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Google News Initiative

Expanding the Google News Initiative India Training Network and adding five new languages: Punjabi, Assamese, Gujarati, Odia and Malayalam



Supporting trusted, authoritative journalism is a top priority for us at Google, which is why in 2018, we launched the Google News Initiative Training Network in India to support journalists and newsrooms in learning the digital skills they needed to verify and tackle online misinformation.

Since that launch, and in partnership with DataLeads, the Network has till date organised over 700 workshops and trained 39,000+ journalists, media educators, fact-checkers and journalism students from over 2300 newsrooms and media colleges in at least 10 languages. Many of our program alumni are now leading counter-misinformation, fact-checking and media literacy initiatives for their communities and working with multiple stakeholders like researchers, academics, civil society members to collaboratively tackle this challenge - one that none can solve alone.

In 2022, as we mark four years of the coming together of this collaboration, we are expanding this network to include five new languages: Punjabi, Assamese, Gujarati, Odia and Malayalam. In partnership with DataLeads, we will also launch the Fact-Check Academy and induct 100 new trainers to help newsrooms and journalists build capacity to tackle climate misinformation and verify misleading data and claims that include false numbers.

If you are a journalist, a journalism professor or a fact-checker keen to join the network as a trainer and help your colleagues tackle misinformation by learning verification skills and techniques from the experts, please apply here.

Selected candidates will join a 3-day fully-supported residency train-the-trainer program on the dates indicated below. Preference will be given to those from the new languages and with prior data or science journalism experience. The deadline to apply is 30th July, 2022.

Dates for the train-the-trainer boot camp:

  • ToT 1 - August 3-4-5 (Wed-Thu-Fri)
  • ToT 2 - August 24-25-26 (Wed-Thu-Fri)

In the 3-day train-the-trainer boot camp*, selected candidates will hone their skills in verification and training. Global verification experts and Indian fact-checkers will train them on a curriculum built in consultation with the Science Journalists Association of India, Amity University, Jagran Lakecity University and OP Jindal Global University.

Once trained, you will be expected to share what you have learnt with colleagues in your own newsrooms and regions by conducting workshops and training sessions both online and when possible, in person. For more program details and FAQs, see here.

This four-year journey wouldn’t have been half as special had it not been for the passion, commitment and collaborative spirit of the network trainers - 239 journalists, fact checkers and media educators from different newsrooms and colleges who came forward to lead this challenge and shared their learning with others in the ecosystem. As we reflect on this journey, Here’s a look at what some of our program participants from earlier editions have to say about this collaboration:

“It has been four years since I started my journey as a trainer in Fact-checking and Verification. In the year 2018 when the first Training of Trainers (ToT) was conducted I had very little idea that this training programme will not only define the kinds of training programmes I'll be conducting in the next few years but also the kind of network I'll build. What Google News Initiative India Training Network did was to provide a platform where Industry experts and academicians learned from each other. As a Professor and Head of theDepartment of New Media and as Course Director of Advertising and Public Relations course at IIMC, I received immense help from all my fellow fact-checkers in teaching and curriculum development. Skills like fact checking and verification should not just be limited to the journalists, media educators and media students and therefore I conducted workshops for officers from armed forces, para military forces and for information officers and also bureaucrats. Understanding the need of media literacy in India, I have co-authored the Indian edition of Media Literacy: Key to interpreting media messages book developed under Digital International Media Literacy Project. Being part of GNI has been a unique and enriching experience for me as a teacher. While the entire journey was so full of learning experiences which I am sure will continue forever, there is one thing that gives me the utmost satisfaction and that is when my students call me up and tell me, “Ma’am I have joined the fact-checking organization or Fact-checking desk". That is the time when I feel that as a collective 'WE DID IT'.”

Prof. (Dr.) Anubhuti Yadav, Head, Department of New Media & Technology Course, Indian Institute of Mass Communication New Delhi

“It was only day one of the four-day verification bootcamp by Google News Initiative and a whole new world had opened up for me. With the new learnings and tools, I wielded my ‘verification ninja’ skills everywhere I could – from my own newsroom to journalism schools and even in private chat app groups. I have been learning and writing about climate misinformation. In India, it occurs more because of low awareness or misinterpretation of the complex subject. Globally, climate misinformation is a growing threat. Collaboration, a quest for learning and the pursuit of truth has kept our GNI network thriving – and this gives us the power and confidence to tackle any upcoming waves of misinformation.”

Aditi Tandon Production Editor, Mongabay-India, Mumbai, Maharashtra

“In 2018 I got the opportunity to participate in the fact-checking Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop organized by Google News Initiative India Training Network. It was this workshop that not only helped me understand how much misinformation floated around but trained me on how to debunk such misinformation and contribute to creating a healthier and fact-based information ecosystem particularly in Telugu media. In 2019 I joined Newsmeter, a fact-checking website in English and Telugu. In September 2019, we started the fact-checking section at Newsmeter and within a year we achieved the status of IFCN signatory. Even after Newsmeter, fact-checking has become a core part of my life. I am proud to say that I have contributed to multiple projects to fight covid misinformation like VaxCheck, and also media literacy programs for students like BBC Young Reporter India. Realizing the importance of having more fact-checkers and fact-checking organizations in Telugu, I am now training Telugu TV journalists and reporters on fact-checking in collaboration with Osmania University."

Satya Priya BN, Fact Check Lead, Telugupost.com, Hyderabad, Telangana

"Our association with GNI-DataLeads’ Training of Trainers (ToT) started just after India Today delved into fact-checking way back in 2018. The ToT program helped us prepare a roadmap and sensitise our entire editorial team about the fundamentals of fact-checking. The best thing about the ToT program is that rather than being a static training program, it is a lively and dynamic group of people who interact frequently, share useful knowledge, and respond quickly to an evolving situation. This is one program that is helping people in India access quality and credible information, and ensuring that the people in the business of disinformation never get the upper hand."

Bal Krishna, Senior Editor - Fact Check, India Today Group

In the context of media literacy fighting misinformation, the addition of every new trainer works as a force multiplier and we deeply value their support as we carry this work forward each year.

*subject to terms and conditions