Citizen journalism is playing a crucial role in helping South African communities unite. Food for Manzi is one organization which tells the untold stories of rural communities and agriculture in South Africa to challenge stereotypes and spread positivity. With support from the Google News Initiative, they set up the Sinelizwi citizen journalism project which trained 62 citizens from all nine Provinces to tell local stories to empower and unite local communities.
Projects like this are why Google invests in the Google News Initiative (GNI), and this week we held the first GNI for Africa event.
The event is an opportunity for journalists, publishers and content creators in Africa to find out more about Google’s training programmes for journalists and news business professionals. From understanding how small and medium size news organizations can grow their digital business to how to use consumer insights and data to better understand reader preferences and increase profitability and engagement, the event brings together experts from Google and the industry to share tools, training and best practices.
The news landscape in Africa is changing fast. In five years, the number of people accessing digital platforms for news content has almost doubled, opening up access to news and supporting a new generation of independent and digital media. Yet not everyone has the opportunity to access digital media, and many more people and communities are not represented in the news. Organizations working to change this, like Pulse in Nigeria, were also part of the event. They spoke about how they have used new digital formats to engage a mass youth audience and developed formats like Explainers to provide additional — and very much needed — context to the flow of information.
At the event, we also announced a partnership with UNESCO to further invest in training for journalists in Africa. Using its networks of established journalism schools, UNESCO will launch a collaborative programme to update journalism education and training programmes run by over 100 expert institutions in Africa, enabling them to better respond to the major changes in journalism and publishing in recent times. This new training initiative will roll out over the next 18 months.
Google is increasing its investment in and support of journalism in Africa, including hiring a News Lab Teaching Fellow who provides locally relevant training for journalists in Southern Africa and programmes such as the Digital Growth Programme and Innovation Challenges which support publishers in their digital transformation. To be part of this training send an email to email@example.com.