It's time to ramble on…

The thoughts of a young journalist in southeastern Michigan

Googling up

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If there is one thing I have learned the last few months, it’s been to utilize the power of Google.

As a journalist, Google is my best friend. Need to find a phone number? Want to know what others are reporting on? What’s out there with my name on it? Google knows it all.

But it’s not just a search engine. Google has become a much bigger and better tool for journalists to use in recent years. Using Google effectively can increase the way you report and tell stories. These are several points I’ve noticed since exploring myself.

1. Replace your e-mail with it.

About two years ago, I had my Central Michigan University student mail account forwarded to a Gmail account, and it’s been a move I’ve never looked back on. I never have to delete messages-a plus for journalists in case they have to doublecheck something- and I can search them using Google’s search engine. Plus, it adds a chat function, so you can stay connected with others on their Gmail accounts. Sign up for Google Alerts for news and blogs that contain a certain word or phrase.

2. Have all your news in one place.

While Twitter is being considered by some a modern RSS feed, Google Reader is a simple way to have all your headlines delivered to one place. Subscribe to a site’s RSS feed, and it’s updated as often as you need it. It’s a great way to keep what other news organizations are doing sorted, and it also allows you to see what other colleges are doing. It can be a great way to keep informed, and a great story idea generator.

3. Use it to surf the Web.

Ever since Google launched Chrome, I haven’t used any other Web browser. Its simple design and easy tab system makes browsing faster and cleaner. The only downfall I’ve found is that some video players don’t play on it, and you have to go to Firefox instead. This makes it easy when doing research, it’s easy to search for the info you’re looking for.

4. And a whole bunch of other stuff.

There’s a whole lot more to use Google with. There’s all of their mobile apps, which run on the Android system for Verizon. There’s Google Earth, the software that has images of most places on Earth. There’s the Google Labs, when Google tested some of their new technology. There are plenty of uses for Google, and a journalist pokes around and tries something new every day.

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Written by David Veselenak

February 9, 2010 at 4:29 am

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