Journalists should learn to illustrate location elements using Google Maps and Street View

Google Maps and Street View provide easy ways to illustrate “where it is” and “what it looks like” – two  questions a reader may raise but are usually left unanswered.

Location is an important element in local news stories. For instance, a recent news report about a car accident caught my eyes not just because it was the local fire director hitting three children, it’s also because that road intersection has seen multiple accidents – and it’s near where I live.

A natural question for me, as well as other local residents, is, “where exactly is that intersection”? And, what does it look like?

My two questions can be easily answered by embedding a map and an interactive Street View. Below are two embeds that should have accompanied that online article: the first one shows where that intersection is, and the second is an interactive Street View of that intersection (use mouse to drag and explore; image may take a while to load).

View Larger Map

View Larger Map

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About Mu Lin

Dr. Mu Lin is a digital journalism professional and educator in New Jersey, United States. Dr. Lin manages an online marketing company. He also manages MulinBlog Online J-School (, a free online journalism training program, which offers courses such as Audio Slideshow Storytelling; Introduction to Social Media Marketing; Writing for the Web; Google Mapping for Communicators; Introduction to Data Visualization; Introduction to Web Metrics and Google Analytics.
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