Google Docs offers organizational tools useful to writers

By NINA GREEN

This semester, I am working as an intern with the Miami Music Festival. My job within the festival is to organize more than 200 people who will be volunteering as stage managers, stage crew, and door monitors. It’s a big job and it requires a lot of organization. The amount of information I have to know about each potential volunteer is staggering and putting it all together into one cohesive spreadsheet is mind-numbing work.

Luckily, my boss set up a Google Doc for me. When I get a new contact, I simply send them an e-mail with a link to a form set up through Google Docs. This form asks them all kinds of questions from name and what school or organization he or she is affiliated with to what kind of music they like and what hours they can work. Once they are finished, they hit the submit button at the bottom of the form and the information that they fill out immediately appears on a spreadsheet that only my boss and I can view.

But there is more to Google Docs than just forms and spreadsheets. It is a means of organizing information on the Internet and sharing it between people without the hassle of attaching a document to an email. You can allow as many people to view the document as you like, providing they are Gmail users, of course. So I can either create on Google or upload from my computer a Word document, PowerPoint presentation or spreadsheet and then make it available to anyone I want.

So, how does this help journalists?

Journalism is a career that requires a certain level of organization that not all journalists truly possess. How often do we lose something –– a source’s information, for example –– because we simply wrote it down on a scrap of paper? With Google Docs, even the most organizationally challenged person can keep track of their information. It already has made my job easier.

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