In July, we launched the Academy with the support of the Google News Initiative. The programme will kickstart small news organisations’ AI-adoption journey. It is free to participate in and will run for six weeks starting in September 2021.
Selected participants come from 16 different countries, including Nigeria, Lebanon, Denmark, Kenya, Turkey, and Spain. They work for investigative journalism organisations, newspapers, news podcasts, financial news outlets, and other types of news organisations.
When it comes to adopting AI, smaller news organisations risk falling behind. We first warned of the issue in our 2019 report, New Powers, New Responsibilities, where we recorded the role of AI in widening inequalities within the journalism industry. Smaller news organisations face multiple challenges, from competing for a limited pool of tech talent, to cost considerations and the lack of an industry-wide playbook that they can emulate.
With this programme, we hope to help small and digital-native news organisations leverage the full potential of artificial intelligence.
“Around the world, we are seeing an exciting growth of smaller, often specialist news organisations doing journalism in different ways for more diverse audiences. But there’s a real risk that they don’t benefit from the economic and editorial gains to be had through deploying AI technologies because they lack the knowledge or resources of bigger newsrooms,” says Charlie Beckett, Director of Polis and JournalismAI.
“The participants are all from innovative and committed news organisations, and we hope the Academy will give them the insights and information to augment their work with AI tools and systems.”
Participants will learn from industry-leading experts working at the intersection of journalism and AI. Many of them lead AI projects within their news organisations.
Throughout the course, participants will contribute to the development of a strategic action plan that may guide their future steps towards implementing AI-powered tools in their organisations. This document will be an open-source directory for small news organisations that would like to begin their AI journey.
Meet the participants of the 2021 AI Academy for Small Newsrooms:
- Rebecca Appel is audience development manager at TRF News, the digital newsroom of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, in London, UK.
- Emmanuel Chenze is the head of data and fact-checking desk for the independent investigative media house Africa Uncensored in Kenya.
- Chantal Verkroost is the fundraising coordinator at Bellingcat, an independent international collective of OSINT researchers, investigators, and citizen journalists, based in the Netherlands.
- Osama Abdelrahman is the social media manager at Mada Masr, an independent digital media organisation in Egypt.
- Andrés Jimenez MacKellar is a journalist and debunking coordinator at Maldita, a non-profit foundation and media outlet that fights against misinformation in Spain.
- Ajibola Amzat is an editor at the International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), a non-profit news agency in Nigeria.
- Rute Correia is the director of Interruptor, a Portuguese digital outlet taking a data-driven approach to analyse cultural issues, beyond current affairs.
- Lee Mwiti is an editor at Africa Check, an independent fact-checking organisation in South Africa.
- Saja Mortada is a data and investigative journalist for the Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ), an independent training network and investigative journalism centre in Lebanon.
- Alastair Otter is the managing partner and developer for The Outlier, an independent publication that uses data to create public service stories – part of the Media Hack Collective in South Africa.
- Daniel Rzasa is editor-in-chief at 300Gospodarka, a start-up economic news website in Poland.
- Nilgün Yılmaz is an editor at Teyit, an independent fact-checking organisation in Turkey.
- Frederik Kulager is a tech reporter at Zetland, a digital publisher dedicated to journalism as a force for good in Denmark.
- Erlends Calabuig is the CEO of Euranet Plus, a pan-European radio network specialised in EU-news coverage in Brussels, Belgium.
- Dímitra Létsa is the CEO and publisher of Moonshot News, a newly-launched website from Sweden for women in IT and Media, with a strong diversity and inclusion focus in those business areas.
- Sabin Muzaffar is the founder and executive editor for AnankeMag, a digital media and development platform empowering women through awareness, advocacy and education in the UAE.
- Josè Manuel Cuevas is an editor for El Orden Mundial, a Spanish digital platform focusing on international news.
- Rana Daoud is a senior producer for Sowt in Lebanon, a podcasting platform that produces and distributes high-quality audio programs in Arabic.
- Amanda Strydom is the senior programme manager for CivicSignal, a programme of Code for Africa that consists of a team of journalists using investigative entity analysis and OSINT to combat disinformation from South Afrca.
- Arnold Khachaturov is the head of data for Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian media focused on investigative journalism, human rights activism and political reporting.
We received over 250 applications for the Academy and we would like to thank everyone who took the time to apply. The programme is in its pilot phase this year and we hope to extend it to other regions of the world in 2022. Sign up for our newsletter to receive future updates and opportunities from JournalismAI.