Seven things I’ve learned by training more than 2,000 journalists with the Google News Lab
One event after another, one call after another, since I started working as a Google News Lab Teaching Fellow (August 2021), counting all the appearances at the training sessions, we exceeded 2,200 units.
I also did six training events a week, among the most disparate: I met both freelancers and journalism students and associations such as ANSO; I provided workshops for the continuous training program of the Ordine dei Giornalisti, for very small, hyper-local, innovative, and for large and historical editorial offices. Each time, I brought a piece of what I know about the digital ecosystem, what I have learned from the people who work at the Google News Initiative, of the tools we have at our disposal to do our job as journalists better.
If you want to know what I learned in this journey, which will continue until July, continue reading.
1) The editorial staff of the Papersera had already foreseen everything
There is a story published for the first time about a Topolino in Brazil in 1977. Uncle Scrooge (Publisher/director of the Papersera) takes a robot to be a reporter. His journalists, Donald Duck and Fethry Duck react in two opposite ways: Fethry is happy because he thinks that the machine will replace him, working for him. Donald is desperate because he thinks the robot will replace him and make him lose his job. There is another possible reaction: Learning how to use the tools. Technology is an enabling tool. It increases our chances of working as journalists most effectively. It allows us to provide the people with the journalism they need.
2) There is a great desire to know
We live in the age of lifelong learning. Anyone who thinks journalism is in a period of weariness and weakness should see how enthusiastically journalists of all ages experiment and learn new tools. Freelance groups have self-organized to ask for courses and insights at specific times: this is the most exciting lesson.