Google tools to use in the newsroom

Google Calendars

Things to schedule:

  • Budget meetings
  • Deadlines
  • Must-cover events
  • Special editions

Why it's useful:

  • Can be shared with everyone on staff
  • Collaborative - everyone can contribute
  • Embeddable

Google Documents

What to use it for?

  • Stories: If the newsroom server goes down, it's good to have all your stories saved somewhere remotely (or, if a natural disaster forces you out of the newsroom, your resources are still available)
  • Organization: You can easily filter stories by section, and they're color coordinated
  • Collaboration: Editors and reporters can see who's working on which document. You can also see "history of revisions" to see who changed what
  • Contact lists: Use Google Spreadsheet documents to keep a cumulative list of all your key contacts.
  • Data collection: Keep information for in-depth research (council member salaries, history timelines, etc.) in spreadsheets that can be accessed anywhere

Google News Archives

What is it?

  • Online database of news archives dating back 200 years (obviously, though, the collection of articles isn't complete yet)
  • Small cost: Some publications require a small fee of $2.95 to access an archived article. They do, however provide a pretty thorough preview.

Why use it?

  • While microfiche is free and basically the same thing, when working on a tight deadline for a story, sometimes the few extra dollars is worth the time it will save you to dig through library archives
  • Quick, efficient way to do research on a topic in a hurry

Google Alerts

As Ronald Wong reminded me in his comment (how could I forget?) Google Alerts are one of the best tools for editors and reporters (especially beat writers). Google alerts show you news as it breaks and give you the potential for great story ideas.

What is it?

  • Google e-mails you links to anything on the Web that pops up with your keyword in it
  • E-mails can be sent weekly, daily or as-it-happens
  • Examples of a few of my Google alerts: - Cal Poly (unfortunately I get Pomona results galore) - Mustang Daily - Lauren Rabaino (not vain! You should know what's being said about you on the web) - Warren Baker (Our university president) - Joss Whedon (that's just for fun)
  • Other ideas to consider: - Name of your sports conference (if you're a sports editor/sports beat reporter) - Specific clubs/groups on campus - Faculty associations (for the CSU it's the California Faculty Assoc.)

Anything I missed? Let me know and I'll add it to the list...