Read & Respond week 10: Data Tools

This week’s readings will be more skills-focused than usual. We’ve been tinkering with Google tools throughout the semester, but now I want you to actual undergo some training of your own. The Google News Initiative provides targeted packages of (short) training modules for a variety of its tools. You’re going to head to its training center and complete at least three of its training modules.

Note: I’m asking you to complete modules, not entire courses! For example, the “Fundamentals” course involves 13 lessons and takes about 111 minutes – that’s not what I’m asking you to do! Instead, you might select the five-minute “Google Alerts” lesson from within Fundamentals as one of your three.

Once complete, you’ll write up a comment that lists the three modules you completed and what you got out of the lesson. For the main part of your comment, tell us some specific ways you could apply the skills from each to your personal or group blog (or any journalism and mass communication project). Details matter, so spell this out!

Remember, your responses are due by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, as a comment to this post.

Personal Post

You’ve already received this week’s assignment, but just as a reminder, your post needs to involve location in some meaningful way, and it must include a Google map you’ve designed (full details here and our mapping how-to guide here). All the usual requirements apply:
  • At least three links (more is better) to meaningful content. This means news stories, relevant posts, and substantive material, NOT to homepages (e.g., or general sites (e.g.,
  • At least three content links: Images, video, social media posts, etc.

You’ll put this one up on Thursday, October 24 any time between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

17 Responses to Read & Respond week 10: Data Tools

  1. The first tool I took a look at was “Google Alerts: Stay in the know” that was about developing stories from your inbox. It talked about setting up alerts on your phone with the search terms that you want to know about just by selecting your sources and then using the preferred automatic option that gives you multiples sources. With applying this tool into either of my blogs ( Addiction and Body Image ), it could create more current news content for me to write about at my fingertips. Rather than spending time searching for relevant news that happened that day or week in each field, the work is done for me and I can promptly write about it as soon as possible so I could have the most current, and possibly even one of the first words on whatever the news is.

    I also looked into the “Advanced Search: Researching with precision” tool which helps you fine tune what you are looking for in your searches. It can help you get the most out of your search, and with being a journalist, we need to be able to search and gather as much information as we can as fast as we can. It helps you to narrow and refine your searches- by filtering out the words or phrases that are not useful for your search topic. It introduces the idea of adding modifiers and to even double up on them to make it even more relevant. With advanced search in my research, I do not have to spend time sifting through irrelevant stories, articles, or information on my topics- but can focus on what to write around these solid sources of news and other articles. I know for me, I spend quite a lot of time trying to find various sources of different angles that offer something prominent to my blog, but with advanced search, I can find those links without all the hassle and time wasting by just cutting out the few extra words like taking “problems with body image” to simply “body image”.

    The last lesson I looked at was “Google trends: see what’s trending across google” which explained how trends works and the best way to utilize it. It helps to show you what people are following or not following at that very moment. It shows it on the homepage what is the top trending so can provide you with something immediately to write about. It is kind of like the excersize we do in class with the current news going on right now in our world- while we just throw things out there to put up on the board- it is what is relevant to our class or little community. We could spin our topics onto any of the current news usually up on the board, and can do the same thing with one of the top news of google trends. With my topics of addiction and body dysmorphia, it would be helpful to see what is the most current news at the moment and what people care about because both of those topics are very heart- oriented topics rather than head. I can also use trends to compare old trends on body dysmorphia and addiction to how the conversation racks up today to see where we have come on the conversations of both.

  2. First lesson I did was the “Google Alerts: Stay in the know.” It is a way to help you focus on things that matter. You use a certain key word that Google will then use to alert you when something new comes up about the topic you care about. You can even make sure it is from a specific source (or use all), what time you want to be alerted, and so on. With my group blog post, I can use this tool to block out any unnecessary information and make it easier to find stories, news, facts and/or statistics about the topic of my blog. It would take less time to search and find timely news about my topic.

    The second lesson I took was the “Google Trends: Understanding the data.” I know we did a lecture about this but it is nice to have a little refresher. Anyway, it is a way to see how many searches have been done over a certain period of time. For my group blog, I can use this tool to find out if my topic has become more relevant and when. I can then use that data to back up any argument or claim I am making to prove a point that I would have at the time.

    “Permissions: Source google data” was the last lesson. It is a way to show you how to accurately use and cite Google. The lesson says, “It highlights common use cases, basic trademark guidelines and gives instructions on using our logos, images, maps, and graphics across all media.” For my group blog, I would definitely consider more of what I am using to tell my story, especially if Googles maps and such are protected by law. I would also make sure to cite their information correctly.

  3. emmyrinehart says:

    The first lesson I looked at was Google News Archive. It teaches how you can use the archive feature to find articles from 2003 to the present, and how you can use the to find scanned versions of newspapers from before 2003 on a given topic. I could definitely use this feature if I wanted to talk about early advances in technology from before 2003. It would be cool to have a source that was a scanned, old newspaper to support my stories.

    Next I looked at the Researching With Precision lesson. It talks about using modifiers to enhance search results, like using “site:” to only find results from a given site, like YouTube. You can also use “filetype:” to limit results to excel docs or pdfs, and these can all be used in conjunction with each other to get even better results. If you can’t remember these, you can use the advanced search option. When I wrote for Odyssey, I always used the advanced search option when I needed pictures I could use for my articles. I would choose the “free to use, share or modify, even commercially”. This could be a useful tool for our blog posts as well. I could also use Advanced Search or modifiers to find videos from YouTube that help support my topics as well and avoid the time consuming task of weeding through other videos to do so.

    Lastly, I took the Search Verification course. It talked about the use of quotation marks in search queries. This is an extremely useful tool, because the lesson stated that it is very helpful if you’re looking for social media content to search for something in quotes that someone might have said about the event, not what it is. So if I wanted to find tweet on impeachment, I would search, “Trump should be impeached”, not Trump impeachment. I could use this in my articles when I need tweets on a given tech subject, and it would make things a lot easier because when I use my own account to look for tweets about subjects, they’re being filtered by who and what I follow and what types of content I normally interact with, which probably isn’t giving me the best tweets possible for what I’m looking for.

  4. First, I did the Google Trends module. This is a great tool for journalists that should be used more often than it is. Through Google Trends, you can practically get an updated newsletter delivered to your inbox about your chosen topic. This is helpful because it will provide you with all the latest information on the topic instead of having to seek it out on your own and likely missing things. I can use this tool moving forward in my group blog project by signing up for notifications on topics that I plan to discuss such as WV Tourism, WV economics, and so on. Updates that I get on these topics may give me ideas for new stories, or provide me with timely examples that I can use to discuss one of the subjects. I am looking forward to using this tool to help me stay updated.

    Second, I did the Google Street View module. When I was younger, my friends and I always used street view to look up our own houses, but I never thought of the journalistic component of street view until now. By using street view to help verify things for my future posts, I can create more information rich posts. For example, if I am talking about the new WV hunting land real estate properties, I could use street view to see what is near these properties and discuss why it may or may not create problems in the community. Street view allows you to have a detailed sense of the area without actually being on the premises which can be very helpful.

    Lastly, I did the Advanced Search module. This is a tool that I have never used and am fascinated to know is available to me. It can be very frustrating to search for something and find a million things that you do not want but not the one thing you do want. I never knew that there was another step I could take to refine my search other than time periods. I want to write a future post about the new hunting real estate in WV, but I could not find much information about it except one news article, and search results just kept showing me land that I could rent/buy when I really wanted more information about the impacts of the company and conversation about the hunting real estate. With this advanced search, I will now likely be able to weed out all of the search results that I don’t want and find the information that I was having trouble finding the first time.

  5. The first module I did was the Data Source: Global Forest Watch under the Environmental Journalism folder. This tool was very interesting to me because it showed all the forest around the world and where forests have been destroyed. It also provides data about why they were destroyed or who did it. Could it be a fire? A pipeline? This shows it. I think this tool would be helpful with the group project to show the forest in West Virginia. The whole state is covered by forest basically this data tool would be useful.

    The second module I did was the Reverse Image Search: Verifying Photos under Fundamentals. I chose this one because we just did a lesson on photos in the class, so I thought it would be interesting to learn more. The lesson basically showed what we did in class, but more in-depth and step-by-step. I also figured out that you can use reverse image search to find pictures similar to the picture you searched originally. This will continually be useful in future blogs because now I have a solid understanding on how to use it effectively.

    The third module I did was the Project Shield: Defend Against Digital Censorship under the Safety and Security folder. This one specifically caught my eye because censorship is a big ordeal. DDoS attacks can happen against anyone and it is important to know how to try and avoid this. I learned that Project Shield uses google technology to protect sites. I never have heard of Project Shield but I am glad I did because it is important information and stuff stays to who owns it especially on all of our blogs.

  6. The first module I explored was on the Google Data GIF Maker. This feature is a cool way to represent data (from Google Trends, for example) in the form of a clean, simplistic GIF. Essentially, you find the data points you want to compare and enter their values manually into the GIF Maker. The result is a moving visual in the form of a racetrack, a pie chart, or something else. I could see this being useful in visualizing business trends in the state for the group blog. Also much of the articles on my personal blog involve percentages and other statistics that could use some livening-up from the GIF Maker.

    Secondly, I completed the module on the Google Public Data Explorer. This tools allows one to take a deep dive into datasets and metrics from organizations like World Bank and Eurostat, for example. After selecting the parameters by which the data can be compared, the tool creates a graph to visualize the data. This feature would be useful when looking at things like poverty across populations or regions in WV; as well, I could see this being a good resource for data on mental health issues for the personal blog.

    Lastly, I checked out the lesson on the Google Crisis Map. This feature would have come in handy for my most recent article on the importance mental health awareness before and after natural disasters by showing the disaster preparedness of Nepal before and after the massive earthquake in April 2015, but it’s too late for that. The tool allows one to select a specific crisis or series of crises (i.e. wildfires in California) and highlight different things like shelters, crisis-prone areas, and much more. I’m not sure how I would incorporate it into the group blog, but I’m going to keep it in mind.

  7. The first lesson I looked at was Google My Maps: Show where stories happen. This lesson was meant to introduce new users (like myself) to using google maps in my writing as well as the benefits that could come from it. I know from our lesson in class that maps can be a great way to establish where stories happen as well as provide a visual component to a piece. I think this lesson was really helpful because it was so easy to follow. Despite being a young college student, I am hopelessly horrible with technology. So when we were told in class that we would have to figure out how to incorporate maps into our blogs, I went into a full blown panic mode. This lesson and its easy to follow step by step instructions (as well as the pictures of what I should be seeing as I attempt this) made it so easy for me to understand and implement what I have learned into my writing. My personal blog posts recently have dealt with the conflicts going on between the NBA and China, and these maps could be used to help demonstrate where the stores are that are discontinuing certain products, as well as where the protests are taking place!

    The second lesson I looked at was Google Trends, where we can see whats trending across Google Search, Google News and YouTube. I think that this can be a huge learning opportunity because all three of those sources are places where the information from my posts come from. The lesson also came with step by step instructions on accessing information as well as graphics for those who learn better visually (like myself), and dove into the concepts of narrowing search results based on geographics and timing. This can go hand in hand with the Google Map lesson, because I can incorporate both of those concepts into my blog posts without them contradicting each other. I think that formulating a good post is incorporating different types of media in order to accomplish a common goal of relaying information accurately.

    The third lesson I looked at was Permissions: Source google data. This lesson was a way for Google to show users how to accurately relay and cite information from Google. The lesson description says that it highlights common use cases as well as “basic trademark guidelines and gives instructions on using our logos, images, maps, and graphics across all media.” I think that the concept of this is brilliant because people (including myself before this class) were naive in thinking that just because information found on google is for the public, it means that we have the rights to include or showcase other peoples work as our own, whether that be accidentally or with malice. I think that this lesson helped me further understand the rules of what I can use and how I can use it. I think that for my future posts, I will need to take more consideration into what I am using to tell my story, specifically making sure my fellow group members and I follow legal guidelines on what we can and cannot use, and how to cite correctly.

  8. The first lesson I took was, “Reverse Image Search: Verifying Images.” This was a very useful tool to learn to verify photos like the one we saw with the shark on the highway. For the lesson, you were supposed to look up a photo (any photo) using the google search image tool. Through that, you could see with the “time” tool, when and where this image was published. This is a very useful tool because there are so many pictures out there that people use for multiple things that it’s hard to verify if that photo is really with the subject at hand. This could be an important tool with my blog.

    The second lesson I took was, “Google Data GIF Maker.” This lesson taught you how to make a GIF that could help present data in a more exciting or interesting way. This could be useful because it can help present stats and other data interestingly, but informatively.

    The third lesson I took was, “Visualizing Data: Introduction to Tilegrams.” This lesson was about creating tilegrams. This could be a fun and useful way to present data. The example that was on the lesson was a map of the United States using tile grams. With my blog on the ICE, I could use this tool to show the highest number of immigrants in each region or state. This could be a cool way to show this data that might not be that interesting to the regular reader.

  9. The first lesson I took was the Google News Archive: Access The Past. This lesson was all about how to access news articles and even scanned newspapers. You can go into the archive on google to find articles dating back to 2003 or scanned newspapers from 1995 and before. I can use this tool for my personal blog to find archived and old articles about animal abuse.

    The second lesson I took was the Advanced Search: Researching with Precision. This lesson was all about adding modifiers to your searches to weed out the articles or information that is not useful or even ones that have nothing to do with what you searched. The lesson suggested modifiers such as the minus sign and to search for certain file types, or even both. This is a very useful tool for me to use because it is very hard to weed out all of the animal abuse articles I have already read and gone over vs the news ones that pop up.

    The third lesson I took was Google Scholar. This lesson was all about how to access scholarly works such as theses, court cases, university websites, etc. These works are from educated people on the subject that have a passion or just a care for the subject. This could really help me for my personal blog because animal abuse cases are very frequent and I could use all of the professional opinions and also facts I could use on this subject.

  10. I first tried the Global Forest Watch tool, which was very interesting, especially as someone who is very invested in environmental issues. It gave you a visual map of deforestation over time around the globe. There were also tools that allowed you to change the map to show biodiversity, climate change, and specific land usage. This would be a great map to show the industry in the country and state, and the potential harmful effects that result.

    Next I did the Election Databot lesson. This lesson allowed you to keep up with every aspect of multiple political elections. There are multiple sections of the tool, for overall news on candidates, information on campaign finances, as well as data from polls. This would be great for anyone covering politics or campaign lobbying from a local or national standpoint.

    Lastly I did the Google Opinion Rewards lesson. This one was super interesting because it showed an effective way to monetize your personal website. Users must take surveys to access exclusive website content, and as a result you make a profit while gathering data. This would be great for anyone needing to do a poll.

  11. The first Google News Initiative tool I looked at was called “Public Data Explorer: Access a world of data.” I chose this particular tool because I felt like with my group blog topic of business, there can be stories that deal with a lot of data. According to Google, this tool helps you “find, interpret and share data to show how our world is changing.” This is done by compiling data sets from across the web and creating the set into any type of visualization you might want such as: line graphs, bar graphs, maps and bubbles. You can even animate the bar, map and bubble choices to show changes in trends over time. I would really like to utilize this tool for my story about Tudor’s Biscuit World to show the number of Tudor’s across the state of West Virginia and country (since it’s in Florida now) across time. I think that would be a good informational graphic I could include.

    The next tool I took a look at was called “Google Alerts: Stay in the know.” As a busy college student, sometimes it can be hard to keep up with the news if you are not actively seeking it out. I try to stay as up to date with current news as possible, but sometimes I feel like I’m living under a rock. Google Alerts gives you the opportunity to get notifications sent to your devices about particular search terms you might be interested in finding out current information about. For example, I could’ve used this tool at the beginning of the semester and used “sororities” as a search term I want alerts about to help me with my personal blog. “Business in West Virginia” might be a good search term for me to use to get current information about the business environment that I can use for the group blog posts.

    Finally, I looked at the tool called “Google Data GIF Maker.” I’m a big fan of using GIFs in my blog posts because I think they add a little something extra and give a post the type of eye catching graphic it needs to be interesting. While using pre-made GIFs is fine, using actual GIFs that are based on data and created for your specific story is even better. With this tool, you can make up to five different GIFs at a time to show interest on two competing topics. It incorporates tools from Google Trends in order to make these GIFs, which is nice because we learned how to use this in class. I think that I will be able to use this tool for my story about CBD dispensaries in West Virginia and compare that to legalization of marijuana in West Virginia and see if there’s a trend between the two subjects.

  12. jbnucci says:

    The first lesson I took was the “Google Translate: translations on-the-go.” This is very useful because there are billions of people in the world and not all of us communicate effectively with each other. Google translation make it easier for people trying to read or make sense of what they’re seeing if in different country. In the lesson provided, it’s basically a review of what you learned about the app. One way I could apply this to journalism is by interviewing people from different countries and using it to translate to English and report on situations without having to hire a human translator.

    The second lesson I took was the “Google reverse image search: verifying photos.” This was very useful because people can and often do manipulate photos for whatever reason but with reverse image searching, it becomes easier to find of the origins of that image. This will be useful for my blogs because it potentially helps prevent against possible lawsuits and help me become a better journalist.

    The third lesson it took was Google Trends module. This was very useful because I can get updated newsletters based on my blog topic. My blog topic is based on marijuana legalization and Google trends can help me by providing the latest information instead of trying to seek out the information and news topics on my own without missing anything. This will also help with my group project by getting notifications and staying up to date on our groups topic about addiction in Morgantown vs other college campuses.

  13. hannahhebel says:

    The first module I completed was Google Earth: Pinpointing Eyewitness Locations. With the prominence of social media, images on the scene of an event, crime or something otherwise newsworthy are constantly circulating. This module helped to gather more in-depth information from these images and verify their location. After examining landmarks in the photo, you search for the location on google earth. Once you have pinpointed the location, you can examine the image data to see the author, caption, by line and color encoding. This was something interesting that I wouldn’t have thought to use otherwise. A lot of bloggers and journalists nowadays heavily rely on images captured from those on the scene in an age where anyone can be a documentary photographer with their smartphone. However, it is still important to verify the location. It also helps to be able to discuss what is happening nearby and how it might be impacted by whatever newsworthy activity is occurring in the photograph.

    The second module I reviewed was on Google Alerts. This always you to add on search terms that would receive email notifications on. It also allows for you to customize how often you would receive an alert, what kind of content and the type of website the searches would cover. This would be increasingly useful for bloggers who follow a particular beat. For example, this semester I have followed foster care in Appalachia for my personal posts. It would have been really nice to have an alert every couple of days to help me track what new developments were taking place within my topic.

    Lastly, I explored the module on the Google Data Gif Maker. In this lesson, it showed me how to incorporate and create my own gifs for my content. Many people today consume their news in a much more casual way, usually taking place over their smartphone, which means gifs are a good way to engage with your readers. In this module, you use two data points from google trends. From here you create a simple gif that shows the data to readers in a more interesting way, rather than just screenshotting a chart. This will be useful for one of my upcoming group blog posts, as I hope to track a trend in local food consumption across WV.

  14. The first lesson I completed was the lesson titled “Scraping Data.” This lesson was pretty easy for me to learn how to complete. First, you had to find your data table that you were wanting to insert into the Google Sheet and then copy the address. Next, you added “importHTML” into one of the boxes making sure not to forget to add “table” and the number “1.” One way I could incorporate this into my blog is scraping data from the Trump 2020 presidential campaign donors.

    The second lesson I completed was “Advertising: Intro to advertising for newsrooms.” I learned that when advertisers pay publications for the engagements brought about by advertising on that publication also known as “pay-per-click.” I don’t think I could monetize my website because I’m still using the free WordPress domain, but it’s something useful knowledge to have handy.

    The last lesson I finished was “Permissions: Source Google Data.” This was something that I found beneficial because, with the upcoming map personal post to our blog, this lesson showed me how to properly attribute credit to Google for using their maps in my posts.

  15. vannabellejo says:

    This week I ended up looking at several YouTube lessons. While this may seem like a bad idea as we are focused on blogs not vlogs and use little to know video content, I wanted a better idea on how to engage audiances and how to find story ideas.

    I completed the following traingings: 1. Using YouTube to Source Content. 2. YouTube Creator Academy. 3. (Which I found through YouTube Creator Academy) Build Your Community

    The following is the take away I recieved collectively after watching the three lessons.

    “There’s an audiance desperate to hear what you have to say.” -Camille Johnson (offbeat look)

    This quote really made me think about the fact that this blog has the potencial to be impactful past the classroom. While we are focused on learning and growing our skills, we never know how our insights can be taken and applied to others. Due to this, it could be smart for us to use analytics to better understand who is reading our content and then shaping our blog to meet them where they are.

    However, while watching these I really started to apply the lessons to my work life. I work as the Crew Coordinator for a comic convention agency (hence I talk about convenitons a lot), but I really think video based ocmmunications or even a blog would be helpful in communications to crew across the convention portfolio. It’s a great way to get a diverse amount of imformation out to a specific target audiance by being authentic, being consistant, and being relative.

  16. The first lesson I completed was Google Alerts: Stay in the know. The module helped explain how much easier Google can make following a news topic. Say one was blogging about a controversy surrounding a local governor, instead of constantly googling the controversy and looking for new updates, they could set a Google alert to email them whenever something new is happening. In return, this makes blogging a lot easier for many journalists as they don’t have to constantly refresh all their news sources.

    Next, I looked at Google Trends: Understanding the data. This tool is very useful for bloggers because it helps them see how relevant the topic they are looking to write about, currently is. Journalists can see how popular the topic is recently, by how often it has been searched. It is also useful for finding other relevant related topics by looking at the related searches that people look up as well. Bloggers can find additional related information that they should include in their blog post by looking at these related searches.

    Lastly, Data Studio: Make interactive data visualizations teaches you how to make visual data visualizations of whatever it is your blog is about. This is very beneficial for bloggers because it helps your data come across a lot neater. Instead of writing out every little bit of data you have, you can show it across a chart that the reader will be able to interact with and understand exactly what it is the blogger is writing about.

  17. The first one I took a look at was “Google Scholar, access court cases, academic cases and sources” a site that allows for the user to access all forms of literature. From books to articles, they have plenty of material to read and help improve some writing styles as well. Google Scholar also allows the reader to engage in court opinions from different publishers. This site can be applied to either my group or personal blog by giving access to documents and readings that aren’t very easy to dig up. Especially if one of the writers pieces is based on a situation that happened in the court room. Once searching a topic,Google Scholar will give you the most relevant form of literature about the topic.

    The next one was “Google Trends, Understanding the data” a site that allows the user to discover how many times a topic has been searched up over the past years. It provides charts and graphs to help the reader better understand, and it is a very easy site to operate. The searched topic provides useful information that can help you uncover a story a few years back by seeing the spike in search during that period of time. This source can be both beneficial to personal and group blogs as well. I think more of a group blog user may find the site to be more beneficial because it allows each member to have their own take on the different spikes in search and topic.

    Google Translate is one that I have never stopped using throughout . y whole life and I don’t think i ever will stop using it. A useful source that links languages together to help you understand something you are unfamiliar with. This will be a source that will never die out and always remain popular because it will be useful till the end of time. When it comes to using it to help a personal or group blog, I don’t see it making much of a difference. Besides maybe being able to translate some words, you don’t usually have that problem of the reader not being able to relate or understand to a word. The only time I recall using this would be to translate greek words.

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