Google says it is supporting a digital journalism initiative to train 6,000 African journalists within the next nine months.
Daniel Sieberg, the head, training and development, Google News Lab, made this known in a statement issued on Thursday in Lagos.
Sieberg said that the training would be done in collaboration with the World Bank and Code for Africa to equip journalists with data journalism skills within the nine months.
He said that the training would empower journalists in Africa by giving them the necessary support to better understand the web and how to use the available online.
According to him, the Code For Africa Digital Journalism Initiative will take place over the next nine months in 12 major African cities.
“The cities include Abuja, Lagos, Nairobi, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Casablanca, Dakar, Freetown, Dares Salaam, Kampala and Yaounde,” he said.
“Code For Africa is a data journalism and civic technology initiative operating across Africa that trains and supports journalists and civic activists to better understand and use web tools for news reporting and storytelling.
“Training will take place in three formats and beginning from June 15 and the in-person training sessions will be held in the cities mentioned above.
“In each city, we will conduct trainings in three newsrooms and trainings will be held twice a month for the duration of the initiative.
“Beginning from August, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) will be made freely available online, covering a range of web concepts and practices for digital journalists.”
Sieberg said that the monthly study group meet-ups would also be held in collaboration with Hacks/Hackers to provide more focused, in-person instruction.
He said that the monthly meetings would take place in Cameroon, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
According to him, the web and digital tools present an interesting array of options for journalists.
“However, learning how to use these tools can be a daunting task for many media people.
“While the global news industry faces a knowledge challenge with regards to digital tools, Africa, by virtue of its non-digital education systems, faces even greater odds in the battle for digital integration in news and storytelling.
“In Nigeria for instance, only a few of the journalism institutions offer training programmes that focus on web tools.
“Many top news organisations lose out on stories due to their inability to utilise newer and more engaging digital techniques.”
Sieberg said that in 2016, Google announced its commitment to train one million African youth within a year, to help them create and find jobs via the web.
“With the Digital Journalism Initiative, we want to contribute to the growth of Africa’s news and media ecosystem. This is by training present and future practitioners on how to employ existing tools to tell stories.
“We want to support them to create locally-relevant tools that will reshape how Africans consume news,” he said.