Last time I talked about the different news aggregators you can use to gather stories. Today I’m going to talk about Google Reader since this is the aggregator I use. I’ll also explain step-by-step how to set it up and customize it for your specific needs as a skeptic news outlet.
First, go to http://www.google.com/reader/ and sign into your Google mail account. You’ll get a screen that looks like this:
Now that you have your Reader ready to go, you need to subscribe to content. To do that, click on the “Subscribe” button in the upper left-hand corner. A box will pop up asking for search terms or a URL. It is much faster to type in the search terms that you want, such as “skeptic”. That way you get a list of the most popular blogs. Once you have the list, just click the small, blue “subscribe” button under the site description. If you want to subscribe to a specific blog you don’t see in the list, just type in the full URL (ie http://randomskepticsitehere.com).
You’re almost ready to start posting skeptical news stories. Now, it’s time to pick a specialty. If you look at bloggers, you’ll notice that many of them choose just one area such as ghost hunting, medical pseudoscience or commercial and product claims. The world is a very big place and trying to cover everything, even when you’re just sending out articles to social media, gets overwhelming really fast. So find something you love to read about.
My personal posting specialty is biology. So I send out articles about the latest discoveries in animal and human biology or new medical discoveries. I also send out the occasional article on psychology news because those are frequently linked to brain/body function and their relationships.
Once you have a specialty and you’re getting news stories, it’s time to start spreading the news!
Take a look at the screen below. You’ll see a list of news stories that Google Reader has gathered for you.
Click on one of the bold links. It will open up the article on that page (see below):
Click on the Blue Article Title and that will take you to the original article. Once there, look around for the Facebook or Twitter icon. Different blogs have them in different places so you’ll probably have to hunt for it. Usually it’s at the bottom of the article, but sometimes it’s on the left or right. Or even at the top, so just keep looking until you find it.
Once you’ve found it, click the icon and share the article with your friends.
I would urge you to at least skim the article to make sure you are not sharing inaccurate or poor information. Always make sure your story comes from a credible source.
Next week, I’ll be talking about how to evaluate scientific research so that you can be sure what you’re sharing is good information.