Google News Ini­tia­tive to roll out train­ing in MENA

Campaign Middle East - - NEWS -

Google an­nounced dur­ing its first Google News Ini­tia­tive event in Dubai last week a large-scale ef­fort to of­fer dig­i­tal skills train­ing to thou­sands of jour­nal­ists across the MENA re­gion. In part­ner­ship with the In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre for Jour­nal­ists (ICFJ) and its IJNet Ara­bic ser­vice, train­ings will fo­cus on dig­i­tal tools to gather and source in­for­ma­tion, en­hance trust and ver­i­fi­ca­tion, and sup­port data-driven jour­nal­ism and im­mer­sive sto­ry­telling.

The pro­gram, ‘IJNET Train­ing Net­work Pow­ered by the Google News Ini­tia­tive’, will take place over the next 12 months and will see 4,000 jour­nal­ists trained in six coun­tries: UAE, KSA, Egypt, Le­banon, Jor­dan and Tu­nisia.

Matt Cooke, head of part­ner­ships and train­ing at the Google News Lab, said: “This new part­ner­ship forms part of our global ef­fort to work with the news in­dus­try to help jour­nal­ism thrive in the dig­i­tal age. We hope this pro­gramme will help develop and sup­port in­no­va­tion across the MENA re­gion. This is our ef­fort and we hope to roll out this train­ing to more coun­tries in the fu­ture.”

“The MENA re­gion lags in pro­vid­ing dig­i­tal jour­nal­ism and in­spir­ing trust at a time when young au­di­ences are clam­our­ing for it,” said ICFJ President Joyce Bar­nathan. “This far-reach­ing pro­gramme will sig­nif­i­cantly close the tech gap in the Mid­dle East – and en­hance the qual­ity of dig­i­tal news.”

The need for dig­i­tal train­ing is acute, says Google. A re­cent ICFJ study, The State of Tech­nol­ogy in Global News­rooms, found that only 29 per cent of news­rooms in the MENA re­gion reg­u­larly use mul­ti­ple plat­forms to dis­trib­ute sto­ries – trail­ing those in the rest of the world; 56 per cent are strug­gling to build trust with au­di­ences and 77 per cent are con­cerned about their abil­ity to cre­ate qual­ity con­tent.

There are three phases to the train­ing pro­gram:

In May, IJNet Ara­bic and Google News Ini­tia­tive will hold a we­bi­nar where hun­dreds of jour­nal­ists will re­ceive vir­tual train­ing on dig­i­tal jour­nal­ism.

In July, Google will host a “train the trainer” ses­sion for jour­nal­ist train­ers to serve as dig­i­tal am­bas­sadors.

From Au­gust to May 2019, the dig­i­tal am­bas­sadors will re­ceive coach­ing from ex­pert IJNet men­tors as they con­duct train­ing events and spread dig­i­tal know-how across the re­gion.

In­tro­duc­tion: Google an­nounces the train­ing in its Dubai of­fices

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