Google News Initiative

Taking the initiative with data journalism

Every day, reporters produce insightful stories about how the world is changing, and data journalism is an important tool for telling these stories. But experimenting with data journalism can be time consuming and costly, so the Google News Initiative is releasing more data journalism trainings, online resources and tools—while working with leaders in the field to make sure newsrooms have the support they need to be successful. Here’s a quick overview of what’s coming.

In-person training

We’re funding the Investigative Reporters and Editors’ “Data in Local Newsrooms Training program” to bring free training to journalists in their own newsrooms. The IRE will select 10 newsrooms in the U.S. and Canada to participate, teaching more than 200 journalists the most up-to-date-techniques, and providing ongoing support for their projects.

Investigative Reporters and Editors hosting a newsroom training.png

Investigative Reporters and Editors hosting a newsroom training.

Over the years, journalists have told us that training on basic tools—like Google Trends, Google Maps, and Google Earth—speeds up their work, so they can spend more effort on their reporting and carving out time for other projects. We’re continuing our five years’ funding of the Society of Professional Journalists Training Program, with a refocused effort on providing Google tools training at major conferences, conventions and regional SPJ events where eager journalists convene, reaching an estimated 4,000 journalists by March 2020.

Online training

This fall we’re funding the launch of Data Journalism MOOCs with the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. They are multi-week online courses—available in English, Spanish and Portugese— that cover the basics of data journalism with interactive exercises and reading assignments. Participants can connect with others taking the course, allowing them to ask questions, get feedback and network with others. With funding from Google, the MOOCs will reach journalists who wouldn’t be able to receive training otherwise.

Beyond the MOOCs, journalists can learn new skills from the GNI training center. Soon we’ll add lessons on how to use Google Sheets for data journalism, transcribe audio in Google Docs, and visualize data in Google Data Studio, with training available in multiple languages. After completing the training, you’ll get a certificate to demonstrate that you’ve taken the time to advance your  skills.

Lastly, datajournalism.com—launched by European Journalism Centre and supported by the GNI—is a new hub for data journalists with lessons, the Data Journalism Handbook and a community of over 9,000 data journalists and students.

Visual tools

To help data journalists tell stories in new ways, we provide access to Google data, data visuals and new tools to visualize and analyze data. Recently we worked with design studio Datavized to create TwoTone, a tool that turns data into sound; Morph, which creates animated visuals from data and a new version of Data Gif Maker, which creates animated data gifs. As another example, Data Commons brings together public datasets to make them easier to mash up together. Check out more examples of our tools and visuals.


Data shows interest in Halloween costumes for dogs, cats, birds, horses.gif

Make easy animated data visualizations with Data Gif Maker

Bringing journalists together to learn new skills

The Investigative Reporters and Editors conference, National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting International Symposium on Online Journalism, and the Excellence in Journalism conference provide an opportunity for journalists to connect with their colleagues and leaders in the field, and expose journalists to the latest tools and techniques. We’re sponsoring these events, as well as offering sessions on machine learning, data visualization, Google tools for verification and fact checking, safety and security online and more.

Do you want to work with us on new ways to tell stories with data? Contact us at newslabtrends@google.com.