Wouldn't it be nice to be able to visit a custom-built search engine as you start to work on your next story? A search engine that would only look through the sources that you specify or sources that you know will return results?
You can make your own search engine using Google's custom search feature. Simply visit the site, follow the instructions, and start using your own custom-built engine right away!
How might this be helpful for journalists? Let's say that you're an environment reporter and you're trying to stay on top of the hundreds of press releases, blog entries, news stories and organizational changes that get posted every day. You could definitely follow developments via RSS. But what if you wanted to search through sources that you know in advance would have the information you're trying to find?
To show you an example, I created a custom engine for environmental reporters. It's not comprehensive and is strictly meant to show you might use custom search for daily reporting...but have a look:
I tried searching "acid rain." Have a look at some of the search results below - you'll see that they're only coming from environmental news sources:
Google custom search is a great way to help your daily reporting efforts, especially as the web continues to expand.
Amy Webb is a digital media consultant and head of Webbmedia Group, LLC. Find more multimedia tips and ideas at her blog, http://www.mydigimedia.com. Webbmedia Group is a vendor-neutral company. Any opinions expressed about products or services are formed after testing, research and interviews. Neither Amy Webb nor Webbmedia Group or its employees receives any financial or other benefits from vendors.