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SPJ Partners with Google News Lab and Poynter to train journalists in digital storytelling tools


Aug. 24, 2015

Dana Neuts, SPJ President, 360-920-1737 (PDT), dneuts@spj.org
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Communications Strategist, 317-361-4134, jroyer@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS—The Society of Professional Journalists will team up with Google News Lab and The Poynter Institute to create training at no cost for journalists in the use of digital tools to tell more powerful stories and inform citizens.

SPJ and the Online News Association identified professionals who will be trained in teaching Google digital tools. These trainers will then be sent to conferences, workshops and newsrooms across the country for training in everything from Google Trends to Google Public Data, Embeddable Maps to Google Earth Pro and more.

"SPJ has been providing Google training at its Excellence in Journalism conference for years, so it is exciting to now have a more ‘official’ relationship with Google that will allow us to reach more journalists across the country with this training,” said SPJ National President Dana Neuts. “This program is a continuation of our collective desire to arm journalists with the tools they can use to improve their information gathering and reporting which, in turn, provides more compelling journalism to readers, viewers and listeners.”

Google, SPJ and Poynter are committed to training as many journalists as possible in the effective use of digital tools and reporting stories. To book a training, contact Chris Vachon, SPJ associate executive director, at (317) 927-8000, ext. 207, or email her at cvachon@spj.org.

Selecting SPJ as a training partner builds on SPJ’s other successful training efforts with Google, including Google Media Summits and the annual SPJ convention.

“We’ve done great work with SPJ in the past, bringing educational opportunities to journalists through one off training sessions,” said Nicholas Whitaker, media outreach manager for Google’s News Lab. “This partnership will allow us to refine our work and bring those opportunities to an even broader audience, in a long term, sustained effort. We look forward to working with SPJ to get trainers out to the masses and give journalists tools to assist them in their work.”

This partnership with Google News Lab is the most recent in a series of other SPJ training initiatives including its annual Excellence in Journalism conference, JournCamps, Ted Scripps Leadership Institute and a wide array of online tools and resources available via its eCampus.

“We’re excited to be working with the Google News Lab as its training partner for a couple of important reasons. First and foremost, this has the potential to help journalists improve their storytelling for readers and viewers,” said Poynter President Tim Franklin. “This also represents a milestone for Poynter. 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.”

In addition, Google News Labs and Poynter will host regular virtual office hours via Google Hangouts On Air, so journalists can ask for help with the various Google tools. The first Google News Labs office hours will be at 9 a.m. (PT) Friday, Aug. 28. People can send in their comments or questions via this event page, the Google News Lab Twitter channel, or via email.

The session will be about an hour long, and will give people the opportunity to hear from specialists within Google, get answers to FAQs and get guidance regarding where to find more resources to make their jobs easier.

Other Google digital tools that will be the focus of the training include:
Google Search / Advanced Search Tools
Google My Maps
Google Fusion Tables
Street View / UGC panoramas
Google Crisis Map
Google Permissions + Broadcast licenses
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Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, please visit spj.org.


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