5 ways journalists can use Google tools – from the Digital News Roadshow

Google Digital News RoadshowGoogle organised a free workshop on 14 December 2015 in Birmingham focused on how journalists can use technology to improve and complement their stories.

In this post Carla Pedret summarises some tips Google News Lab’s Matt Cooke gave during the event. You can read more about the event using the hashtag #DNRoadShow.

1. Putting ourselves in our audience’s shoes

As journalists we sometimes use words that we think are commonly used by our audience but actually are not.

In addition, one of the biggest difficulties is how to approach a story in a fresh way or a way that is attractive for our readers. Google Trends can give us some clues.

Let’s imagine we are working on a story about the Autumn Statement.

In Google Trends, we can check the most-searched questions.

Captura de pantalla 2015-12-17 a las 13.51.40

In this example, we can see that many people don’t know what the Autumn Statement is or what tax credits mean.

As the picture shows, the fourth most common question is “How will the autumn statement affect me?” which could be a different approach for our story.

We can also use Google Trends to look for the number of searches related to one or several terms and filter them by country, time or category.

Captura de pantalla 2015-12-17 a las 10.13.37

2. Different data sources in one place

If you are looking for data about one particular field, Google Public Data Explorer is a useful URL to have in our favourites.

From that one website you can find data from organisations including the United Nations, Eurostat and the World Bank.

With some of the data available you can easily create and customise graphs and maps, which can be embedded into a website.

Captura de pantalla 2015-12-17 a las 10.31.52

3. Advanced search = better results

You can obtain more precise results in searches using the advanced search commands instead of simply putting more random keywords.

  • Excluding content: With the command minus (-) we can search while excluding some results. If we are working, for example, on a story about the impact of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, we can do our search excluding the word ‘economy’ (we can use the command with any word).  If we compare the results, they are quite different.

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  • Definitions: To know the definition of a word, just add the word ‘define’:

Captura de pantalla 2015-12-16 a las 18.12.28

  • Quotes: We remember a statement, but we are not sure who said it. Google can give us the answer. The only thing we should do is enclose the exact phrase in quotes.

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  • Specific format and website: We can limit our searches to one website and to one format. To do that you have to use the commands site: with the URL and file: with the format we need (PDF, csv, xls…)

Captura de pantalla 2015-12-16 a las 18.51.21These are only some examples. Here you can find out more options.

4. Verifying pictures and videos

Pictures or videos sent by users should be verified like every other source.

For pictures, we can use a technique called reverse search with Google Images or Tiny Eye.

The only thing we have to do is to copy the link or upload the file with the image. The search engine will tell us the websites where the picture is already published.

Captura de pantalla 2015-12-16 a las 14.46.37

Another tip to check if a picture or a video is located in the place it says is with Google Street View or Google Earth. This tutorial explains how.

In the case of videos, the options are more limited. Amnesty International has created the Youtube Data Viewer, a tool to show the hidden data from videos hosted on Youtube.

Captura de pantalla 2015-12-16 a las 19.15.10

5. Want to know more?

If you want to discover more, go to Google News Lab website and learn how Google tools can help you in your research, visualizing your stories or analysing engagement.

Captura de pantalla 2015-12-17 a las 10.44.29


2 thoughts on “5 ways journalists can use Google tools – from the Digital News Roadshow

  1. Pingback: Google: la guida del giornalista 2.0 | magzine

  2. Pingback: Newsletter Farol Jornalismo #76 Vida corrida, edição compacta | Farol Jornalismo

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