The Meek School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Meek School’s Wenger tapped to be part of Google News Lab’s US Training Team

Posted on: April 28th, 2016 by drwenger
Associate Professor Deb Wenger in Google's Android Sculpture Garden after completing Google News Lab training in Mountain View, California.

Associate Professor Deb Wenger in Google’s Android Sculpture Garden after completing Google News Lab training in Mountain View, California.

Whether it’s mapping a series of local crimes or monitoring breaking news in another country, Google News Lab provides tools that can help make that job easier for a journalist. Yet, significant numbers of reporters, editors, producers and news managers know relatively little about the breadth of Google’s journalistic toolkit.

“It could be using Photo Sphere as an entrée into immersive storytelling or using the data sets provided free to newsrooms via Google Consumer Surveys – the bottom line is that journalism organizations can use these tools to find new stories or tell stories in new ways,” said Debora Wenger, head of undergraduate journalism in the Meek School.

Wenger recently took part in an in-depth training session at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. She met with some of the company’s news product experts to learn about the journalistic capacity of tools like Google Earth Pro and Google Trends.

As Google News Lab indicates on its website, the company worked with the Society of Professional Journalists and the Online News Association, to identify professionals able to teach Google digital news tools at conferences, workshops and newsrooms throughout the nation. Google and SPJ are committed to training as many journalists as possible in the effective use of their tools in reporting stories.

“Our target is 100,000 journalists trained this year – either in person or online – in the U.S. and globally,” said Nick Whitaker, head of training and development for Google News Lab.

Wenger is one of the trainers already on board for the new program, but Whitaker hopes to expand the trainer list in the future. Wenger says the opportunity to become a trainer gives her a chance to do two things she loves.

“There’s nothing I like better than learning about tools that can help make our storytelling better, and when I can get the opportunity to share what I’ve learned with professional and student journalists, that’s just great.”