Journalists and educators learn about innovative digital journalism tools at NCTJ and Google News Initiative seminar

Journalists, trainers and educators have come together to learn about verification, visualisation and innovative ideas in a digital journalism tools seminar.

Held at Google’s offices in London in partnership with the NCTJ, more than 100 attendees spent the day learning about new tools for digital journalism, from Google and beyond.

Topics included an introduction to advanced search and verification skills, mapping street crime data to embed into crime stories, and using a variety of Google tools to generate ideas, monitor topics and broaden interview sources.

Matt Cooke, head of partnerships and training at the Google News Lab, explained various verification tools such as reverse image searching and location verification using Google Earth and Street View.

Attendees also heard from Daan Louter, head of design and newsrooms at Flourish, about how to use their simple data visualisation tools to create elegant interactives such as animated charts and emoji maps.

Daan illustrated how the platform, launched one year ago, makes the process of creating powerful and engaging data graphics quick and easy without coding.

Thanks to the Google News Lab, Flourish is free for newsrooms to access, and heavily discounted rates are available for students and academics.

Abigail Edge, Google News Lab teaching fellow for the UK and Ireland, explained advanced search techniques, demonstrating how to utilise and get the most out of tools such as Google Alerts, Google Scholar and Google Trends.

She also talked the audience through how Google MyMaps can be used to add context to stories, saying: “It gives you a regular piece of content that is very quick and easy to put together.”

The session particularly focused on how to map data for crime stories, for example by downloading police crime data about crime in specific areas to import into MyMaps.

She said: “Sometimes it can throw up patterns that may not be immediately obvious in the original text.”