Today, June 8, 2017 Google announced its support for a Digital Journalism initiative that will see 6 000 African journalists trained in data journalism skills by the end of February 2018. Google News Lab and the World Bank are working with Code For Africa to empower journalists in Africa by giving them the necessary support to better understand the Web and how to use the tools available to them online.
The Code For Africa Digital Journalism initiative will take place over the next 9 months (to February 2018) and see 6 000 journalists trained in 12 major African cities - Abuja, Lagos, Nairobi, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Casablanca, Dakar, Freetown, Dar es Salaam, Kampala, and Yaounde.
Code For Africa is a data journalism and civic technology initiative operating across Africa that trains and supports journalists and civic activists to better understand and use web tools for news reporting and storytelling.
Training will take place in three formats.
· Beginning June 15, in-person training sessions will be held in the cities mentioned above. In each city, we will conduct trainings in 3 newsrooms and trainings will be held twice a month for the duration of the initiative.
· Beginning August, a massive open online course (MOOC) will be made freely available online, covering a range of web concepts and practices for digital journalists.
· We will also hold monthly study group meetups in collaboration with Hacks/Hackers to provide more focused, in-person instruction. Monthly meetings will take place in Cameroon, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
Commenting on the initiative, Daniel Sieberg, Head of Training & Development at Google News Lab said: “The web and digital tools present an interesting array of options for journalists, but learning how to use these tools can be a daunting task for many media people. While the global news industry faces a knowledge challenge with regards to digital tools, Africa, by virtue of its non-digital education systems, faces even greater odds in the battle for digital integration in news and storytelling. In Nigeria for instance, only a few of the journalism institutions offer training programs that focus on Web tools, and many top news organisations lose out on stories due to their inability to utilise newer and more engaging digital techniques.”
In 2016, Google announced its commitment to train one million African youth within one year to help them create and find jobs via the Web. “With the Digital Journalism initiative we want to contribute to the growth of Africa’s news and media ecosystem by training present and future practitioners on how to employ existing tools to tell stories, and support them to create locally-relevant tools that will reshape how Africans consume news," he added.