Case Study4: Google Alerts Essential for Journalists

14 Feb

The concept of Google Alerts is yet another tool that journalists can use to stay one step ahead of the competition on story ideas.  It allows  journalists to receive daily emails on key topics that interest them.  Not only can this provide information on a specific beat that a reporter covers, it can also bring about new ideas for stories.  This is especially useful when a journalist is in need of a good story but doesn’t have the time to go out and search for one.  For beat reporters, Google Alerts is essential for keeping up with the daily influx of information that appears online.

Gary Fineout of McClatchy Newspapers provides a great example of the usefulness of Google Alerts with an article he wrote on Jim Morrison back in 2007.  Through the use of Google Alerts, Fineout  discovered that the governor at that time, Charlie Crist, had been asked to pardon a 1969 conviction of Morrison, in which  the rock-star served six months in jail for indecent exposure during a concert performance in Miami.  Morrison appealed the conviction, but died in Paris in 1971 before his appeal could be heard.  Fineout was alerted to this story because he had his Google Alert set to web as well as news on Charlie Crist.  This gave Fineout an advantage over his fellow reporters and the opportunity to write this interesting story.

Google Alerts was developed by a man named Gideon Greenspan, but has no affiliation with Google other than using its web services to perform the searches.  Greenspan is a long-time Macintosh developer and has a PhD in computer science. 

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