Essential Journalism – Online research – Google Reader and Google News

The net makes it really easy to find and consume a wide range of media. I'm not just talking about pure news here. You can read a vast amount of cultural analysis/journalism, comment, opinion, reviews and more online.

But, obviously, you already know that. However, are you really taking advantage of all the information that's out there?

One of the key skills you need to develop as journalists (whatever medium you work in) is media literacy and news sense. Whatever your interest (music, sport, fashion), you need to read widely and really get a sense of what's going on in your field, what stories are being covered by who and why.

Here are a couple of tools that will help you broaden the range of media you consume:

RSS Feeds You can use special news reader programs to subscribe to news feeds. It's a good way of scanning a lot of news/information in one go. You can also use web-based services to do something similar. We'll try out Google Reader as an easy way into using feeds.

News Aggregators Google News is the best known of these sorts of sites. It automatically gathers news stories from sources all over the world and organises them according to various categories. News aggregators can give you access to a wide variety of perspectives on big news stories (but not always – we'll talk about this in class). There are various other new aggregators that build on what Google News does – for example, Silobreaker and Newser. NewsMap is an interesting attempt to visualise the flow of stories on Google News

We're going to do a couple of things today. 

I'd like you to set up Google Reader and subscribe to a few news feeds. Over the next week, I'd like you to use the service to track stories in a field/subject/area that interests you.

Also, I'd like you to personalise Google News.  Set it up to track news stories you're interested in and use it over the next week or so. Next week, we''ll talk about how useful you found each service. 



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