Training

JournalismAI Academy for Small Newsrooms


A training programme to help small newsrooms leverage the power of artificial intelligence

The JournalismAI Academy for Small Newsrooms is a FREE online programme that offers a deep dive into the potential of artificial intelligence to journalists and media professionals from small newsrooms. It is designed by the JournalismAI team at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and powered by the Google News Initiative.

The Academy had its first edition in 2021 with a cohort of 20 participants from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Thanks to the experience of last year and the exceptional feedback we received from participants, in 2022 we are reopening the Academy for two more cohorts: in the Americas and in the Asia-Pacific region.

The 8-week programme will run through September and October 2022. It is designed for journalists and media professionals from small organisations (fewer than 100 employees):

  • 20 from the Americas (from GMT -8 to GMT -3)
  • and 20 from the Asia-Pacific region (from  GMT +5 to GMT +12)

[ Applications for the 2022 cohort are now closed. ]

In line with JournalismAI's mission to make the potential of AI more accessible for news organisations worldwide, the Academy aims to support small newsrooms that want to learn how AI can be used to enhance their journalism.

The programme combines a series of masterclasses given by experts working at the intersection of journalism and artificial intelligence with opportunities for discussion among participants. In addition to that, participants will be guided through the development of resources that can support their organisations’ AI-adoption journey during and after the programme.

The Academy is FREE for selected participants, thanks to the support of the Google News Initiative, which has been powering JournalismAI since 2019.

Please refer to the FAQs below for additional details on the structure of the programme, eligibility criteria, and how to apply.

 ❝ The JournalismAI Academy for Small Newsrooms is a must for anyone looking to break barriers and to have impact, whatever their professional designation. I came away feeling truly empowered and turbocharged about my ability to make a difference, both in my organisation and in the wider fact-checking and media ecosystem. ❞ 

— Lee Mwiti, Editor, Africa Check —

 

1. How do I apply to join the Academy?

Applications for the JournalismAI Academy for Small Newsrooms are now closed. If you have any questions, please contact Sabrina Argoub at sabrina@journalismai.info

 

2. What kind of candidates are you looking for?

The Academy is designed for journalists and media professionals working in small newsrooms (fewer than 100 employees), and who are fluent in English.

In 2022, we are selecting 20 participants from the Americas (from GMT -8 to GMT -3) and 20 participants from the Asia-Pacific region (from  GMT +5 to GMT +12). 

The ideal candidate already has a basic understanding of the potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning, and works in a news organisation that has started exploring how to use these new technologies. Candidates with different newsroom titles will be considered but, in the selection process, priority will be given to candidates that demonstrate the ability to influence the strategic adoption of AI in their news organisation to tackle journalistic challenges. 

No coding skills are required to attend the Academy, nor are there any other technical requirements, other than a stable WiFi connection to participate in the live activities. We encourage journalists and media professionals from all backgrounds to apply.

The Academy is not for freelancers – you need to be part of a newsroom to benefit from the programme. The Academy is not for journalists based outside the Americas and Asia-Pacific regions. Finally, the Academy is not for journalists who aren’t fluent in English.

3. How does the programme work?

The Academy is an 8-week fully-virtual programme, with six core modules, one introduction week, and one wrap-up week. Each module has a different focus:

MODULE #1 → KEY CONCEPTS AND DEFINITIONS

What do we mean exactly with "artificial intelligence"? What are the key concepts and definitions to understand AI and how it works? And what about all the other AI-related buzzwords like "machine learning", "neural networks", "NLP/NLG", etc.? In this first session, we'll clear the deck and tackle all the questions you never dared asking about AI.

MODULE #2 → APPLICATIONS OF AI IN JOURNALISM 

Artificial intelligence is already used by journalists and news organisations in a variety of different ways. This module will offer an overview of the most common use cases and analyse some specific examples of AI used by newsrooms to find and produce the news.

MODULE #3 → DATA & TECHNOLOGY 

AI doesn't work in a vacuum. You need data and an appropriate tech infrastructure. In this module, we'll look at the requirements needed to apply AI effectively. 

MODULE #4→ PEOPLE & CULTURE

What skills do the people in your newsroom need to leverage the power of AI? And how do you spread AI literacy in the newsroom? In this module, we'll look at the steps you need to take to put your people in the best position to adopt AI.

MODULE #5 → RISKS & CONCERNS

AI is a powerful technology but there are also risks associated with it. In this module we'll look at what can go wrong with AI and what safety nets we can and should design to mitigate the risks.

MODULE #6 → FROM IDEATION TO IMPLEMENTATION

At this point, you have all the important concepts and examples of applications; and you have prepared your newsroom to adopt AI. Now, where to start? In this last module, we'll sketch together a step-by-step plan to guide your AI processes. 

The Academy in 2022 will run through September and October for 8 weeks. The programme includes two sessions per week, and participants are expected to dedicate 4 hours per week to the programme, across the 8 weeks. Here is how the programme will be structured for each cohort in 2022:

AMERICAS:

  • Live presentation on Wednesday (90 minutes)
  • Live workshop on Friday (90 minutes)
  • Assignment to complete individually before the following meeting (~60 minutes)

ASIA-PACIFIC:

  • Live presentation on Tuesday (90 minutes)
  • Live workshop on Thursday (90 minutes)
  • Assignment to complete individually before the following meeting (~60 minutes)

4. What commitment do you ask from participants?

First and foremost, we ask participants to embrace the interactive and participatory nature of the Academy. The programme provides multiple opportunities to connect with experts as well as to develop a regional network of like-minded news innovators. 

If selected, you must commit to fully participate in the online sessions, to share your expertise with the other participants, and to approach the experience with enthusiasm, curiosity, and respect for your fellow participants. Participation in all the activities outlined above is mandatory.

In the application process, we ask for a letter of commitment from the management of the organisation that a candidate will represent at the Academy. If selected, you will be asked to sign a letter of personal commitment, in which you commit to attending all sessions and actively participate in all course activities.

5. Who are the instructors?

The Academy is coordinated by the JournalismAI team, with a stellar lineup of experts teaching the modules.

Below are some of the 2022 instructors that we already confirmed. You can find out more about them in this article. More instructors will be soon announced, so stay tuned and sign up for our newsletter to find out the full line-up of this year's Academy!

6. What will I get out of it?

Participants will leave the Academy with a practical understanding of the opportunities and challenges offered by AI technologies, examples of successful implementation, and the tools to set up an action plan to guide the development of AI projects in their news organisations.

Through engaging presentations and interactive workshops, the programme aims to help participants benefiting their own professional development and enabling their organisations to access AI adoption and implementation. 

By the end of the programme participants will have:

  • Improved their AI literacy and demystify the AI buzzwords
  • Gained new perspectives from a multicultural, interdisciplinary environment
  • Improved understanding of the potential offered to journalism by AI technologies
  • Learned new methods and skills to experiment and prototype new ideas
  • Developed their thinking about the role of technology in journalism
  • Learned about a set of AI-powered tools available for news organisations
  • Developed a regional network of like-minded news innovators

Here’s what participants of the 2021 JournalismAI Academy for Small Newsrooms had to say about their experience: 

❝ The JournalismAI Academy for Small Newsrooms was a fantastic opportunity that enriched my journalistic career and taught me that journalists should be involved in technological decisions and digital transformation in their newsrooms as much as technical people. The Academy made me realise how far behind we are in AI as small media organisations in the MENA region, and how we must work hard to change this reality as soon as possible.❞ 

— Saja Mortada, Data & Investigative Journalist, ARIJ —

❝ The Academy brought high-end AI experts from top media organisations to share their experiences and knowledge with our smaller newsrooms. This journey has been a fantastic shortcut to decide on our next steps into AI and has equipped us to ground it solidly on best practices.❞ 

— Erlends Calabuig, Chief Executive Officer, Euranet Plus —

7. Are there any costs for participation?

Thanks to the support of the Google News Initiative, the programme is entirely free for selected participants.

8. Is this the first edition of the Academy?

No, we launched the first edition of the Academy in 2021 with a cohort of 20 participants from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Some of the main takeaways from last year’s Academy were summarised by one of the instructors in this blog post.

9. Where can I find out more about JournalismAI?

Glad you asked! JournalismAI is a collaboration between Polis – the journalism think-tank at the London School of Economics and Political Science – and the Google News Initiative. Our mission is to empower news organisations to use artificial intelligence responsibly. 

The design of the JournalismAI activities is based on the findings of the global survey we conducted in 2019, which led to the publication of the report: New powers, New responsibilities. A global survey of journalism and artificial intelligence

To find out more, read our recent announcement on the Polis blog. You should sign up for our newsletter, follow our updates via Polis on Twitter, and join our Telegram group

10. How can I get in touch if I have any questions?

If you have any questions about the JournalismAI Academy for Small Newsrooms, please contact our Academy Lead, Sabrina Argoub, at sabrina@journalismai.info.

 

 ACADEMY TIMELINE

Academy_timelineThe JournalismAI Academy for Small Newsrooms is organised by the JournalismAI team at Polis – the journalism think-tank at the London School of Economics and Political Science – and it's supported by the Google News Initiative.

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