News Lab is a new site which aims to help journalists improve their reporting using a number of resources.
The site will contain programs, data and other resources which journalists can use, such as tutorials and best practices as to how to use Google products.
Google journalism initiatives under one roof
Other tools include access to the Google Trends service, which was updated not long ago, and information on Google’s media partnerships and citizen reporting initiatives.
Google has recently announced a number of initiatives aimed at ensuring a larger role for the company in journalism. Among their number was YouTube Newswire, a curated feed of verified, newsworthy content uploaded to the video sharing site, which Google announced in partnership with Storyful.
Supporting and verifying news videos will be made easier by a number of schemes such as WITNESS Media Lab, which is set to produce content on human rights issues, as well as The First Draft Collection, which will see journalism experts train others on how to use video content.
All of these projects will be contained within News Lab, which will serve as the definitive portal to Google’s journalism-related projects. Tools and resources will be listed at g.co/newslab, and information about the different projects will also be provided.
Google vying to be part of the reporting process
Existing partnerships are also displayed, including projects with Matter, Hackers/Hackers and the TechRaking summits being held in conjunction with the Center for Investigative Reporting. News Lab will also contain information on hackathons designed to drive the development of new investigative tools such as drones.
As well as acting as a source of information on these initiatives, News Lab will also act as the training and research department of Google’s Digital News Initiative in Europe.
Links to the Google Trends service and work by media organizations which used data from the service is highlighted in the “Data” section of News Lab. Trends was updated last week to include real-time data for 28 countries.
The changing landscape of the news ecosystem means that social media is often where news breaks first. Reporters then use social media posts, such as Facebook updates and tweets, in their stories.
A large proportion of citizen reports use social media, but few of them are on Google’s own social network, Google+. As a result. Google is presumably exploring other ways in which it can get involved in the process of reporting news, be that videos posted to YouTube or data collected from its search engine.
Tech companies as media sources
The vast amounts of data that the company holds could be valuable to journalists, and it is a wise move to sell the new service on those grounds. By aggregating relevant projects and initiatives in the News Lab, Google makes it easier for journalists to find and use the information, and increases the likelihood that its data will end up being used in a news story.
Google’s investment in the initiative provides evidence that the company believes that media and journalist are areas worthy of time and money, because quality news would attract more users and advertisers to its services.
Rivals such as Facebook have already released services such as Newswire, as well as “instant articles.” Snapchat is also making a move into news, and recruited Peter Hamby from CNN to run the new division, while Twitter has announced an upcoming curated news service which will be known as Project Lightning.
This latest announcement from Google provides further evidence that the competition to become a viable news source is heating up among tech companies.