Google is now an essential part of research in journalism. 

By Mfundo Knowledge Mthembu

In less than 20 years, Internet search engine Google has established itself as an information

powerhouse. Journalists at the ‘Beyond Google: Doing Better Searches’ discussions at GIJC17 were exposed to advanced searching techniques and tools for regular Google users.

The discussion was facilitated by American journalist and research librarian, Margot Williams, together with Giannina Segnini, director of the Master of Science Data Journalism Program at Columbia Journalism School. According to Segnini, it is critical to ask “what do you want, where can I get it and what does it look like”, before typing anything into Google.

Segnini made reference to a couple of helpful Google operators (search parameters) that can be used for data and database collection, such as Filetype which limits the search results to certain types of files.

“Google only indexes 4% to 5% of the Internet content. Learn how to maximise what Google offers  use it as a bridge to access the deep web, where the information you need is stored,” said Segnini.

She added that “research and fact-checking are both crucial stages in investigative journalism projects.”

The GIJC17 ends on November 19.