For many years, Google has incurred substantial criticism from a number of many investigative journalists. By partnering up with the British Center for Investigative Journalism, Google intends to help copywriters fully master digital tools. A new round in the scuffle between Google and the news industry.
The American tech giant and the Center will be jointly running 20 free workshops in the UK, thanks to the “Access to the tools” program. Those will be available to freelancers, staff editors and copywriters.
Google wants to defend one of its unambiguous goal : to support high-quality journalism and help journalists discover how digital tools can help them get to the facts, or even look further and deeper, more quickly.
The GAFAM also promised featuring technologies from a range of diverse providers, and not only its own during these practical workshops. The partnership could also lead to a conference in northern England, in order to offer those skills to a wider audience, in particular for journalists working outside of London.
Picking up the pieces of a complex relationship
But let’s not fool ourselves : this campaign is above all an attempt from Google to get back to a better relationship with the news industry. Indeed, the Silicon Valley giant already have had some disagreements with journalists over the years. The browser is frequently accused of presenting Google News articles to users, stopping them from consulting original news sources, and thus depriving the concerned media of its publicity incomes. Since then, the search engine launched a format allowing viewers to see stories from different media with accelerated loading times, yet, delivered with a Google URL, preventing the source of the article from perceiving the advertising revenues which are due, once again.
To offset these controversies, Google launched its Google News Initiative, last March. This platform was made for European news organizations and provides grants to companies bringing the most innovative technologies in the newsroom. Online courses should also be offer to users soon enough.
As for the CIJ, such a partnership will allow the center’s participants to fully master new tools, CIJ director, James Harkin said that his “leading concern is to put the best tools in the hands of investigative journalists, and then grow their expertise in using them”.
A win-win situation for journalists and Google, which still tries to regain prestige with the media.