How can Google tools enhance your reporting?
Amara Aguilar, a journalism professor at the University of Southern California, addressed this topic during her two-hour training session. She delved into the specific features of Google tools, covering a range of topics from the fundamentals of Search to Trends and Maps.
Aguilar began her session with an introduction to the Google News Initiatives program, which she has been actively involved in for several years. She then proceeded to explain various tips and tricks for online searching included in the program, including the use of connecting dashes and keywords to enhance the precision of searches.
Aguilar went on to provide further insights into how to effectively and professionally utilize Google Trends. She explained that users can stay updated on daily trends by visiting the website and clicking on the “Daily search trends” button under the “Trending Now” tab. For a more specific look at the latest trends, users can access “Realtime search trends,” which rank trending topics from just three to five minutes ago.
Aguilar further dived into the Google Maps feature and demonstrated the map drawing feature. She showed that Google Maps users can independently draw out their own maps with self-designed walking routes.
After discussing various other tools, like Google Translate and Google Forms, Aguilar introduced several other tools that are widely used by journalists. These tools, such as Google Lens, Invid, Wevirify, and Deepware, are specifically designed to identify deep fakes or AI-generated photos and distinguish them from authentic ones.
Melanie Burney, a journalist from The Philadelphia Inquirer, described the session as “an excellent workshop.”
“This [hands-on training session] was very helpful because it got me thinking in new ways and new directions. And, if you’re going to remain in this business. You’ve got to stay up to date with the technology and the cutting edge. And this made me realize how much I need to learn.” said Burney.
“One thing that’s really important about this program is that it empowers people to elevate their storytelling, it gives them a lot of options that are very accessible and free,” Aguilar told SPJ News.
“It was really amazing to see so many people here engaged and with a lot of great ideas they’re going to take back to their newsroom.”
Approximately 70 attendees participated in the meeting.