Author Archives: David Dieudonné

Launching the AI Academy for small newsrooms

As people searched for the latest information on COVID-19 last year, including school reopenings and travel restrictions, the BBC recognized they needed to find new ways of bringing their journalism to their audiences. They released a new online tool, the BBC Corona Bot, which uses artificial intelligence to draw on BBC News’ explanatory journalism. It responds with an answer to a reader’s specific question where possible, or points to health authorities’ websites when appropriate. AI technology allowed BBC News to reach new audiences and drive more traffic to their stories and explainers. 

This is one example of how AI can help newsrooms. AI can help build new audiences and automate tasks, freeing up time for journalists to work on the more creative aspects of news production and leaving tedious and repetitive tasks to machines. However, newsrooms around the world have told researchers they worry that access to AI technology is unequal. They fear big publishers likely will benefit most from artificial intelligence, while smaller news organizations could get left behind. 

To help bridge this gap, the Google News Initiative is partnering with Polis, the London School of Economics and Political Science’s journalism think tank, to launch a training academy for 20 media professionals to learn how AI can be used to support their journalism. 

The AI Academy for Small Newsrooms is a six-week long, free online program taught by industry-leading journalists and researchers who work at the intersection of journalism and AI. It will start in September 2021 and will welcome journalists and developers from small news organizations in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region.

By the end of the course, participants will have a practical understanding of the challenges and opportunities of AI technologies. They will learn examples of how to use AI to automate repetitive tasks, such as interview transcription or image search, as well as how to optimize newsroom processes by getting insights on what content is most engaging.

For example, other newsrooms using AI technology in the region include Schibsted, a Nordic news outlet that developed an innovative model to reduce gender bias in news coverage, while in Spain, El Pais uses an AI-based tool to moderate toxic comments.

Most importantly, participants will create action plans to guide the development of AI projects within their news organizations. JournalismAI will share these plans openly to help other publishers around the world.

This pilot program — which we plan to launch in other regions in 2022 — is part of a broader training effort over the last three years by JournalismAI, a partnership between the GNI and Polis to forester AI literacy in newsrooms globally. More than 110,000 participants have already taken the online training modules available on the Google News Initiative Training Center.

This year, JournalismAI will also create an AI Journalism Starter Pack to make the information about AI in journalism more accessible to small and local publishers. It will include examples of AI tools that can solve small and local publishers' basic needs such as tagging or transcribing.

Find more detailed information on the AI Academy for Small Newsrooms and how to apply on the JournalismAI website. The deadline for applications is 11:59 PM GMT on August 1, 2021.

Helping newsrooms experiment together with AI

In our JournalismAI report, journalists around the world told researchers they are eager to collaborate and explore the benefits of AI, especially as it applies to newsgathering, production and distribution. 

To facilitate their collaboration, the Google News Initiative and Polis – the journalism think tank at the London School of Economics and Political Science – are launching the JournalismAI Collab Challenges, an opportunity for three groups of five newsrooms from the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific to experiment together.

Each cohort – selected by Polis – will have six months to either cover global news stories using AI-powered storytelling techniques or to develop prototypes of new AI-based products and processes.

Participants will receive support from the JournalismAI team and partner institutions in each region: in the Americas, the challenge will be co-hosted with the Knight Lab at Northwestern University; in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the challenge will be co-hosted with BBC News Labs and Clwstwr. JournalismAI’s partner in Asia Pacific will be announced later this year.

The Collab Challenges build on a successful pilot run by JournalismAI last year. More than 20 global newsrooms joined forces to solve four common problems using AI, from creating automated news summaries to mitigating newsroom biases, and from powering archives to increasing audience loyalty. JournalismAI online trainings are available on the Google News Initiative Training Center, where they have already been seen by more than 110,000 participants.

Newsrooms interested in participating in this free, year-long program must have made AI a strategic priority, must guarantee the participation of two staff members – one from editorial and one from the technical department – who can participate two to four hours a week, and must embrace collaboration with other publishers.

The outcome of their work – whose ownership will be shared among participants – will be presented at the second edition of the JournalismAI Festival in November.

Applications for the Americas challenge and the Europe, the Middle East and Africa Challenge open today and close at 11:59 PM GMT on April 5. The Challenge will open later this year in Asia Pacific.

To learn more about the process, please visit Polis blog and sign up for the JournalismAI newsletter.

Supporting diversity in European newsrooms

As European newsrooms seek to attract new talent, the Google News Initiative is again partnering with the European Journalism Centre to launch the 2021 Journalism Fellowship, with a new focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Starting today, students and recent graduates from 14 European countries who want to explore the intersection between journalism and technology can apply for a placement with a stipend in one of the 30 newsrooms selected by the EJC. Work placements on offer include Der Spiegel in Germany, Agence France-Presse in Paris and The Guardian in London.

The aim of the program is to provide the Fellows — chosen by the participating newsrooms — with valuable work experience over the summer months. This year, we expect many of the placements to be offered remotely, and we hope a new application process will help newsrooms to broaden their search for talent. Prior to selecting applicants, hiring managers in each news organization will be given the opportunity to learn about unconscious bias.

The European Fellowship program has run since 2016, after the original program, based in the U.S., started in 2013. Fellows receive a stipend for the duration of their placement and have access to a skills training bootcamp, including a self-empowerment workshop.

This year, the Google News Initiative and the European Journalism Centre will pilot a new alumni network program to help new Fellows connect with those from past cohorts. This will include peer-to-peer mentorship allowing Fellows to support one another with opportunities, career development and professional advice. 

Finally, as part of its ongoing partnership with the EJC, the Google News Initiative will support two News Impact Summit events in 2021, one entirely devoted to diversity, equality and inclusion, while the other will focus on data journalism. These one-day online events will feature renowned international speakers and provide training opportunities for journalists across Europe. 

Applications for The GNI Fellowship close April 25, 2021. For full application requirements, visit the fellowship website.

When newsrooms collaborate with AI

Two years ago, the Google News Initiative partnered with the London School of Economics and Political Science to launch JournalismAI, a global effort to foster media literacy in newsrooms through research, training and experimentation.  

Since then, more than 62 thousand journalists have taken Introduction to Machine Learning, an online course provided in 17 languages in partnership with Belgian broadcaster VRT. More than 4,000 people have downloaded the JournalismAI report, which argued that “robots are not going to take over journalism” and that media organizations are keen to collaborate with one another and with technology companies. And over 20 media organizations including La Nación, Reuters, the South China Morning Post and The Washington Post have joined Collab, a global partnership to experiment with AI.

To mark this anniversary, together with the London School of Economics, we are hosting a week-long online event to bring together international academics, publishers and practitioners. From December 7 through December 11, the JournalismAI Festival will feature speakers and case studies from major global organizations including the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Schibsted and Nikkei. 

This unique gathering will be an opportunity to hear the Collab teams present findings around key challenges such as using AI to understand, identify and mitigate newsroom biases, and increase audience loyalty.  

We’ll also present Pinpoint, Google’s tool to help reporters quickly research hundreds of thousands of documents by automatically identifying the most commonly mentioned people, places, and locations. 


20+ news organizations have been working collaboratively since June to solve common challenges with AI.

20+ news organizations have been working collaboratively since June to solve common challenges with AI.

To offer journalists a more hands-on approach to machine learning, JournalismAI is simultaneously launching a new training course with Ukrainian data journalism agency Texty. This resource, available on the GNI Training Center in 16 languages, will help journalists learn how to train an algorithm to identify similar patterns in satellite imagery using Google Cloud AutoML Vision. In 2018, Texty published Leprosy of the Land, an investigation in which they used machine learning techniques to detect cases of illegal amber mining across Ukraine.

In this investigation, Ukranian data journalism agency Texty used machine learning to detect cases of illegal amber mining.

In this investigation, Ukranian data journalism agency Texty used machine learning to detect cases of illegal amber mining.

In our training course, we’ll be helping reporters build a similar model that Texty used for their investigation. The dedicated GNI Live training sessions will take place over the week in multiple countries and in six languages.

You can join by signing up for the JournalismAI newsletter. You will receive updates and free access to the festival.

Fact-checking the French election: lessons from CrossCheck, a collaborative effort to combat misinformation

Nine months ago, 37 newsrooms worked together to combat misinformation in the run-up to the French Presidential election. Organized by First Draft, and supported by the Google News Lab, CrossCheck launched a virtual newsroom, where fact-checkers collaborated to verify disputed online content and share fact-checked information back to the public.


The initiative was a part of the News Lab’s broader effort to help journalists curb the spread of misinformation during important cultural and political moments. With a recent study finding that nearly 25% of all news stories about the French Presidential election shared on social media were fake, it was important for French newsrooms to work closely together to combat misinformation in a timely fashion. 


Yesterday at our office in Paris, alongside many of the newsrooms who took part in the initiative, we released a report on the project produced by academics from the University of Toulouse and Grenoble Alpes University. The report explored the impact the project had on the newsrooms and journalists involved, and the general public.

  A few themes emerged from the report:

  • Accuracy in reporting rises above competition. While news organizations operate in a highly competitive landscape, there was broad agreement that “debunking work should not be competitive” and should be “considered a public service." That spirit was echoed by the willingness of 100 journalists to work together and share information for ten weeks leading up to Election Day. Many of the journalists talked about the sense of pride they felt doing this work together. As one journalist put it, “debunking fake news is not a scoop.”    
  • The initiative helped spread best practices around verification for journalists. Journalists interviewed for the report discussed the value of the news skills the picked up around fact-checking, image verification, and video authentication—and the lasting impact that would have on their work. One journalist noted, “I strengthened my reflexes, I progressed in my profession, in fact-checking, and gained efficiency and speed working with user generated content.” 
  • Efforts to ensure accuracy in reporting are important for news consumers. The project resonated with many news consumers who saw the effort as independent, impartial and credible (reinforced by the number of news organizations that participated).  By the end of the election, the CrossCheck blog hit nearly 600,000 page views, had roughly 5K followers on Twitter 180K followers on Facebook (where its videos amassed 1.2M views). As one news reader noted, ““many people around me were convinced that a particular piece of misinformation was true before I demonstrated the opposite to them,” said one person. “This changed how they voted.”

You can learn more about the News Lab’s efforts to work with the news industry to increase trust and fight misinformation here.

Fact-checking the French election: lessons from CrossCheck, a collaborative effort to combat misinformation

Nine months ago, 37 newsrooms worked together to combat misinformation in the run-up to the French Presidential election. Organized by First Draft, and supported by the Google News Lab, CrossCheck launched a virtual newsroom, where fact-checkers collaborated to verify disputed online content and share fact-checked information back to the public.


The initiative was a part of the News Lab’s broader effort to help journalists curb the spread of misinformation during important cultural and political moments. With a recent study finding that nearly 25% of all news stories about the French Presidential election shared on social media were fake, it was important for French newsrooms to work closely together to combat misinformation in a timely fashion. 


Yesterday at our office in Paris, alongside many of the newsrooms who took part in the initiative, we released a report on the project produced by academics from the University of Toulouse and Grenoble Alpes University. The report explored the impact the project had on the newsrooms and journalists involved, and the general public.

  A few themes emerged from the report:

  • Accuracy in reporting rises above competition. While news organizations operate in a highly competitive landscape, there was broad agreement that “debunking work should not be competitive” and should be “considered a public service." That spirit was echoed by the willingness of 100 journalists to work together and share information for ten weeks leading up to Election Day. Many of the journalists talked about the sense of pride they felt doing this work together. As one journalist put it, “debunking fake news is not a scoop.”    
  • The initiative helped spread best practices around verification for journalists. Journalists interviewed for the report discussed the value of the news skills the picked up around fact-checking, image verification, and video authentication—and the lasting impact that would have on their work. One journalist noted, “I strengthened my reflexes, I progressed in my profession, in fact-checking, and gained efficiency and speed working with user generated content.” 
  • Efforts to ensure accuracy in reporting are important for news consumers. The project resonated with many news consumers who saw the effort as independent, impartial and credible (reinforced by the number of news organizations that participated).  By the end of the election, the CrossCheck blog hit nearly 600,000 page views, had roughly 5K followers on Twitter 180K followers on Facebook (where its videos amassed 1.2M views). As one news reader noted, ““many people around me were convinced that a particular piece of misinformation was true before I demonstrated the opposite to them,” said one person. “This changed how they voted.”

You can learn more about the News Lab’s efforts to work with the news industry to increase trust and fight misinformation here.

CrossCheck: Partnering with First Draft and newsrooms in the leadup to French elections

At today’s News Impact Summit in Paris, in partnership with First Draft, the Google News Lab is proud to support the launch of CrossCheck, a coalition news verification project. With a goal of helping the French electorate make sense of what and who to trust in their social media feeds, web searches and general online news consumption in the coming months, we’re working with 17 newsrooms and counting, and technology partners including Facebook’s CrowdTangle and others .

After successfully joining forces with First Draft and many other news organizations and technology platforms on the Electionland project during the US election, launching CrossCheck in France is a natural next step.  We’re excited to be a part of such a uniquely effective and collaborative approach with newsrooms across France to cover one of Europe’s most-watched elections. We’re incredibly proud of this partnership and the new model of collaborative journalism it’s pioneering.

With combined expertise from across media and technology, CrossCheck aims to ensure hoaxes, rumours and false claims are swiftly debunked, and misleading or confusing stories are accurately reported. With the French presidential election approaching, journalists from across France and beyond will work together to find and verify content circulating publicly online, whether it is photographs, videos, memes, comment threads and news sites. CrossCheck partners will make use of the collective reporting in their own articles, television programs and social media content.

Early partners include AFP (Agence France-Presse), BuzzFeed News, France Médias Monde (via les Observateurs de France 24), France Télévisions, Global Voices, Libération, La Provence, Les Echos, La Voix du Nord, Le Monde (Les Décodeurs), Nice-Matin, Ouest-France, Rue89 Bordeaux, Rue89Lyon, Rue89 Strasbourg, Storyful and StreetPress.

For more information, including how you, your newsroom or your classroom can get involved in the efforts to debunk myths, visit First Draft or sign up to the CrossCheck newsletter.. For more on the Google News Lab, including trainings, trends and tools for journalists, visit newslab.withgoogle.com.

CrossCheck: Partnering with First Draft and newsrooms in the leadup to French elections

At today’s News Impact Summit in Paris, in partnership with First Draft, the Google News Lab is proud to support the launch of CrossCheck, a coalition news verification project. With a goal of helping the French electorate make sense of what and who to trust in their social media feeds, web searches and general online news consumption in the coming months, we’re working with 17 newsrooms and counting, and technology partners including Facebook’s CrowdTangle and others .

After successfully joining forces with First Draft and many other news organizations and technology platforms on the Electionland project during the US election, launching CrossCheck in France is a natural next step.  We’re excited to be a part of such a uniquely effective and collaborative approach with newsrooms across France to cover one of Europe’s most-watched elections. We’re incredibly proud of this partnership and the new model of collaborative journalism it’s pioneering.

With combined expertise from across media and technology, CrossCheck aims to ensure hoaxes, rumours and false claims are swiftly debunked, and misleading or confusing stories are accurately reported. With the French presidential election approaching, journalists from across France and beyond will work together to find and verify content circulating publicly online, whether it is photographs, videos, memes, comment threads and news sites. CrossCheck partners will make use of the collective reporting in their own articles, television programs and social media content.

Early partners include AFP (Agence France-Presse), BuzzFeed News, France Médias Monde (via les Observateurs de France 24), France Télévisions, Global Voices, Libération, La Provence, Les Echos, La Voix du Nord, Le Monde (Les Décodeurs), Nice-Matin, Ouest-France, Rue89 Bordeaux, Rue89Lyon, Rue89 Strasbourg, Storyful and StreetPress.

For more information, including how you, your newsroom or your classroom can get involved in the efforts to debunk myths, visit First Draft or sign up to the CrossCheck newsletter.. For more on the Google News Lab, including trainings, trends and tools for journalists, visit newslab.withgoogle.com.

CrossCheck: Partnering with First Draft and newsrooms in the leadup to French elections

At today’s News Impact Summit in Paris, in partnership with First Draft, the Google News Lab is proud to support the launch of CrossCheck, a coalition news verification project. With a goal of helping the French electorate make sense of what and who to trust in their social media feeds, web searches and general online news consumption in the coming months, we’re working with 17 newsrooms and counting, and technology partners including Facebook’s CrowdTangle and others .

After successfully joining forces with First Draft and many other news organizations and technology platforms on the Electionland project during the US election, launching CrossCheck in France is a natural next step.  We’re excited to be a part of such a uniquely effective and collaborative approach with newsrooms across France to cover one of Europe’s most-watched elections. We’re incredibly proud of this partnership and the new model of collaborative journalism it’s pioneering.

With combined expertise from across media and technology, CrossCheck aims to ensure hoaxes, rumours and false claims are swiftly debunked, and misleading or confusing stories are accurately reported. With the French presidential election approaching, journalists from across France and beyond will work together to find and verify content circulating publicly online, whether it is photographs, videos, memes, comment threads and news sites. CrossCheck partners will make use of the collective reporting in their own articles, television programs and social media content.

Early partners include AFP (Agence France-Presse), BuzzFeed News, France Médias Monde (via les Observateurs de France 24), France Télévisions, Global Voices, Libération, La Provence, Les Echos, La Voix du Nord, Le Monde (Les Décodeurs), Nice-Matin, Ouest-France, Rue89 Bordeaux, Rue89Lyon, Rue89 Strasbourg, Storyful and StreetPress.

For more information, including how you, your newsroom or your classroom can get involved in the efforts to debunk myths, visit First Draft or sign up to the CrossCheck newsletter.. For more on the Google News Lab, including trainings, trends and tools for journalists, visit newslab.withgoogle.com.