Digital Journalism: RSS, Deep Search and Information Gathering.

As a modern day journalist’s research usually begins with a web search, it is vital that we use this as a starting point for our module hand-ins this semester; specifically for the curation of a story for two weeks where must gather as much information as possible from a variety of sources. In order to achieve this, it is required that you find secondary source material along with primary material ( an experts opinion or direct quotes for example); however, you can make use of secondary material quite effectively to find sources online by using Deep Search techniques and RSS feeds which will help not only the journalists knowledge of the subject but also their own curation’s authenticity.

Deep Search:

Boolean Syntax:

What is it?

  • A series of words or symbols that help create a more refined web search, these are called properties.

What it lets you achieve:

  • Includes more than one item, i.e. phrases. It can exclude them as well

An example of this could be searching for such phrases such as Batman AND Robin, the engine searches for items that contain both phrases. Luckily, google search combines these search terms with the boolean word “AND”. So if for example the search terms are just Batman Robin, it looks automatically for Batman AND Robin.

It is also able to search for one keyword or another; for example, to search google for Batman or Robin, you can just type in Batman OR Robin, and the search engine will return items that contain one word or the other.

However boolean searches are case sensitive, which means that searches must be capitalised with AND or OR. If they are not then google will simply ignore them.

Searching for Phrases:

In order to search for a phrase or sequence of words, the phrase must be typed as if it were a quote. Due to this, the search engine will return items that will contain ONLY this exact phrase. An example of this would be “The Avengers 2”, where only documents that contain this will be shown.


With boolean syntax, you are also able to exclude words by using this symbol “-“. For example, typing in The Avengers 2 returns all mentions of the film, however if you type in The Avengers 2 – Captain America it shows pages that do not mention Captain America in its text.

It is also able to search for specific filetypes on Google search (although it is not strictly boolean property); for example, typing in jpg or pdf will return photos or documents.

RSS Feeds and Google Alerts:

What is RSS and RSS FEED?

RSS (or Rich Site Summary) is a special format that enables journalists to track new web content. Many news related sites, blogs and other online publications will syndicate their content as an RSS feed. An RSS Feed on the other hand is a computer readable file that updates automatically as content is added to the website. In order to look as RSS Feeds, it is advised that you use a special application called File Reader, which google contains itself and is possibly the easiest of these applications to use.

Google Alert:

Google Alert is a special type of RSS feed that can be set up fairly easily and a great way to track news stories. It tracks key words that are chosen by you and when those key words are indexed by google, it adds the content to your feed.

Why are these important to journalists?

  • Getting the scoop- Online news sites try hard to “scoop” one another, which means publish a story first as the site that does this first gets the most hits.
  • Staying Informed- Its important as journalists to stay informed of the goings on in a story,whether in general news or a specialist niche (i.e. film news) so that they can spot stories as they develop.


As our Live Blogging and Curation Assignments will need to have access to the latest and breaking stories,we were asked to set up RSS Feeds to help us follow stories online. Firstly, we were asked to follow the RSS Feeds of sites pertinent to our specialisms as a journalist; as I am an avid film lover and like to follow the latest news of this niche, I decided to follow the RSS Feed of film sites such as Joblo and Ain’t it Cool News so that whenever they add new stories to their site I will get a notification on Google reader as I have subscribed.

We were then asked to create Google Alerts in order to scour for any news that fitted our interests as journalists. Again, as I am not only a film lover, but also very much in to my comics I therefore decided to search for stories related to the new Iron Man 3 trailer. I created an alert by subscribing to this search term(and enhanced my chances of receiving the latest stories by using deep search techniques explained earlier to refine my search) so that now whenever I sign in to Google Reader I will get notifications based on this phrase.

Finally, we were asked to produce a 200 word article based on the secondary material from our RSS Feeds. I decided that I would use the information I received on the Iron Man 3 trailer from which gave the low-down of what the trailer consisted of that will not doubt whet fans appetites for its release date in May next year.

Iron Man 3’s First Trailer Guarantees Grit, Spectacle and The Absolute Destruction of Tony Stark.

 The first of many Iron Man 3 Trailers catapults it way online and leaves many begging for more.

After months of Marvel teasing comic-book fans and film fanatics alike with the release of endearing set pictures, official images, and even a poster, the first official trailer for the much anticipated Iron Man 3 has been let loose for all to admire.

Many have pondered if this new installment that will embark phase 2 of Marvel’s cinematic incarnation would redeem itself after the slightly disappointing Iron Man 2. However, from the looks of the trailer released last week, it is evident that this tale will heavily focus on the “breaking” of Mr Stark and his alter-ego Iron Man. This is to be a rather dark chapter in the Marvel universe and will no doubt be a running theme in both the Thor and Captain America sequels, eventually leading to the second assemble of The Avengers who are to tackle one of Marvels most notorious villains, Thanos. From the looks of the trailer, IM3 looks to stay true to the comic’s source material by introducing villains such as Mandarin and taking segments yet again from Marvel’s 2005 comic Extremis, which previously was used in the origin segment of the first film.

Despite showing a great deal of typical Iron Man motifs in the trailer that surely has made fans pleased, Marvel has obviously tried their hardest to not give too much away in fear of revealing anything narrative related by playing on the notion of intrigue. What is  for certain that the scope, darkness and the absolute destruction of Mr Stark will more that measure up to be one of the many films to see next summer.



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