Region content director Kim Treasure is among 20 people selected for an American study tour through the Digital News Academy.
She’s among several Region students of the Academy, a rigorous training program operating through technology giant Google in partnership with News Corp and the Melbourne Business School.
The course was founded in 2021 and kicked off this year. It has already brought together several hundred journalists from all age groups, media organisations and skill levels for intensive digital media training.
Google says this is the first academy of its kind in the world to offer a curriculum wholly devoted to digital storytelling. The program has just won gold in the prestigious international 2022 CLO Learning In Practice Awards for Excellence in Academic Partnerships.
Participants were asked to submit an entry for the study tour, which takes them to San Francisco and Los Angeles. They’ll visit FoxSports, Walt Disney studios, the Google Playa Vista centre and San Francisco offices as they learn about digital newsroom trends.
The group will participate in a conference session and newsroom tour at the Wall Street Journal, examine how news works on search engines and visit Google’s Moonshot factory, a hub for exploring how to solve major world problems.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to see what organisations are doing at the cutting edge of our industry,” Kim says, “and it builds on the course, which has already exposed us to experts in digital news reporting.
“We’ve heard from a journalist reporting in Ukraine, from one of the BBC’s senior video innovation journalists, experts in digital verification and data journalism, and the journalist who grew the Wall Street Journal’s Tiktok following from zero to more than a million in 12 months.
“It’s given us access to people from all over the world using cutting-edge technology tools, both from Google and elsewhere.”
Organisations that are often cutthroat competitors, from Australian Community Media to News Corp and solo publishers, have come together in the Academy.
“We’ve been working in small groups with people across different age groups, different publishing models, and skill levels,” she says.
“It’s a unique program building the skills for tomorrow’s newsrooms.”
The benefits for Region have been a refined focus on the platform’s strengths as a digital-only news provider.
“We are best placed to deliver digital news and storytelling as we don’t have the constraints of print to hold us back,” Kim says. “That puts us in a unique position to make the most of our multimedia skills.”
Region is creating a wide range of video and audio content that makes the most of the platform’s capacity, including reels, short videos, long-form interviews, a podcast, articles and Facebook live broadcasts.
“You’ll steadily see more diverse content on our sites,” Kim says. “We’re meeting our audience where they are – on different platforms, different devices, as they travel, work and communicate with each other about Canberra’s best stories and conversations.”