Using Google Alerts to Find Story Ideas

I love Google Alerts! I have them for all sorts of things, including:

  • my name (curious what people are saying about me, and those who share my name!)
  • journalism
  • social media
  • university
  • Columbus
  • Santa Cruz (my home town)
  • defamation (teaching law and ethics next semester)
  • diversity (always an interesting topic)

A Google alert is simply a way to let Google comb through the web for you and pull down stories on topics you select. You can get items immediately, once a day or once a week. You can get just news or also include blogs, video, discussions, etc. You can get “only the best results,” based on Google’s algorithm or everything.

This morning “university” crossed first and when I opened it up, I immediately saw this story from the International Herald Tribune: “University Ranking Shows Boom in Global Student Mobility.”

Clicking on it revealed that the QS World Universities Rankings has found an “unstoppable rise” in the numbers of students who seek to study travel.

My next thought: We do that here at Ohio State.

And that is how localization of a story begins.

How many students do it here? How has that number changed over time? What is the trend? Why do they do it? What is the expectation from employers that compels them to do it? Where do they go? What do they do there?

This is not a new topic, but it is a new angle based on something happening now.


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