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Google, UNESCO to support 100 digital journalism institutions in Africa

by Haruna Gimba

By Asmau Ahmad

Google has launched the Global Initiative for Excellence in Journalism Education to enhance journalists’ training in 100 Journalism institutions in Africa.

President for EMEA Business and Operations, Google Matt Brittin made this known at the ongoing inaugural Google News Initiative (GNI) for Africa virtual event.

Brittin said that the initiative to support journalism training would be rolled out over the next 18 months and is being implemented in partnership with the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

He said that the journalism training is aimed at updating journalism education programmes in over 100 journalism institutions in Africa. 

“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,” he said.

He said that 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.

According to him, and programmes such as the Digital Growth Programme and Innovation Challenges which support publishers in their digital transformation.

Meanwhile, Brittin said that the GNI event brings together experts from Google and the industry to share tools, training and best practices.

He said that it would be from understanding how small and medium-sized news organisations could grow their digital business to how to use consumer insights and data to better understand reader preferences and increase profitability and engagement.

According to him, Google has held two successful Innovation Challenges where Google supported 43 GNI projects in 18 countries.

Guy Berger, Director, Strategies and Policies, Communication and Information, UNESCO said that UNESCO would use its networks of established journalism schools to launch the collaborative programme.

Berger said that the collaborative programme would enable journalists to better respond to the major changes in journalism and publishing in recent times.

“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,” he said.

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.

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