By 2013 Fellow Rachel Bowers
Hilary Niles’ newsroom at vtdigger.com doesn’t have a traditional computer network system.
The newsroom uses Google Drive instead — editors, reporters, number crunchers, and photographers all upload their work to the file-sharing collaborative hub and use it to stay organized while working with one another on day-to-day and long-term projects.
“It’s an organizational tool, collaboration tool and publication tool,” said Niles, who led the technology session on Google Drive during Day 2 of the Journalism and Women Symposium’s CAMP.
Spreadsheets, forms, presentations and tables may all be created, used and shared in Google Drive, which Niles said makes organizing and structuring data more manageable.
“Spreadsheets don’t have to be just for numbers; they can be used for project management,” said Niles, who is data specialist and business reporter for vtdigger.com. “All information is data, and all data can be structured. Once the data is structured, it can be managed better.”
Niles demonstrated how to use the word processing function of Google Drive while incorporating its collaborative elements — multiple people who have been given access to the document can edit and write in the document at the same time. Edits can be tracked as well as versions of the document. Text can be formatted — just like in traditional word processors such as Microsoft Word — and fonts and font sizes can be changed.
Niles emphasized the streamlining that is offered by Google Drive — files no longer have to be emailed back and forth between colleagues because the most updated version of a file can be accessed from anywhere when using Google Drive. She said a naming system can be implemented as well, though it can vary depending on preferences, and folder trees can help keep files organized.
Niles addressed security concerns about Google Drive, which is all online. Any individual who creates a document, spreadsheet, chart or table in Google Drive can control whether that file is private or public; he or she can then decide who to share the file with and if the recipient can edit the file or have read-only access to it.
Niles, who also has the Google Drive app on her smartphone, said she often looks at and edits her projects when she is on the go using her phone.
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