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#Tip: Search Instagram pictures using Gramfeed

October 30th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Search, Top tips for journalists


This tip is one shared by Alessandro Cappai, a digital editor in Italy who attended MozFest, the Mozilla Festival at the weekend.

He pointed me in the direction Gramfeed, explaining how it can be used to explore Instagram pictures and “find images through hashtag, username or location”.



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#Tip: Try searching Creative Commons images by colour

October 10th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Search, Top tips for journalists

Have you ever written an article and had a specific colour in mind for an accompanying picture? If so, here is a tool to help.

The people at TinEye, who are behind this fantastic tool for verification (see this post), have created the MultiColr Search Lab.

This enables you to search by colour for images with Creative Commons licences, meaning they can be used free of charge to accompany news stories.

You can search for up to five colours. Here’s one we made ourselves using what turn out to be the Ikea colours. colour-search

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#Tip: Get a photo byline for your Storify stories in Google search results

September 2nd, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Search, Top tips for journalists

At the end of last week Storify, which lets you create stories by adding tweets and other social media, enabled you to get a photo byline in Google search results.

You have probably seen journalist and blogger photos displayed beside the story they have authored in Google search results.


You can now get photo bylines for Storify stories too. This blog post from Storify explains how to set this up.

In your Storify settings, connect your Google+ account. Then go to your Google+ profile, to ‘links’, and add a link with your username (see below).


To set up your picture byline for Google News results, follow the instructions here.

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#Tip: Finding ‘real-time coverage’ on Google News

August 20th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Search, Top tips for journalists

If you’re interested in finding out the latest reporting across the web on a given story, Google News offers the ability to view ‘realtime overage’, as highlighted in this post which we came across after it was shared by Gibran Ashraf on the Open Newsroom community set up by Storyful on Google+ (more on that here).

In the post, Google explains how to use the feature:

When you click the top right corner of the news story’s box, it will expand to include a button for “See realtime coverage.” Clicking on this will lead you to a page of articles exclusively about this story that automatically updates with new articles.

This could be useful for journalists who need to keep on top of how others are covering particular stories on their path, or perhaps the latest coverage in breaking news situations.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.
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#Tip: Check headline lengths with this character counter

Earlier this week we published a link to research on headline length.

A study by content recommendation service Outbrain found headlines with between 60 and 100 characters performed best.

We explained that the BBC opts for 55 character headlines.

If you want to check headline length then here’s a handy tool you can use to count characters.

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#Tip: Add a filter to hide royal baby tweets

Image by petesimon on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Image by petesimon on Flickr. Some rights reserved

As journalists most of us are familiar with setting up columns in TweetDeck or other apps to display tweets containing certain keywords.

One of the features added to TweetDeck earlier this year lets you exclude certain words or users from a column.

If you find your Twitter stream becomes busy with a topic you are not interested in you can filter out those tweets.

You can do so by clicking on the arrow at the top of any of column and specifying words to exclude.


And if you are not interested in royal baby news, the Guardian has added a ‘republican’ button to its homepage which hides coverage.

Last year the news site had a button to hide news on the Olympics, and in 2011 offered an option to omit royal wedding coverage.

Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet gave its readers the choice of a ‘Breivik-free’ version during the trial of Anders Behring Breivik.

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#Tip: Save tweets with a particular hashtag to Tweet Binder

June 27th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Search, Top tips for journalists

Image by cogdogblog on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Tweet Binder allows you to search for a hashtag and add that collection of tweets to a ‘binder’. You can then search for keywords within that list of tweets.

This could be a useful tool if you are following a key story via a hashtag.

The free tool also offers analytics so you can see contributors (people who tweeted with that hashtag) and the potential reach of the tweets.

In the example below I searched for the #editors13 hashtag, searched for keywords and looked at the analytics of the tweets.


tweet binder2

Another search tip

Another way to search for keywords present in tweets mentioning a particular hashtag is to set up a column for that hashtag in TweetDeck and to use the filter option which you access by clicking on ‘edit’ at the top of the column.

If you do not see the filter option, you might need to update your version of TweetDeck.


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#Tip: Learn from this post on verifying pope story

April 4th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Search, Top tips for journalists
Image by Ivy Dawned on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Image by Ivy Dawned on Flickr. Some rights reserved

The BBC College of Journalism has published a post explaining how journalists could have fact-checked an image that allegedly shows Jorge Bergoglio, the recently elected Pope Francis, standing beside former Argentine dictator Jorge Videla.

The post, which is by Henk van Ess, who chairs the VVOJ, (the Association of Investigative Journalists for The Netherlands and Belgium), explains how internet research could have debunked the incorrect story.

The post explains various tools, tricks and tips that can be useful in verification, such as Backtweets, Google advanced operators and he advises to “always think ‘video’ when you see a picture”.

The must-read post is at this link. runs a one-day course on advanced online research. Find out more at this link.

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#Tip: Read this post on searching social media

April 2nd, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Search, Top tips for journalists

Image by Nic Soto on Flickr. Some rights reserved

The BBC College of Journalism has a helpful post on searching social media.

BBC internet research specialist Paul Myers has written a post with tips on searching Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other sites.

If you find that post helpful you might also like this guide on searching social media for stories. runs a course on advanced online research skills. The next course runs on 18 April. At the time of writing there were three places available.

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#Tip: Use the Banjo app as a journalism search tool

We’ve recommended the Banjo app (for Android and iOS) in the past.

The free location-based app encourages you to connect your social networks, and you then can see which of your connections are nearby. You can also search cities to see what your social media contacts, their connections and other Banjo users are tweeting and sharing in those locations.


Banjo was a app of the week just over a year ago, and before that journalism site 10,000 Words has described how a reporter used it to locate people at a shopping mall where there had been a reported bomb scare.

Banjo also has a handy filter function that allows you to search your social media posts sent near you for a keyword. The top right image filters for the term “journalist” in posts sent close to Hackney, London. The search shows the word was used in two recent social media posts and is in 48 profiles.

Yesterday The Next Web reported that there are now 4 million Banjo users, and highlighted algorithm updates.

Today’s tip is to try Banjo if you do not yet use it. It could come in useful when trying to find someone at a particular location when you are working on a news story.

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