August 24, 2015

In a bid to train journalists in digital tools, The Poynter Institute is partnering with Google and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) to train 10 professionals, who will then teach journalists how to best use Google tools.

The training will take place on August 31 and September 1 at the Poynter Institute. These professionals will then go out to train journalists at newsrooms and conferences. Each person will conduct at least three training sessions. Poynter has had previous endeavors such as ‘Train the trainers,’ but this is a new kind of initiative where the aim is focused on important digital tools used in newsrooms.

The ten participants include journalists from digital organizations including The Verge, as well as local TV stations and newspapers such as The Denver Post. Here is a complete list of the people who would be participating in the training next week:

  • Victoria Reitano: Owner and Lead Consultant, Creativix Media
  • Scott Leadingham: Director of Education, SPJ
  • Matthew Hall: Public Engagement Director, The San Diego Tribune
  • Frank Bi: Data Journalist and Editorial Engineer, The Verge
  • Chris Vaccaro: Editor-in-Chief, The Topps Company
  • Dan Petty: Director of Sports, The Denver Post
  • Sandra Gonzalez: Reporter, KSNV-TV
  • Holly Edgell: Director of Digital Media, KSHB
  • Sam Stewart: Media Consultant
  • Michelle Johnson: Boston University

After Simon Rogers joined Google as the Data Editor in March 2015, the company has launched the Google News Lab as a center for journalists. Since then, the technology company has increased training opportunities for journalists and the access to Google Trends data. This initiative appears to be an extension of that aim.

The trainers will involve Google tools including: advanced search, Fusion tables, Google Public Data, Google Crisis Map and Google Trends.

“By the end of the two-day training, the ten trainers might form their own expertise in topical issues such as the elections or crisis reporting,” said Kelly McBride, Vice-President, Poynter Institute.

The partnership is the Institute’s first key partnership with a leading technology company.

“This is the institute’s first major partnership with a digital technology company, and it’s a symbol of our strategic shift to focus our training efforts on storytelling in the digital age,” said Tim Franklin, President, The Poynter Institute.

In addition, Google News Labs and Poynter will host virtual office hours via Google Hangouts, to enable journalists to seek help regarding Google tools. The first of these office hours will take place at 9 a.m. (PT) Friday, Aug. 28. People can send in their comments or questions via the previously mentioned event page, Google News Lab’s Twitter handle, or via email.

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I report, write and produce interactives for as the institute's 2015 Google Journalism Fellow. Tweet me @gurmanbhatia or email at
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