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SPJ Training Program
in association with Google News Initiative

Tools Training for Journalists

About the Program  |  Meet the Trainers
 Become an SPJ Trainer  |  Request Training

About the program

Since inception, more than 21,000 journalists have been trained at more than 550 locations across the United States and Canada on the use of the continually evolving suite of Google tools. Read more about the SPJ Training Program and the Google News Initiative here.

In 2023, GNI and SPJ are particularly interested in bringing the training to journalists working in the Southern region of the United States. Sessions will be held for newsrooms, small groups, conferences, conventions and regional events. We encourage these groups to host a training session, which is provided at no cost. We will send a Google-certified trainer to conduct the session and pay the trainer’s expenses.

What does the training include?
Why is Google News Initiative providing this training to journalists?
Who are the trainers?
What does the host organization need to provide?
What are the Google tools that can be taught to us?
How do I request a training?
Marketing a training: Do's and don'ts

What does the training include?

The training includes a workshop lasting from one to three hours providing an overview of the Google tools or providing in-depth training on one Google tool. Longer trainings can be discussed.

A trainer is provided at no cost to your organization. Thanks to a grant from the Google News Initiative, SPJ pays the trainer’s fee as well as travel expenses.

Why is Google News Initiative providing this training to journalists?

Access to information is more important than ever. And Google tools provide valuable, inventive and often unexpected ways for journalists to access and process information for the betterment of their stories and the benefit of their readers.

SPJ and the Google News Initiative teamed up in 2015 to provide free training to journalists around the U.S. looking to apply these tools in their news gathering, reporting and storytelling. The programs are provided by talented, personable, knowledgeable SPJ members who have been trained by the Google News Initiative.

Meet the SPJ trainers

Expand all bios

Amara Aguilar (@amara_media) is a digital journalism professor at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She teaches journalism for mobile/emerging platforms, social media, and interactive design, among other courses. Amara has written for the LA Times, CNN and other outlets. She has worked as a designer, reporter, social media engagement producer and consultant.

Frank Bi (@frankiebi) is the Director of Tools & Technology at Star Tribune where he works on the storytelling team designing and developing interactives and longform features. He lives in New York City.

Andy Boyle (@andymboyle) is a writer, web developer and comedian. Before becoming the Director of Platform Architecture at Axios, Andy worked at Breaking News, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, the St. Petersburg Times, and The New York Times Regional Media Group, where his work was cited in the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News.

Dan Petty (@danielpetty) is the director of audience strategy for ProPublica, where he is responsible for growing the reach and resonance of the organization's award-winning journalism. He was previously director of audience engagement for MediaNews Group. Prior to that, he worked at The Denver Post and was part of the staff that won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in breaking news.

Victoria "Vix" Reitano (@vixinthecity) is the Founder + CEO of 6boro Social, an advertising agency based in Hoboken, NJ, supporting clients globally. She is a digital creator, influencer, international speaker, author and marketing expert with more than a decade of experience managing brands + communities at ABC, NBC + Telepictures before launching her company in 2015. These days, you can mostly find her @vixreitano on Instagram.

Lara Salahi (@BostonLara) is an assistant professor of Broadcast and Digital Journalism at Endicott College in Massachusetts. She is also a New England regional field producer for ABC News.

Jorge Luis Sierra (@latinointx) focuses on the intersection of digital technology, investigative journalism and cybersecurity. Sierra develops risk assessment tools and crowd-sourced maps to track crime, corruption and attacks on journalists. An award-winning Mexican investigative reporter and editor, he has covered a range of conflict-related topics such as drug trafficking, organized crime, counterinsurgency and gangs.

Samantha Sunne (@samanthasunne) is a freelance reporter based in New Orleans, where she runs a journalism/tech group called Hacks/Hackers. She also teaches journalists to utilize data and technology, and publishes a weekly newsletter called Tools for Reporters.

Benét Wilson (@benetwilson) is a veteran freelance aviation journalist based in Baltimore, where she writes for trade and consumer publications. She serves on the boards of the Online News Association, the National Association of Black Journalists and Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism.

Jordan Wirfs-Brock (@jordanwb) is pursuing a PhD in Information Science at the University of Colorado. Previously, she was a data journalist with Inside Energy, a public media collaboration, where she demystified energy topics. She loves using animation, visualization, podcasting and other creative ways to tell complex stories in approachable ways.

Become an SPJ trainer

Though SPJ currently is not looking to add new trainers to the program, please email Rod Hicks if you are interested in being considered to serve as a trainer in the future. He can notify you if SPJ begins a search for new trainers.

Who are the trainers?

The trainers are SPJ members who have received training from the Google News Initiative staff.

What does the host organization need to provide?

While SPJ and Google provide the teaching talent and the tools, the host organization is responsible for:

— Marketing of the training program to reach a maximum number of event attendees. Prime positioning in your program, with minimal concurrent programming, is encouraged.
— A location for the program that will hold all the participants with, if possible, table space for personal laptops.
— An LCD projector/screen, laptop audio, Wi-Fi, and power.
— Encouragement of audience to complete a brief post-training online survey.
— Prompt communication should there be any change in schedule.

What are the Google tools that can be taught to us?

Google Alerts [Link]
Stay in the know on breaking stories that are important to journalists.

Google Surveys [Link]
Gather data from real people by creating your web surveys.

Google Earth [Link]
Tell stories with satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D building and more.

Google Maps [Link]
Show where stories happen by building interactive maps.

Google Permissions [Link]
Learn proper usage and citations for Google products.

Google Public Data Explorer [Link]
Access a world of data and create high-quality visuals.

Google Scholar [Link]
Bolster stories with academic papers, opinions, and citations.

Google Advanced Search [Link]
Research with precision. Simple tools and tips to help you get better results, faster.

Google Translate [Link]
On assignment across the world, or in an diaspora community across town, you may find yourself in a situation where you need help bridging a language gap.

Google Trends [Link]
Use real-time search data to bring people the stories they’re looking for.

YouTube [Link]
Cultivate and keep a YouTube audience.

How do I request a training?

It's easy! Just fill out this form.

Please note: This training is available only for journalists and organizations based in the United States.

About the Google News Initiative: The Google News Initiative is Google's unified effort to help journalism thrive in the digital age. It's focused on three key objectives: elevating quality information, evolving business models to support quality journalism, and empowering news organizations to use new technology to meet their needs.

About Society of Professional Journalists: The Society of Professional Journalists is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. The organization promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know.

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