News Corp and Google to launch The Digital News Academy program – Mediaweek


News Corp Australia and Google Australia have announced they will establish a world-leading education program dedicated to digital journalism, The Digital News Academy.

The Digital News Academy’s mandate is to equip this generation of journalists, editors and publishers with the skills to empower their storytelling through a curriculum based on the commercial realities of today’s media industry. 

News Corp Australasia’s executive chairman Michael Miller said the Academy marked an important first for the digital era.

“This is the first time in the digital era that Australian media companies have made such a commitment – both intellectually and financially – to strengthen and future-proof journalism in this country, especially in regional Australia.”

The Academy will equip hundreds of journalists and media professionals from newsrooms across Australia with digital journalism skills.

“The partnership with Google means we will be able to bring our real world journalism experience to designing and delivering the curriculum while tapping into Google’s knowledge of content that resonates with audiences and the resources they have developed working with news organisations globally for many years,” Miller said.

Each year, beginning in early 2022, 250 journalists and news professionals from the largest to smallest newsrooms will learn the skills needed for their craft. Training opportunities will range from instant online tutorials to a formal education curriculum and exploration of the latest innovations in reporting and storytelling, and will include a major annual conference as well as a US study tour for a select group of trainees.

The trainees will be drawn from News Corp Australia and a range of small and regional publishers, including Australian Community Media. Smaller publishers from across the country will also be invited to participate.

Miller said it was particularly important to partner with smaller local and regional organisations because the future of all commercial news organisations rests on the ability to create and publish journalism that serves audiences in tangible, valuable ways.

“By ensuring these independent voices continue to be heard we will improve people’s lives – whether by highlighting injustices, campaigning on important causes, holding local government to account, or simply following the local footy team’s ups and downs.

“All Australians will benefit and it helps fulfil our promise to always strive to make a positive difference to the communities we serve.

“The Academy’s foundation mission is to assist news organisations large and small develop business models built on high value journalism.

“Exciting times lie ahead and show how competing media organisations can unite behind a common cause to serve the public interest.

“I thank Google for working with News Corp Australia in establishing the Academy and its further acknowledgment of journalism’s value and importance.

Google’s director of news partnerships for APAC, Kate Beddoe said the Academy was a significant investment in training and skills for local news in Australia.

“It builds on the work we’ve been doing for years in support of regional publishers,” Beddoe said.

“We’ve long partnered with the news industry in Australia, and this new initiative will benefit and support hundreds of journalists from across the Australian news industry.”

Australian Community Media CEO, Tony Kendall said: “Australian Community Media, Australia’s largest rural and regional publisher, will be a major participant in the program, receiving both training and trainees.

“ACM is delighted to be involved in this initiative. The ongoing training and upskilling of our editorial teams to meet the ever-changing demands on our consumers is a key priority for our business. This is evidenced by the recent appointment of Saffron Howden in the role of Editorial Training Manager. With Saffron’s experience, and the global expertise brought together in this program, this bi-partisan initiative will be fantastic for ACM editorial staff and the strength of regional journalism more broadly.”

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