-made video in our library using your own software. This means our videos can become a starting point for your own projects.

Along with ready-made videos, the Explainer Editor plan also comes with all Common Craft Cut-outs as both vector art (.EPS) and normal (.PNG) image files so you can create a consistent experience.

Add or remove a scene, add a logo, change or translate the voice-over, it’s up to you.


Edit Common Craft Videos


Please note: You are welcome to share the edited videos publicly on your website, in your classroom, network, etc. However, the edited videos cannot be shared on public video sharing services like YouTube and Vimeo. If you need sharing options, please contact us.

Explainer Editor plans start at $249 a year. Get started.

Our new video explains the basics of programming computers - and specifically, programming languages.

About this video:

Computers can perform amazing feats of speed, repetition and calculation. But what they are really doing is following instructions we write in programming languages. This video is designed to help people understand the role of programming languages in computers.
What it Teaches:

How do we tell computers what to do? Using the simple example of a computer controlling an oven’s temperature, we show how programming languages turn our ideas into instructions the computer can use. It teaches:

  • Why programming languages matter
  • How programming languages provide instructions to computers
  • How we give computers a way to make decisions
  • Why programming is challenging and important

Watch it now...

We'd also like to recognize Jay Fienberg of Juxtaprose for his technical help on this video and others. Thanks Jay!

In recent months, the world of journalism has seen an increased focus on “explainer” news sites. Examples include new sites like Vox, Newsbound, FiveThirtyEight and The Upshot by The New York Times. The demand for explanations in the news is growing.

Taking a step back, I think it’s interesting to think about why it’s happening and what it could mean for the future.

Let’s start with the goal: If you set out to explain something, your goal is to increase understanding. So, explainer news sites seek to help their audience understand the news. In fact, “understand the news” is the subtitle of


But don't we already understand? It's easy to assume that "explainer" journalism means journalism that's dumbed-down and/or focuses on the least common denominator news reader. I don't think this is the case. Understanding doesn’t always come from simplifying or making an idea more basic. The best understanding comes from building context and the discussing the big picture as a foundation for understanding. Here’s how I think about it:

  • Normal news: This is what happened today
  • Explainer news: This is why what happened matters

To make sense of today’s news, a broader perspective is often required. Those who know the backstory of an issue are more likely to understand the granular news stories that flow to us in daily headlines. Understanding begets interest - and this is where I think the true opportunity lies...

Explanations Create Customers of News

Jay Rosen, NYU Journalism Professor and media critic has been talking about explainers and journalism for years. His PressThink blog post from 2008 about the job of explainers in the news was a big influence on me and still rings true. That post focused on an episode of radio show/podcast This American Life called The Giant Pool of Money. It’s explains, with amazing clarity, the mortgage crisis.

Rosen describes what happened after listening the the show:

I noticed something in the weeks after I first listened to “The Giant Pool of Money.” I became a customer for ongoing news about the mortgage mess and the credit crisis that developed from it…‘Twas a successful act of explanation that put me in the market for information. 

Through a great explanation, he became a customer for ongoing news. It put him in the market for more information. Isn't this what every news organization wants - to increase customers of news?

I think this is why explainer news sites are popping up and may be successful. They will serve a valuable role in helping consumers build a foundation of understanding regarding stories that interest them. They will help create customers of news stories.

Want to see what I mean?

The two minute video below by Vox is meant to explain the big picture of Bitcoin - and how it is like the Internet in the 80s. It's not difficult to imagine how this video could put people in the market for more granular news about Bitcoin because it answers a question that many great explanations ask: why should I care?