Nicholas Whitaker
Aug 3, 2018 · 3 min read

Journalism schools around the world are doing important work, shaping the future of media by training the next generation of journalists in their classrooms. The Google News Initiative believes Google’s tools can play a unique role in helping provide the skills necessary for these students to succeed in the newsrooms of tomorrow.

With more than 400 members, the Google News Initiative University Network is now nearly five times the size it was at launch in December 2016. Over the first eighteen months, the program has fostered a community of scholars and journalists that is dedicated to verification and fact checking, immersive storytelling and data journalism.

Deb Wenger, SPJ Trainer and Assistant Dean for Innovation and Partnerships and Associate Professor, The Meek School of Journalism and New Media at The University of Mississippi working with students as part of the University Network Training efforts

The Google News Initiative is proud to announce that is offering instructional tools that educators can download directly and incorporate immediately into their classrooms. At the annual convention for the Association of Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication August 5–9, 2018 in Washington, DC, the News Initiative launched the first of its customizable, instructional modules to the University Network, with a focus on:

  • Safety & SecurityHow to protect yourself and your news organization from hacking, digital attacks and censorship while using Google tools.
  • Verification and Fact CheckingHow to verify the authenticity and accuracy of images, videos and reports that you find in social media and elsewhere online.
  • Search & Data Acquisition — How to use Search and other Google tools more effectively, especially to find data you need to tell more compelling stories.

in 2019, The Google News Initiative has also launched three new modules,

  • Finding Data Stories in Google Trends How to use the Google Trends “Explore” feature to find relevant data for storytelling by searching and comparing topics.
  • Creating a Story Dataset How to create a dataset using Google Sheets, including functions and formulas to help find the stories within your data.
  • Visualizing Data for Stories
    How to create and use simple data visualizations as an essential storytelling tool for enhancing audience engagement and understanding.

All of the modules mentioned above can be found at

If you choose to use the modules in your classes, or have feedback to share, please take 3 minutes to fill out this feedback form. We will take all feedback into consideration as we update and refine these modules in the future.

The modules have been developed and edited by professors from the Society of Professional Journalists, working in association with the Google News Initiative to deliver workshops on these topics to newsrooms and on campuses across the country.

You can learn more about Google’s tools for journalism, and find self paced training courses on these and other topics at

Just as we work with newsrooms, we want to support journalism educators with trainings and tools that are tailored to meet their specific needs.

If you’re a professor or university administrator, you can sign up to join the University network free of charge.

If you’re at a United States based University, you can sign up for free in person training at

For international training requests or questions about the program, email

Google News Lab

We work with journalists and entrepreneurs to build the future of media with Google. The News Lab is Google's effort to empower innovation at the intersection of media and technology

Nicholas Whitaker

Written by

Strategic Partner Lead at Google - News and Local Media.

Google News Lab

We work with journalists and entrepreneurs to build the future of media with Google. The News Lab is Google's effort to empower innovation at the intersection of media and technology

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