UCLan joins Google News Lab University Network

19 February 2018

Journalism students attend first in a series of workshops with global powerhouse

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has been chosen to receive training and support from Google News Lab.

The institution’s journalism programme has become one of 150 around the world to gain help with a system developed for professional newsrooms by the international technology powerhouse.

Google News Lab University Network provides in-person training, when possible, and online training materials to professors and students on topics ranging from immersive storytelling, data journalism, trends, trust/verification and more.

Vincent Ryan, a former business reporter at The Sunday Times, is a Google News Lab teaching fellow and he delivered the first workshop to first-year students at University’s Preston Campus.

Describing Google News Lab as ‘the voice of journalism within Google,’ he said: “My role as an honorary teaching fellow is to go out to newsrooms, to universities and to teach journalists about Google’s tools and how they’re used.

“We don’t just stick to Google’s tools because we see our roles going further than that and particularly now when newsrooms are so bombarded and it’s hard to keep up and constantly verify everything. Anything that can make journalists jobs easier, we try and give them.”

"It is an important step in futureproofing the careers of our journalism graduates and preparing them to succeed in the newsroom of tomorrow."

The benefits of this newly formed connection with Google News Lab for UCLan students are huge. It not only provides them with networking opportunities but also the chance to learn from current experts and professionals in the field.

Student Jack Dinsley, who attended the first workshop, explained: “I found it really useful; learning about the world of Google and how it involves us as journalists.”

Dr Francois Nel, Reader in Media Innovation at UCLan and a tutor in data journalism, commented: “Being part of this network will enable our students and staff to remain at the forefront of technology and to continue to develop innovative storytelling techniques.”

UCLan’s Academic Lead for Journalism Julie Freer added: “It is an important step in futureproofing the careers of our journalism graduates and preparing them to succeed in the newsroom of tomorrow.”

This latest initiative extends the collaboration between Google and the journalism programme at UCLan. Google has supported Dr Nel’s earlier work on the Media And Digital Enterprise (MADE) project and John Mills’ current ‘NewsThings’ research into news on connected objects and the Internet of Things, which is supported through a grant from the Google’s Digital News Initiative fund.

Google says its lab works with newsrooms, start-ups and innovative journalism organisations around the world to use Google technology, data and resources. Other participants include The Poynter Institute, in Florida, and Stanford University, in California.

Google explained its News Lab and its University Network on Medium.