By Henry Queen

ATLANTA — Football season is right around the corner. Whether an outlet covers high school, college or professional football, it might benefit from presenting football schedules in a unique and visual way.

Mike Reilly, a Digital Trainer at the Society of Professional Journalists, showcased the possibilities of Google Earth Pro during the “Google Earth Pro/Mapping” workshop at the 2019 APSE Summer Conference on Tuesday. Google Earth allows journalists to present schedules by jumping from one aerial view of a stadium to another.

In 2017, The Herald (Rock Hill, South Carolina) used the technology to help readers visualize a local high school’s football schedule.

“If you can’t fly a drone over a stadium, and many times you can’t … you can at least fly this from point A to point B,” Reilly said.

In 2018, The Courier-Journal (Louisville) used Google Earth in a different way. The newspaper published a project online highlighting the “Nasty 9”, which ranked the hardest golf holes in the city.

Reilly, who has worked in the past at the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, also discussed the storytelling capabilities of Google Timelapse.
As new stadiums are constructed, the surrounding area around them changes. One way to capture that is to embed a Google Timelapse video of the stadium.

Google Trends is another service offered by the company. It can help editors with keywords and Search Engine Optimization.

“Use Google Trends on the Friday before a big college football weekend,” Reilly said. “Start typing in all the school names and nicknames and see what time of day who’s peaking when.”

Data represents a significant part of a journalist’s job. Reilly also discussed the powers of data scrapers to make sense of large data sheets.

For more information on the topics discussed at the workshop, visit http://bit.ly/spjdatascrape and http://bit.ly/spjresources .

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