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Journalists should work together to drive quality reporting, says Google

Cooke noted that collaboration among journalists from various media organisations will tackle the challenge of verification.

With the demand for quality journalism and information that people can trust growing as high as ever been, it would be best for journalists to band together and collaborate in gathering news and fact-checking, a senior official at Google said during the 17th Arab Media Forum in Dubai on Wednesday.

London-based Matt Cooke, head of Google News Lab International, said news organisations should work together and utilise technology effectively in order to survive the dramatic shifts happening to global journalism. Cooke noted that collaboration among journalists from various media organisations will tackle the challenge of verification.

He said based on the recent collaboration of the internet search engine with journalists covering the recent elections in Europe, journalists themselves noted “strongly that debunking disputed content should be collaborative and not competitive”.

He explained that working transparently and “showing your work” produces higher quality journalism because other journalists can verify or fact-check your reports.

“Working together provides feedback,” he emphasised.

With regards to false information, sometimes “it makes sense to ignore disputed content to avoid providing oxygen to rumours,” he added.

Cooke underlined that it’s high time journalists banded together as “trust in the media is being challenged across the world”. He noted that 82 per cent of countries distrust media and trust fell to an all-time low of -43 per cent across the world last year.

He noted that “mistrust is driven by ideological polarisation and the spread of misinformation online”.

Cooke also said that revenue pressure has led to publisher consolidation, particularly for local newspapers. “As a result, fewer communities have access to quality news content. For example, news deserts (states where there are no media hubs) are growing in the US,” he added.

As a leading search engine, Cooke noted that Google is collaborating with journalists around the world to better understand the role of journalists and improve the exchange of information.

He said Google launched in New York last week Global News Initiative (GNI) aimed at elevating and strengthening quality journalism, learning the evolving business models to drive sustainable growth, and empowering news organizations through technological innovation.

Around 4,000 journalists in the region are expected to benefit from the initiative which will run for a year in partnership with IJNET (International Journalists’ Network) Arabic. The initiative will include free workshops and case studies in actual. The GNI will be first rolled out in Dubai, involving around 100 journalists and more workshops will follow across Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia. Interested media workers can learn more of the initiative by checking http://g.co/newsinitiative.

Cooke added that the GNI will also drive to boost trust indicators which include best practices, reporter expertise, methods, locally sourced reports, diverse voices and actionable feedback.

TunisianMonitorOnline (khaleej Times)

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