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How to use Google tools as a journalist

© nuj

29 February 2016

There were kiwi smoothies, on-trend snacks of popcorn and macaroons and an array of exotic berry juices.

For the freelances who entered Google’s modish offices at St Giles, London, it was quite an experience and probably the best breakfast they had ever had on the NUJ.

More than100 members had taken up an offer, negotiated by freelance member Hina Pandya, of a free session as part of the NUJ's Union Learning Fund project, with the Google News Lab to look at how journalists can make use of Google tools.

The event was led by the Lab’s Matt Cooke, a former BBC News journalist. He took the group through a range of ways to use the search engine, Google trends, public data and the practical tips and tricks to ferret out information. There was an introduction to video and You Tube and how to embed maps and scenes from Street View and Google Earth into reports.

He showed how easy data searches can identify trends and be turned into stories. He also demonstrated one of the newer gadgets used by journalists to create immersive 360 images which can be used to make the viewer feel they are right in the middle of the story – say, for example, a refugee camp.

At a Q&A session, the most popular query was about permissions and copyright. “That’s funny,” he said. “When I give this talk to news organisations nobody asks about this.”

Sally Smith, who works in book publishing, said: “I can’t wait to get home and have a play with the tools and see how I can get them to work for me.” Jenny Sims said: “I can definitely see how I could use the information to get better statistics on health stories, for example cancer rates in Wales.”

If you login as a member, you can view videos of the event's session

Tags: , google, training, freelance, google news lab, ulf