Google tools for journalists: Part 2

by Julie Bailey
Oct 30, 2018 in Digital Journalism

This is our second installment of Google tools for journalists, this time with suggestions from Sean Carlson, manager of global communications at Google. He presented these tips at the U.S. National Association of Hispanic Journalists' (NAHJ) June convention in Denver, Colorado. To read part 1, click here.

Perfecting the search

Optimizing searches requires the ability to narrow down a search to a few pertinent words but despite this, search terms often yield unrelated or unwanted material. By adding a few simple denotations, users can more easily specify what they want, weeding out unwanted Web sites and terms.

  • Using a minus sign (-) before search terms eliminates those words from results
  • A plus sign (+) can be added before a word to yield results including that specific word as it is typed.
  • An asterisk () allows Google to determine the best answer to a question. Google provides the example, “Obama voted on the * bill,” which would yield results on Obama’s votes on different bills.
  • To search within a specific site for a particular term, users can enter the search term followed by “site:” and the site they want to search. Google suggests that Iraq site: NYTimes will yield stories about Iraq only from the New York Times.

More search tricks can be found here.

The visual side of content

Adding relevant visuals to a story can ultimately better engage a reader and lead to their greater understanding of the issue.

A new project of LIFE and Google has made millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive available for use. The photographs, many of which were never published, range from the 1750s to today. These stories can be added for no charge.

Google Maps currently offers street-level imagery in a number of U.S. cities and around the world and will continue to expand its service. These maps can be e-mailed or linked to on a website. In addition, users now have the option to create a custom map, which can be embedded on any site. Users can add relevant content and customize the presentation of the map to fit the individual style of every Web site.