Google News Lab to empower newsrooms and news entrepreneurs

22 Jun 2015

Google has created a new online destination called News Lab, which will equip journalists and newsrooms with the tools and knowledge to succeed in the digital age.

The new site will ensure that tools are made available to journalists around the world and that newsrooms know how to use them.

Google will also provide data sets, and inform media members about the biggest opportunities that are emerging.

Many journalists are already incorporating everything from Maps to YouTube videos and Fusion Tables in their storytelling.

The new Google News Lab will provide short written and video tutorials on these products, along with case studies that highlight the best practices from top newsrooms around the world.

“As Google develops new products that help journalists, we’ll update these resources regularly,” Steve Grove, director of News Lab said.

Grove said there’s a revolution in data journalism happening in newsrooms today, as more data sets and more tools for analysis are allowing journalists to create insights that were never before possible.

“To help journalists use our data to offer a unique window to the world, last week we announced an update to our Google Trends platform. The new Google Trends provides journalists with deeper, broader, and real-time data, and incorporates feedback we collected from newsrooms and data journalists around the world. We’re also helping newsrooms around the world tell stories using data, with a daily feed of curated Google Trends based on the headlines of the day, and through partnerships with newsrooms on specific data experiments.”

New wave of news pioneers

Grove said that Google is also working on empowering new voices in media by helping increase the number of media start-ups.

It has forged a partnership with San Francisco media accelerator Matter, and Hacks/Hackers, a global community group for developers and journalists, to provide financial support and mentorship from Google engineers.

It is also hosting TechRaking summits with the Center for Investigative Reporting: hackathons focused on developing new investigative tools, such as drones, online databases, and more.

Another area Google is focusing on is citizen journalism across three projects, First Draft, the WITNESS Media Lab and the YouTube Newswire.

Grove said that News Lab is a global effort with teams in the US, UK, France and Germany, and it is also using the training and research arm of Google’s Digital News Initiative in Europe.

“Google has created many technologies and platforms that have engaged the media industry,” Grove said.

“As both the media landscape and technology continue to evolve, we believe we can create a more informed world if technologists and journalists work together — and we’re excited to be part of the effort.”

Typewriter image, via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years