Bill Pierce's
Nuts & Bolts 
"Setting Your Sites"
If you are reading this you are familiar with the Web, and probably very familiar with sites that relate to photography. Useful as these sites are to the "photo" half of a photojournalist, the "journalist" half needs another set of sites. 

My favorite non-photo site is the New York Times on the Web ( Oddly, I know people who don't log on to the site because they don't live in New York. This is truly strange and does not say much for the intelligence of some photojournalists. The Times is a great site for general news of every kind. It is certainly not a site specifically oriented to New York news. I have many friends in Los Angeles who subscribe to the hard copy edition, and also go online daily to view the Web edition. The first thing that has to be said for the Web edition is that, when you're traveling, it doesn't pile up on your doorstep and tell thieves it's time to visit. The second is, the site continuously updates itself with wire news and breaking stories.  And third, there is some very useful stuff on the Web that isn't in the paper edition. 

For example, you can search the site by subject, name, etc., for articles in that day's paper--for free. You can check out the archives for the last year--for a fee. The search is free, and downloading is $2.50 for each article. 

You can also access the Northern Lights search engine. It's a killer, for-pay research tool. The best way to describe it is to provide an abridged version of the Times description: "Access an online research library--You can access articles from Northern Light's Special Collection of articles from over 4,500 trusted sources including magazines, newspapers, databases, journals and newswires--not available from other Web search engines.  ...Northern Lights combines premium content with the Web in one search to deliver the most comprehensive online research tool available. Custom Search Folders organize your results list for you, making your search even easier. For example, if you search Northern Lights for 'bonds,' your results will be sorted into folders such as mutual funds, certificates of deposit (CDs), James Bond movies, and Internal Revenue Code. If you know that you're only interested in 'James Bond movies,' clicking on that folder will display only the results related to James Bond movies." 

You can also access Lexis-Nexis through the Times on the Web. This granddaddy of "pay for view" search engines has only recently become available on the Web. In the past it delivered information via computer, but at monthly fees that limited its use to large legal firms and the like. Not all its services are available through the Times, but the ones that would be used by a journalist researching a story are there with free searches and a per article fee. 

Also available online is a list of Web bookmarks that will connect you with sites that the Times staff uses as research tools--it's called the "Navigator." This is the best compilation of its kind that I am aware of. And it keeps growing, with a few new sites added every week. It starts with a bookmarked listing of search tools with intelligent descriptions of the advantage of each engine. It then has a collection of bookmarks for journalists, a collection of reference sites, telephone and email addresses. Then it has every other news site and magazine you can think of-- then it guides you to even more journalistic publications.  There are also links to sites in the fields of politics, sports, entertainment, commerce and, of course, the New York region. There is also a miscellany of truly weird sites such as the FBI's most wanted, the official Elvis Presley homepage, and links to all those live cameras that feed the Web with some of the worst, but occasionally useful or interesting, photography. 

Will the joy never stop, Web freaks? There are also specialized, large sections on business and politics. A few of my favorites in those lists: Free Edgar (SEC filings), The Economist, Olsen & Associates currency converter for the traveling photog, and a salary converter that shows how much you must earn in different cities to maintain the same standard of living, and "The Skeleton Closet," a bipartisan listing of character allegations against candidates. 

All this is under one address, You have to register, but the site is free with the exception of the paid search services. 

What else do you need? Information on the subject you cover, information on the area you are traveling to, and maps so that, if you have taken the wrong turn on the road of life, you will be able to get out of the airport and to the hotel. Now, the first two are going to change from photographer to photographer and assignment to assignment.  But everybody needs Mapquest, that wonderful website that lets you find your way to location and back home ( 

A few other useful sites: 
You plug in the city, Citysearch gives you the info (; 

Airline websites and 800 numbers ( 

FedEx, get that film back to the lab (; 

The stolen camera registry (; 

The Weather Channel (; 

Lycos International/National Airport Weather (; 

Lycos Global Weather Service ( ) 

And, of course, your favorite sites. Send them in.  

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