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Google is my friend

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This is the second part of my “First Year in Journalism” series of thoughts. Also see: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

If people want to keep crying about how Google is killing journalism they can go right ahead — I freaking love it. I use it every day. I used it just now. It’s great.

The idea that anyone would want to limit or — as I suspect some would prefer — eliminate Google altogether, frankly offends me a little bit. It takes the world’s greatest communication tool ever invented and makes it as efficient as possible.

Even back when I was a reporter and, quite honestly, not very Web proficient (wasn’t on social networks, didn’t use an RSS reader, etc.) the first place I’d go when I headed off to research a story was Google. “Oh, I’m supposed to cover this DECA event later in the week? What’s DECA? Oh, there it is. Thanks Google; I’m ready to roll.”

Nowadays, I’m all over it: My Reader is filled up with an increasingly unmanageable number of feeds (fine by me); anytime I have a thought for a new post, I right click and mark it in my Google Notebook; if there’s any word processing or spreadsheet-ing (???) to be done, it’s going in Google Docs because I can retrieve the files from anywhere in the world; and if I need directions somewhere, I prefer Google Maps.

This all makes me sound like a real nerd, sure, but it also makes me a more effective journalist. Example: We get a lot of stories over at pnwlocalnews.com that involve multiple addresses. I’m sure people could just look these places up themselves, but I’ll bet those people find our site a lot more useful when they don’t have to:

Point being, Google takes information and makes it simple, appealing and useful. And that’s a big part of journalism.

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