Internet giant Google announced on Tuesday the launching of a programme offering digital journalism training for thousands of journalists across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The programme, organised in cooperation with the Washington-based International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and its IJNet Arabic service, will offer training to some 4,000 journalists in six Arab countries including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Tunisia, according to a press release sent to Ahram Online on Tuesday.
The programme, which will begin in May and run for a year, will offer digital training on methods of gathering and sourcing information, enhancing trust and verification, as well as supporting data-driven journalism.
“This new partnership forms part of our global effort to work with the news industry to help journalism thrive in the digital age. We hope this programme will help develop and support innovation across the MENA region," says Matt Cooke, head of Partnerships & Training at the Google News Lab.
Cooke added that Google aims to roll out the programme in more countries in the future.
A recent ICFJ study shows that only 29 percent of newsrooms in the MENA region use multiple platforms on a regular basis to share their stories. The study also revealed that 56 percent of these newsrooms are struggling to develop trust with the audience, while 77 percent are concerned about their ability to produce quality content.
ICFJ president Joyce Barnathan said the programme aims to improve the quality of digital journalism in the region.
“The MENA region lags in providing digital journalism and inspiring trust at a time when young audiences are clamouring for it,” Barnathan said.
“This far-reaching programme will significantly close the tech gap in the Middle East, and enhance the quality of digital news.”