Part 2: Google search and trends

Daniel Sieberg of Google said, “We take the idea of using search (conversational search, voice search, mobile device search) somewhat for granted. With search, our motivation is to push you to the content that you need quickly.”

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  • The Google Knowledge Graph/panel is a database of structured knowledge about the real world.

Whenever you type in a query in the Google search bar, you can utilize the Search tools button and ask Google to be a time machine and custom search. If you want to ignore words, you can include a minus sign (salsa recipe-tomatoes). If you want a definition: type definition:(insert word). For related pages, related:simplerecipes.com. For specific sites, search site:nytimes.com and search terms. Another way to isolate information is to search by file type, search filetype:ppt or csv or whatever file type. You can also search site specific and file types (site:sanantonio.gov filetype:doc injuries)

For public data, sometimes it’s as simple as typing in the right keywords. Google Public Data Explorer (http://www.google.com/publicdata/directory) can be a great place to start for research. Sometimes just a graph can be as compelling and interesting as a visualization. (Check out Advanced Power Searching and Power Searching on YouTube.)

For image searches, type in bike diagram or how does an earthquake work? You can also use images.google.com and click on the camera icon, insert a photo link or upload a photo and force Google to find the image and verify or compare the image to see if it’s been doctored. Cool!

Google.com/trends you can see what’s trending now or you can customize your search and zero in on a neighborhood by clicking on Explore In-Depth.

Google Correlate can filter out what people are searching for and what’s trending around it.

“Sometimes hashtags are added depending on the content of the post, and it should be clickable in most cases.”

Part 1: Google for Media Miami

There’s a low barrier to entry for people who are new or uncomfortable with the tools available to journalism. “A single journalist can reach everyone on the internet in rapid fashion and measure relevant impact,” according to Daniel Sieberg, head of media outreach at Google.

No matter what your beat is or what you cover, you can find some way to use maps and data.

The keynote speaker, Alberto Cairo, professor at the University of Miami, kicked off the day with his presentation: “Believe it or not, you are (or should be a visual journalist.”

  • Tips to understand how infographics and visualizations of (maps, charts, graphs) can be used:
  1. Be truthful – many graphics out there do lie and do mislead (WTF Visualizations, Fox News)
  2. Reveal what data hide with visualization tools – explain what the truth is behind the data, hidden facts within data sets
  3. Choose graphic forms carefully – what is most effective graphic form to represent that data (the pie chart is not the best way to represent data with two or more functions; if you have to read every single figure to understand the graphic, it’s not effective.) It may be appropriate to represent your data more than once – line graphs, bubble charts, etc.
  4. Don’t just visualize; write – data needs to be correctly labeled with headlines, introductions and whatever is relevant. You need to provide insight to your readers, what are the outliers, exceptions.

Nando Vila, vice president of programming at Fusion, talked about the pros and cons of the social web: “It’s easier than ever to report, gather info, build context, do the research, verify basic info.” Journalists don’t really need a distribution mechanism anymore. So, the media needs to understand that “forever empty” and find a way to fill it. Media is being used as a form of communication just as much as a form of consumption. There are three types of sharable content:

  1. Informational nugget (especially when the informational communicates something the user already believed)
  2. Identity manifesto (when content communicates something important someone’s identity. Like pizza.)
  3. Emotional nugget (when a user can transfer a clear and powerful emotion to their peers through content. “If you can make someone feel something in a short period of time, they will then want to transfer that to their friends.”

We need to stop trying to get people to engage with us. We need to create content that allows people to engage with their friends, peers, crushes, etc. If you deliver on that, promise consistently and allow people to make themselves to feel smarter and better looking, they will keep coming back to you. These days, stories that aren’t good (or don;t make people connect) don’t get read. It forces us to be better writers and find more interesting angles and insights on the stories that everyone else is covering. The stories that are good rise to the top. On the downside, the social web forces us to be better, so it’s harder! Also, it’s very easy to fall into a rabbit hole of misrepresenting the truth and conning others.

Whenever you create something, ask yourself 3 questions:

  1. Why would someone share this? “It doesn’t mean that it has to be the cute cat picture. If you’re doing serious work, you still have to ask yourself that question.
  2. What are they communicating about themselves if they do decide to share this?
  3. Am I making the emotional reward obvious enough? “If you promise to deliver an emotion, you better deliver it.”

John Maines, journalist and database editor at the Sun-Sentinel, talked about the Pulitzer Prize-winning story that investigated speeding cops in Miami.

A panel delivered tips on how local news outlets can harness the internet to better twll stories and reach their audience. “It’s not about telling it first, it’s about telling it better.” We need to go and learn what we don’t know that we don’t know. Local is not what happens next to you. Local is what the locals care about. For Univision, it’s not about the audience anymore. It’s about finding the community and there’s more than one community and finding what communities are on which platforms and preparing and distributing content on the platforms that they use (G+, Twitter, Facebook). You begin with creating general content but then you polish it for each platform. How complete can I make the story? The telling of a story will now include many things, link to a map, info to download, audio, link to a form to download, a video to watch. People want to feel but they also want to do. We make sure people don’t just come to our sites to read. The simplest of the things we use everyday like search and analytics.

Go back to the basics. When you think that you work for content, you work for the story, you start to bring everything in. Everything is gathering. Pay attention to what the readers say, where do they go on the website, what do they click on?

Focus on the community that you’re trying to reach. Don’t rely too much on the internet and tools. We still have a long way to go in using tools to unlock the potential of the city itself. It’s about using Google Street View or whatever tools to see how people could live better or more intensely within their cities.

A reporter is so much more valuable if they can prove the hits that their blog gets.

Hirania Luzardo, a Huffington Post blogger, talked about collaborating in the newsroom in the digital age. “Social media for us is a new front page. Our audience gets to our front page through social media. People are constantly looking for our info through Twitter, Facebook or any other social tool. We don’t want to be first, especially when we are covering hard news. We want to be right.”

On Facebook, the most effective posts, in order of highest natural reach: open status with short link, link, photo and video. Every editor at Huffington Post is a social editor. *Posting just to fill a time slot is no longer a best practice. It’s more important to post quality content, even if that means repeating something that did well earlier.

With aggregated news, we are asking what our piece adds to the piece from somewhere else. The write ups are not just one source. When another outlet does a legitimate piece better than HuffPo, they will link out to other sources.

#G4MMIAMI

Just sat down at today’s Google for Media journalism conference at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach. I’m looking forward to learning more tools to do the job better heading into the Spring term that starts next week. Stay tuned!   

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Get Ready for Zero to Hero: 30 Days to a Better Blog

Jenn Sheppard:

I’m behind but I’m still going to start.

Originally posted on The Daily Post:

Tomorrow’s January 1st, and for a lot of us that means it’s resolution time. Whether you’ve resolved to start that blog you’ve been thinking about, plan to return to a tumbleweed-strewn site you started long ago, or are committed to giving your current blog a a little more love, we want to help you get there.

Get ready: starting January 2nd, it’s time for the Zero to Hero 30-Day Challenge.

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Me Time

I taught my last class of the semester on Thursday, which means I’m off from the college until next year when I’m scheduled to teach another six classes. There’s so much to do between now and then, both personally and professionally, that I doubt I’ll have time to be bored. It’s exciting, too, that Christmas is coming up. I also plan on planning for my classes before the week before the first day of class.

This weekend, I’m celebrating the end of the semester, even though I have until Tuesday to turn in grades. I booked a hotel a few minutes away from the race in Myakka City and plan on spending the weekend working (and not racing) the Carlton Ranch Hare Scrambles. I have a few editorial ideas for the upcoming FTR Magazine and plan on shooting the January cover then, too. 

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