Tag Archives: google trends

Social media values and possibilities changing the news

9 Apr

By: Gabriela Gonzalez

There is no question about it. Social media has revolutionized journalism. In some ways, some would argue it allows journalists to do or accomplish what they were already trying to accomplish, except in a more time efficient way that reaches more people.

Brenna Ehrlich said: “Journalists are, by nature, crafty folk who are wonderfully adept at stalking — I mean, finding sources and relevant information for various and sundry stories. Well, the advent of social media has made the process of reporting all the more nuanced, and has served as a vital channel for everything from finding leads to contacting sources to sharing and furthering one’s brand.”

Social media has made finding information about someone easier. Something that would have been awkward to ask may now be out in the open on Facebook. Ehrlich compares Facebook to a phonebook, except with photos and biographical information.

Social media has other advantages apart from facilitating information. It also makes it so that journalists are no longer asking questions because people are saying what they think.

In places where journalists are not allowed, people can use the Internet to broadcast their opinions or their oppression. Ehrlich mentioned Iran as an example.

Brian Stelter, a reporter for The New York Times, receives feedback on stories and polishes them through interaction with people on his Twitter and his blog. He also uses both to promote his work and create that ever desired “brand.”

The most crucial aspect of the social media tool is “engagement with the audience,” said Brian Dresher, manager of social media and digital partnerships at USA Today.

Burt Herman said: “Journalism will be more collaborative, embracing the fundamental social nature of the Internet. The story will be shaped by people involved in the news, curated by savvy editors from diverse sources and circulated back again to the audience. This is the new real-time news cycle.”

Social media has added the “personal” element into news. How “personal,” can be debated, but the point is that journalists and news organizations are taking advantage of these tools to connect with others.

“Get readers involved with your brand, engage them with their hearts and minds and the money will follow,” the CoverItLive editor said.

Dan Gillmor said there is a lot to be excited about.

“Why, given the crumbling of newspapers and the news industry in general, should we believe in abundance? Just look around,” he said. “The number of experiments taking place in new media is stunning and heartening. Entrepreneurs are moving swiftly to become pioneers in tomorrow’s news.”

With this breaking away from the monopoly of information, there is an issue with ensuring the credibility of the news media as it becomes more collaborative.

“We’ll have to instill throughout our society principles that add up to critical thinking and honorable behavior,” Gillmor said.

He said readers and participants need to be skeptical, critically think, and go out of their comfort zones. Journalists on the other hand, need to demand transparency, be fair, fact check and be independent. I find the first and last one very hard to do with this new collaborative journalism. How can you force people to be transparent and be independent when you rely on others a lot more heavily, which is what social media facilitates?

Esther Thorson and Michael R. Fancher found by using a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press study that the general audience and journalists have very different ideas about what the core values of the press should be.

If the values are different, it will be difficult for them to collaborate well together.

Matt Egan argues, “Social media is eroding core journalistic values. And whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, professional journalists are just as much to blame as flaming web trolls.”

He states that though journalists through social media are influencing a larger amount of people, they are also being influenced, and that may not be a good thing. He states this can be negative because the person influencing the news could be anyone. Anyone, means anyone.

Some are arguing that social media is destroying journalism completely; that journalists are trying to use what will end up being their demise. Robert Picard went as far as to write a piece in The Christian Science Monitor called “Why journalists deserve low pay.”

He began his piece by saying: “Wages are compensation for value creation. And journalists simply aren’t creating much value these days. Until they come to grips with that issue, no amount of blogging, Twittering, or micropayments is going to solve their failing business models.”

Whatever your opinion may be, one thing is certain: Social media cannot be ignored.

Richard Gordon, a professor at Northwestern University said, “Social media are changing in fundamental ways. Journalists, newsrooms and media companies ignore these changes at their peril.”


Google Trends and Google Correlate:

Google Trends and Google Correlate are tools that give you special insight as a journalists. They give you a peek at the mind of the reader and average person out there and what they care about or think about together.

Google Trends shows what term or reference people refer when they search, while Google Correlate helps you see what people associate with each other and search patterns.

These tools can help journalists not only figure out what to write about and what a “hot” topic is but also it serves as a tool to write SEO-friendly headlines that will be more likely to pop-up when the reader types a search into Google.

Check out my Google Trends [a] and Google Correlate [b] below.


Hispanic vs. Latino in the Google search.

[a] Latino is obviously a more popular term. One can see that it was especially used in Mexico and Spain. In the U.S., however, both are almost used interchangeable and at the same rate.


French Elections

[b]  It is neat that Google Correlate works with other languages. I tried it in French. I searched “Election Presidentielle” and it reflected the association and search pattern with “Sondages,” which means surveys or polls, which is something the French actively follow to see how the public opinion on certain candidates changes. Very cool.  🙂

Tools that help us find what to write about

15 Feb

By: Gabriela Gonzalez

Whether you are assigned to a beat, or you are a general reporter, finding story ideas can be complicated. At times, things that seem genius to you are lame to your editor. One of the two sides might not see the issue or the trend that fascinates the other.

Before social media and other technological advancements, journalists would use the simple techniques of speaking with people in person, searching bulletin boards and collecting flier announcements. We still resort to these techniques, but recently we have been given resources that allow us to be more lethargic as far as our movement is concerned. Today, there are easier and faster ways to find trends or story ideas that don’t involve driving around or looking strange at bulletin boards.

One idea is to look at information, statistics and numbers related to the area you are covering. You can find data online in archives and documents. A figure that doesn’t match or a dramatic change over time can be an indicator of something newsworthy. You can use the Consumer Price Index, the Producer Price Index, the Bureau of Labor and utility companies, said Al Tompkins, of the Poynter Institute. Checking people’s math, if it turns out to be faulty, can also reveal a news story.

The internet facilitates our search for stories. There are great tools that can spark ideas like: Google Trends, Google Alerts and the Google search engine while we are at it. These tools can help you monitor blogs and all other news outlets, allowing you to pick up on something that others may not know about.

Reddit is also a tool that is being used more frequently by journalists.

Reddit can also help journalists find sources by using the “Ask Me Anything” session, Ethan Klapper said.

David Cohn recommends the social bookmarking site Digg.com. This website allows users to rate the best articles of the day. In these articles, reporters can get story ideas from other stories which may have other potential leads or angles in them.

Mark Glaser, of MediaShift, said things are changing. There are things journalists did before, but now they do things differently with technology. He also mentions the way things will be in the future. Social technology will play a huge role in not only how reporters contact sources, but also how they obtain story ideas.

Tom Regan said, “Technology is quickly eliminating the usual reasons reporters find to avoid creating extra material for their new media partners.”

“Technology is changing journalism,” Regan said, “just as it always has.”

Despite journalism’s fast evolution, which is happening before our eyes before we can blink, he said people hate change and journalists hate it more than most others because they are so skeptical by nature. They embrace change with caution.

Technology is changing the way we do things in that somethings will be easier to obtain, therefore, more content will be expected. Expectations will rise as facility in newsgathering increases.

It just goes to show that there is much truth to the phrase, “To whom much is given, much is expected.”

Budget lines by: Gabriela Gonzalez

1. Child slavery and labor

This story would be about what the local community is doing about the child labor and other fair trade issues that affect child labor and human trafficking worldwide. Our consumption of certain products prolongs others’ suffering and enslavement.

My audience would be both the local and national community. The purpose would be to create awareness, and if no action is being taken, to effect change.

Sources I would want to contact would be: someone from the CNN Freedom Project, which has been breaking the news and reporting on the child slavery happening on the Ivory Coast; Cindy Laughren, president of the Human Rights Council of North Florida; someone from the Amnesty International chapter at UF and from Invisible Children. I would speak to leaders in the community who work and support migrant workers like the members of CHISPAS at UF and Harvest of Hope.

I would also want to consult records of field raids that have occurred in Alachua County and records of mistreatment of migrant worker children locally in the county and at the state level. Another source I would like to contact is the producer and those who played a role in filming the documentary “The Harvest,” about migrant workers who pick our food in the U.S. I would also contact the state governor and senators. I would also want to include background on farm worker struggle, including Cesar Chavez’s movement. I would also use U.S. Department of Labor’s documents and quotes that show that agriculture is one of the most dangerous things a child could be involved in because of the chemicals and pesticides.

Ways to illustrate this story would be to take photos of the migrant children, with the parental permission, who work in Alachua County farms. Also, something that could impact the reader and be used in an online format would be a video interview with the children. It would also be helpful to include a list or chart of places that have child labor problems in a ranking.

2. Cards

Electronic cards were a trending topic this week because of Valentine’s Day.

I think it would be interesting to study to what degree greeting card sales have been in decline ever since the electronic card emerged. People are sending more E-Cards, and I would like to explore whether this is having an effect on our culture and relationships.

My audience would be general. To anyone who celebrates a holiday or is in a relationship, I suppose.

The story was covered generally in 2011 around Christmas time, but I would want to focus on Valentine’s Day. My sources would include the National Greeting Card Association, a sales representative from Hallmark and American Greetings and a representative from 123greetings.com. I would also want to get anecdotes from people. I would want to find a survey from a random sample relating to how they communicate with loved ones. This story would be a small piece in a bigger picture on how love and affection are becoming more digitalized. It would not only focus on the decline of greetings cards but also of mail in general, which could tie into the financial strains being suffred by the U.S. Postal Service.

Looking at the trend with greeting cards and mail can open the door to further explore length and depth of relationships and dating trends. The change in relationships through technology could be further explored with commentary from psychologists and sociologists.

To illustrate this story it would be great to have a graph showing the decline of greeting cards. Also, a chart with the decline of mail perhaps in certain countries compared to other countries that have reduced internet access and resources. It would also be neat to have a sidebar listing the ways social media and other technology such as phones are used in romantic relationships today. A before and after contrast would help simplify for the reader the enormous changes society has undergone.