Google News Lab and the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Lagos State Council, have launched a new Data Skills for News training programme for its members. The training session, which is aimed at training 600 NUJ members, begins in September with a course titled “Fundamentals and Verification for News.”

The 4-hour training will commence on September 30, and run through October 14, October 28, and November 11, with journalists selected in batches of 150 for each session in accordance with the COVID-19 guidelines. The training curricula includes an advanced deep dive into search and image research tools, as well as fact checking and verification, all with the goal of assisting NUJ-Lagos members to better understand how to use Google digital tools for research and reporting.

The NUJ Lagos State Council Chairman, Mr Adeleye Ajayi, said that the training would bring speed and accuracy into news production.

“Aside this, the training will help in factual reporting and update the knowledge of a news professional.

“My sincere gratitude goes to Google NewsLab for this laudable and giant initiative aimed at improving the skills of journalists not only in Nigeria and Africa but also globally, ” Ajayi said.

The training modules are intended to aid in the development of skills required in contemporary journalism, and will include in-depth discussions on a variety of digital topics such as online search methods, analyzing search trends, news verification, and image search.

“For journalists, recent advances in digital technology present compelling new opportunities to find, verify, and tell news stories. Learning how to use digital tools for reporting can be a challenge and we hope that this digital skills workshop will give participants the knowledge and the confidence to use them in their reporting. ”, says Vincent Ryan, Google News Lab Training Manager.

The Google News Lab is an open initiative created especially for media professionals to help them create and distribute excellent journalism and news. The curriculum is designed to teach aspiring and experienced media workers about the digital trends that are changing journalism across the globe, as well as how to utilize new online and digital technologies to enhance productivity in their newsrooms.

Google has long reiterated its commitment to supporting the growth of the news industry in Africa through various initiatives including a Data Journalism training in 2017 which reached 6,000 journalists and publishers across the region. In 2020 Google announced a $300 million commitment as part of its Google News Initiative to assist local publishers across the world deal with the consequences of COVID-19, and in July of this year, three Nigerian publishers were named among the 22 winners of the Google News Initiative’s second Middle East, Turkey, and Africa Innovation Challenge, which provided $2.1 million in financing to support projects in the regions.

“Google considers the media in Nigeria as critical partners in the role they play in providing high-quality and relevant information. Supporting the growth of Nigerian news publishers will invariably enable the media industry in the region to take advantage of the opportunities that the internet and digital storytelling present.”, Ryan concludes.