Tips for finding news

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Tips for finding news

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:27 pm

Use phrase searches where they are supported, for example in popular search engines.  Put quotation marks around the phrase to search for the exact phrase, rather than combinations of separate words.  If you specify separate words a search engine may not return results with all of the words present, but only a "best match" which depends on their proprietary algorithms.  

What you are looking for, expressed in a few words like "Greece financial crisis" might find a lot of articles but without any particular focus, so try to put yourself in the place of someone writing an article and imagine how they would write about something as a focused article.  Perhaps there are articles about the development of the financial crisis, how it relates to the Euro, and the arguments about bail-outs, so there are a few more words to add and searching on "Greeks euro bail financial crisis" (not in quotes) will find more focused results, such as:

The real euro crisis is just starting

[ Note: the above was first written in 2013 and clearly never gets old... searching now gets you this:
John Chatfeild-Roberts: Here we go again on Greece

...plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose...
]

You can go further with this by thinking of a specific phrase that someone might write.  There might not be an article with such a phrase, but if you keep trying you might be able to find something very interesting and relevant to your topic, and if they used the phrase that you came up with, they might well be thinking along the same lines and provide you with perfect materials!  For example, interesting items about a particular company might be found using the phrase "investors in X" (replace X with a company name) which will focus more on investor reactions, and opinion pieces about how a company's activities might be seen by the market.  

The phrase "investors in X disagree" would find even more specific items, if they exist - the longer the phrase, the more focused will be the result, but fewer results will be found.

When reading through the text of articles that you find, there will probably be related subjects that can suggest further search topics.  If you follow up a few related subjects in each article that you find, you can probably expand your article in depth as far as you are prepared to pursue each new linked topic that you find, from one source to the next.

Compose your thoughts and write something on your subject before you start searching for reference articles to back it up.  You will often find that you have automatically written down useful search words, and by organising your thoughts to write proper sentences, you will come up with more useful phrases for searching.

Use search engine features such as Google's Search-as-you-Type by anticipating the questions that might be asked - instead of the main search word, prefix with "Is..." or "Do..." or enter part phrases and refine them using the results so far.

Don't be afraid to use emotive language in your search, as you can often find things written by people who are expressing strongly held views and are passionate about the subject - imagine how they might express themselves, for example:

"X is a piece of...".  If necessary, when you write your own article, you can clean up their language and give them an oblique citation if you're aiming at a "family friendly" audience, or follow up their information by finding the same thing on another source.

Look into any email alerts and RSS feeds that can be set up to notify you of news items.

Use search engine tools that restrict the time range of results, especially for finding current news, and removing excessively old articles from forum listings.  

Use site-specific searches such as "site:URL" and "host:URL" (depending on the search engine) to find articles on a particular site that is known to have the same topic focus.

Identify sources of relevant news by bookmarking the home pages of articles that come up in previous searches, or when you come across them in someone else's post.  News aggregators like Google News will link to articles from many different sources - you can identify the best ones that bring you items of particular interest and use them as direct sources.

As well as using bookmarked news sources, identify authors who regularly comment on the same subject and bookmark their home page (news sources often have author-specific pages), or include their name in a search if they are widely syndicated.

Use result driven feedback: When your search turns up something of interest, look at the words or phrases used, and feed them back into your search.  

You can often find words or phrases related to your search that you didn't think of originally, that will focus your search better, or will find other aspects related to your search.

Use books and libraries to find material (especially historic) and illustrations that aren't already on the internet.  There are plenty of really old books with out-of-copyright material that can give your posts something unique.

Take and use your own photographs even for simple illustrations to give your posts character without duplicating something that has already been used elsewhere or is covered by restrictive copyright.
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