Published on July 30, 2012
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Newsworthy data and statistics are out there. But that doesn’t mean journalists can easily find them.
Dan Bulucea, country manager Google Romania, and Norbert Siomionescu, product specialist Google Romania, recently held a Google Media Academy class in Bucharest, Romania, to help journalists’ better sift through their behemoth search engine’s oodles of information.
Of course, they cautioned, it’s always a journalist’s responsibility to fact-check and interpret information. But Google is committed to making it available, and, increasingly, making it available in a friendly format.
“Today, the experience of the reader or of the viewer is a complex process that combines journalism, technology and design. There is a competition for providing the best experience and that has as a consequence an evolution in all these three aspects,” Bulucea said.
But, first, you need to know how to search for it and find it, considers Norbert Simionescu. They provided the following Google-oriented search reminders and tips for journalists:
Create and Compare Statistics
Google Public Data Explorer
This a very useful tool to find relevant statistics. You can find information from Eurostat, World Bank and from other institutions all over the world. Select which countries you want to compare and on which topics. Great for spotting trend stories.
Google Fusion Tables for Journalists
This tool will transform your numbers into visual tables. It’s useful for data journalism and it can improve your online, print or TV story.
The Guardian was using Google Fusion Tables during the riots in the United Kingdom when it concluded that poverty was one of the factors for the violence. It illustrated its story with Google maps. The Guardian’s conclusion was contradictory to the statement made by the Prime Minister David Cameron who declared that “These riots were not about poverty.”
Global Market Finder – a Source for Topics
Google Global Market Finder is usually a helpful tool for businessmen. If Google Global Market Finder indicates people are searching for honey in the US – this could be a good business in that area. As a journalist, you can use this information to generate ideas for business articles or you can gain geographically targeted insight into the topics in which people are interested.
Google Translate – Android Application
Google developed a translation application for smartphones. So when you are reporting from a foreign country, you can translate instantly with your phone and show the translation to the person in front of you which, otherwise, would have spoken a language that you cannot understand at all.
Goggles: Search by Images
Google Goggles allows you to search the web using your mobile phone’s camera instead of words. On an Android phone, open the Google Goggles app (on an iPhone, open the Google Search app and select Goggles), take a picture of the item you want to search for, and wait for the results. No typing necessary. If you are a photographer, with this application you can find, as well, if somebody else was using your pictures. It is useful to check if a certain image you want to put in your article was used before in other publications.
Search by the Type of File
Google allows you to refine your search by the type of file: PDFs, PPTs, or XLS. Write the topic you are interested in followed by the word “filetype:” and the 3-letter file abbreviation. Example: “acta filetype:ppt”
Google Earth & Google Maps
Especially if you’re on a budget, you may find useful to take images from Google Earth or Maps to illustrate your news. You can edit these images, but be aware that their use could be limited under some conditions and license. Images from Google Earth were used by journalists to illustrate the news about Port-au-Prince, Haiti before and after the earthquake.
Translate a Whole Article
Especially in multi-lingual cities and countries, you may want to use information from newspapers in languages that you do not speak. Instead of using copy/paste for an article, try filling in the Google form for translation with the website of the article. You will have the whole page of the article in the language you want it.
Use Quotes to Search for Phrases
Put quotation mark around words in order to find an exact phrase in the same order. Search “freedom of speech” if you want to find only this phrase, not the results related to separate words.
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