Google has launched the Global Initiative for Excellence in Journalism Education to enhance journalists’ training in Africa. The announcement was made during the inaugural Google News Initiative (GNI) for Africa virtual event that started on Monday 25 October 2021 and will end on Friday 29th October 2021. The initiative to support journalism training will be rolled out over the next 18 months and is being implemented in partnership with UNESCO and is aimed at updating journalism education programmes in over 100 journalism institutions in Africa.
Matt Brittin, President for EMEA Business and Operations, Google said, “The pandemic has changed the way people interact with news and accelerated that shift to digital. There has never been a time when access to good quality journalism has been more important. This programme will seek to establish, define, and implement the local definitions of excellence in journalism. We will work with the 100 different journalism schools targeting to benefit over 4,000 journalists.”
UNESCO will use its networks of established journalism schools to launch the collaborative programme that will enable journalists to better respond to the major changes in journalism and publishing in recent times. Guy Berger, Director of Strategies and Policies, Communication and Information, UNESCO said, “At UNESCO, we have very different countries as members, with different approaches to journalism – but the one thing that at least they all agree on is that journalists should be well-trained.”
The week-long virtual event will provide an opportunity for journalists, publishers, and content creators in Africa to find out more about Google’s training programmes for journalists and news business professionals.
The event brings together experts from Google and the industry to share tools, training, and best practices, from understanding how small and medium-sized news organisations can grow their digital business to how to use consumer insights and data to better understand reader preferences and increase profitability and engagement. Google has held two successful Innovation Challenges where Google supported 43 GNI projects in 18 countries.
Google is increasing its investment in and support of journalism in Africa, including a News Lab Teaching Fellow who provides locally relevant training for journalists in Southern Africa and programmes such as the Digital Growth Programme and Innovation Challenges which support publishers in their digital transformation.