By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Mapping the news

Among the more important skills that young journalists need to learn is how to incorporate mapping into a news presentation. The easiest way to do this is with Google Maps. I’ve put together a demonstration based on today’s Salem News, mapping the addresses where five stories took place.

This is far from the best application of mapping and journalism. I just wanted to see if I could get it to work. One glitch: Whenever I type in an address, I get a non-removable red marker. Since the Ipswich story is the last one I mapped, you’ll see a red marker partially hidden behind the blue marker. Anyone know how to get rid of that?

You’ll probably need to click on “View Larger Map” in order to see anything.

Update: Hmmm … the glitch seems to have magically disappeared.

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  1. Anonymous

    Not that I flat out disagree, but your first sentence here reads like an established fact. Yet I’ve never read it elsewhere. Why is mapping so necessary? True, in traditional print media, they always have the little regional map with the specific area inset alongside, say, a plane crash or fire story. But Google mapping is different. More interactive, yes? Does this really enhance the quality of the story? How?

  2. Dan Kennedy

    One of the big problems news orgs face is that people spend far less time with news Web sites than they do with print. Mapping is a way to do a news presentation that has different points of entry depending on your interest, and that you might return to several times.My example really gives very little indication of the power of maps + journalism. Here is an example of something much better.

  3. Sean Roche

    Anonymous is onto something. Mapping is technology that, like any other technology, should be deployed in service to the story. If the story doesn’t call for mapping, or the kind of mapping at hand, then drop the mapping.I think, ultimately, that this is something that will get worked out over time pretty well.When I want to see the red marker, I search a location that’s near, but not too near, my target location then drag over to the target location. Inelegant, but it works.

  4. Anonymous

    I seem to be able to eliminate the red marker by clearing the search box and clicking “search.” The extent and zoom of the map view remain, but the marker disappears.TD

  5. Nashua Telegraph

    You can get rid of the red arrow by right-clicking on it (on the correct portion of the arrow – it takes some hunting) and choosing the “clear search” option.We use Google Maps for quickie locator maps online. The most complicated one that we’ve done is a Google Map about alternative-energy plants, proposed and built, in and around New Hampshire. Sometimes I use it as a reminder to myself – “where was that biomass plant, again?” I can’t get the HTML tags to work and the map URL is too long for this box. To see it, check my blog and click on the map in the left rail:http://www.granitegeek.orgDave Brooks, Nashua Telegraph

  6. Dan H.

    Here’s a really great use of online mapping to make a story accessible.Note to Dave Brooks, you can use to shrink those nasty long addresses. H.

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