Google News Initiative to roll out training in MENA
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