Stay on the ball with Google Alerts

15 Feb

This off-beat story about Jim Morrison proves just how useful Google Alerts can be to journalists. This story is interesting, well written and unique. It doesn’t simply reword news that’s already been reported. This story is original. The reporter was able to present readers with this gem because he took the initiative to stay informed. He used Google Alerts to stay a step ahead.

However, he didn’t limit himself to only news alerts. He set up Google Alerts to receive Web alerts. Some could say he simply lucked out because he had the right settings, and the story just fell into his lap. Even though I do not know this reporter personally, I would argue that his settings we probably on Web because he was thinking like an innovative 21st century reporter. I would like to think he recognized that to be ahead today you need to recognize all media outlets as sources for potential news. The Web is where original ideas for news stories arise, not from other news sites. If you only get news alerts, you will only be getting what people have already written on. Web alerts will provide you with inspiration to have enterprise and create your own original ideas for stories. This is when the best stories are born.

Today there is so much information generated online in just one hour. It can be impossible to keep up, let alone keep up with everything published on one specific topic. The best in the field are those that use every possible resource to their advantage. Google Alerts is really helpful when you are trying to be an expert on a certain topic or stay on top of your beat.

For example, I set up Google Alerts recently to notify me on the topic of Pinterest, an online pinboard website that allows you to “organize and share things you love.” I am writing a blog on the topic and looking to find out what others are saying about the relatively new website. Google Alerts provides expansive knowledge on the topic and has given me ideas for my blog. It brings up stories that answer basic questions, such as what is Pinterest? It provides reading on how to navigate the site, its immense popularity and even recommendations on what boards to follow.

After my own personal experience with using Google Alerts, it is clear that this could be a useful tool for anyone but especially journalists.

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