News Search and How it Changed My Life

By Susan KennedySusan Kennedy (1224553257|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

How to Get the Most out of a Search for News

I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered exactly how little I actually knew about searching for news on the web.

I figured, like most, that simply trial and error through basic Google was the only way to find what you wanted. Although I rarely was satisfied with this, it didn't occur to me that there were easy, efficient, and effective ways of not only finding information on a current topics, but on the past topics, and it was possible to learn even further with links to additional resources.

The Advantages of Using a Web Search Engine

What is awesome about using a news search over a basic general search engine is that the computer is already doing as much work as possible in order to save you time. The specialized searches have higher response time, higher relevance of retrievals, higher speed of updating new sources, and will critically evaluate the quality of the sources. Basically, the tools are out there…its just your job to take advantage.

Some of the News Search Engines

The news search engines that I explored (which are merely a small sample of many options) were Yahoo! News, Google News and Alta Vista. Although all three on the whole made my search process easier, with features such as ranking, sorting, RSS feeds, categorization, and photos, each has different strengths.

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Google News offers tons of options for refining and improving your news search, to the point that it is borderline overwhelming and excessive (especially if you are not used to it).

Advanced Search

With Google News, it can be very helpful to use the advance search in order to sort by date, source, and price (which can be set to free).

The Time Line !!

What was probably the coolest thing I found on any of these news search engines was the time line feature of Google News. The timeline (which is located toward the top of the left hand side of the page, above the date section) allows you to see how this topic has been covered over the past X amount years, which will vary depending on how recent the topic is. The timeline can be adjusted in order to zoom on years or months, depending on your needs.

It should be noted, however, that the timeline does not always cover NEWS that reported at date X, but it is referring to significant dates that happened to be mentioned in other news articles. In order to find news that actually is about that point in time, it may involve a much complicated search.

Personalization

If you have an iGoogle account, it can be very nice to personalize your page. I personally set mine to show all top news stories as images, which makes it much more pleasing to the eyes for me. Likewise, I edited the news stories that pop so that ones that I find irrelevant (such sports — jk :) ) are not on the home page.

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Yahoo! News I found to be the most difficult to use of the three news search engines, mainly because of its interface. This is NOT to say that it doesn't have some very useful features.

Sorting

Yahoo allows you to sort during your initial query in order to specify what kind of news you would like. For example, you can get video news, audio news, photo news, or any kind of news, which is "all news."

This is cool when you want to learn about a current event but don't feel like reading a four page essay.

Links to Other Places on the Web

These are located on the right hand side of the page, after you have specified what you are looking for. This pretty cool when you want to learn more that is from a slightly different and maybe more educational angle. Already I can tell I will be able to use this for future class assignments.

Local News Papers

One thing I found extremely cool about Yahoo was that you can find political stories from local news papers. Although this is general not that useful if you are doing research for school, this can be very fun to do if you want to stay current with your hometown or want to see if you siblings are in trouble again :)

This can be found by looking in the subtopics underneath the topics that are already in the main tabs, such as "politics" and "business."

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Easy and Strait Forward

Although Alta Vista has the least impressive interface, it was probably the simplest and most strait forward of the search engines I evaluated.

It was very convenient and easy to sort through queries based on topics, regions, and the timing of the news article.

Additionally, I appreciated the suggested search tips.

The Bottom Line

Although it seems that it would take more time than its worth to go to a news search engine, I promise it is worth it. It is a better use of your time, which you probably have little to spare, and once you get used to it you might actually like reading the news :)

I personally am not a regular news person, but since I was introduced to Google News, I have started to check the site pretty much daily. Although, I've gotta be honest, its mainly just to play around with the time line ;)

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