My thoughts on Google News and Google Reader

Reader

I found Google Reader to be a great tool for sourcing information and keeping on top of what’s happening in the world. I really like the way you can pick and choose what you want to include. This site makes keeping up with my fav online content quick and easy. However it can sometimes be overwhelming to be faced with thousands of unread items.

That aside, I really liked using Reader instead of visiting loads of different websites. Recently I worked on a project about the use of social networks in the recent Arab uprising – I added a load of live-blogs and news agencies to my Google Reader and I was able to access specific information quickly and efficiently.

News

To be honest I much prefer using Google News than Google Reader. The layout is much neater and less daunting. I really like the way you can prioritise what kind of news you get at the top of the page (and I love that it makes you see the serious stuff first).

Since I started using Google News I don’t that I’m missing anything. The site makes viewing current events manageable and fast. You can browse the headlines and get up to date on the days happenings in a matter of seconds.

It’s great that you can be really specific about what you want to see. I have Cardiff as one of my first entries as it is my home city. All I have to do is browse that little section and I can get all the news I want from my home town.

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Top 10 News Websites

1. BBC News Online – this has to come first, I don’t know about anyone else but the first place I always go if I need to check something out or start research for a piece tends to be the BBC. And, the biggest bonus, NO ADS!!

2. Guardian Online – for readers of the print version of the guardian they will probably know the site well. CIF (comment is free) is a particularly good section of the site. Check it out! The best thing about the guardian online is that it wills you to get involved. They use images really well and the site is clean cut, it is very easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.

3. Reuters – a must for a budding journalist like me. It is not the most pleasing to the eye but you get the bare essentials of the story quickly and there is plenty of breaking news to be found.

4. New York Times Online – looks like an old-fashioned broadsheet, which I love but it isn’t for everyone. The content is what draws me to the NYT, they seem to cover stories in great detail.

5. Google News – the great thing about google news is that you can arrange the page to feature things that you are interested in close to the top of the page. And, because its google you can be quite sure that you won’t miss out on anything!

6. Huffington Post – the layout looks great! This site really encourages the reader to get involved and comment, review, post and tweet. I think that is what makes it great, you can use any medium you like to alert your friends to something that interested you, and it takes like 2 seconds!

7. Wired – I’m not sure if this counts but Wired is a great technology and news magazine. There are always really interesting articles available, even for total non-geeks like me.

8. The Onion – This site takes a satirical look at the world today. You are sure to find something on here to make you LOL!

9. SlateThis is basically an online news magazine. It takes an interesting and often slightly different look at the news of the day. The layout is really easy to use and I love the priorities that slate have, as far as headlines are concerned.

10. TMZ – And, because deep down none of us can resist celebrity gossip and news. After all if you are going to look at celebrity news you may as well look at the best site ever for celeb gossip. This site is great, and has previously been the source for some of the biggest celeb stories ever!!

RSS, google reader, delicious and other things that used to make no sense to me….

I am by no means a computer geek. I have trouble understanding how to use the simplest of software.

However, over the past few weeks I have been trying hard to follow in my Multimedia journalism class and figure out how to use all this online material to help me become a better journalist.

‘Delicious’ is a great site. You can post links that interest you. You can follow along with certain genres of post by subscribing to a tag. You can follow people who post interesting links. My site doesn’t have many bookmarks yet but check it out if you like….

Jim has taught us all about ‘google reader’ now. It’s basically a way of collecting all the news and posts that interest you in one place. It works a bit like an email account, you just log on and then browse the net finding RSS feeds that you think will be useful to you. These feeds then appear (updated automatically) in your ‘reader’.

And, for those of you (like me last week) who have no idea what RSS feeds are, I will explain it as I understand it (in the context of google reader). Sorry if I am totally wrong.

That little orange symbol on the right is the symbol for RSS feeds. When you click on that (they are on most websites) you will go through to a simplified version of the page you were on before. You can then copy the URL into your new google reader account and that feed will then always feature when you log in.