Wick Communications

Google’s media tools

In Online media on 31 Oct 2013 at 3:03 pm

Screen Shot 2013-10-18 at 4.55.35 PM

You already know that the search engine boys down at Google have tools that help you reach more people and present information in easy-to-understand ways. I bet you search for stuff on Google a dozen times a day and that you already use Google Maps and maybe Google+ and Google Docs and other fun, free stuff.

Well, it just got more interesting. Check out this newish one-stop shop for Google’s tools for journalists. (It was actually announced a couple weeks back.)

I don’t know that there is anything entirely new here, but Google sure has made it easier to understand. The tools are arranged under headings like, “Gather and Organize,” “Engage” and “Visualize.”

Now open one of those tabs. Think maps are swanky but a bit beyond you? Click “Visualize” and “Google Maps Engine Lite.” Take the tour. Does that look hard? You know you can do that.

It wasn’t always so. …

The map you see at the top of this post – the location of Wick newspapers — was made by the Wick digital team and plopped onto our website as a way for visitors to visualize our turf. Notice the overlay for states and the exact locations.

Our own Jeff Turman created that map using some rather sophisticated visualization tools that are not terribly intuitive. When I asked him how it was done he began by saying he used Google Maps API ver.3 and Google Fusion Tables, and, well, he pretty much lost me at “Google.” That proves nothing other than Jeff is much smarter than your humble blogger.

Thankfully, you don’t have to be as smart as Jeff is in order to use this stuff. Google has made it possible for you to fool your bosses into thinking you are the next Jeff Turman.

Does it take practice? Yes. But don’t you have to practice at anything that is really worth doing? And these are the skills that are necessary to practice journalism in the 21st century. Don’t shrink from them.

Take a look at the Google Media Tools site. Bookmark it. Fool around with it. Map your next party and practice sending that to friends. Make it second nature. You’ll be glad you did.


  1. Haha, I don’t know about “much smarter.” But thanks, Clay!

    By the way, Fusion Tables is a database application that lets you automate location geocoding. More Google awesome-ness without needing to be an engineer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: