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Why Europe needs an academy for news innovators


Why Europe needs an academy for news innovators

Picture of Adam Thomas
Adam Thomas — Director
March 15, 2017

The European Journalism Centre and Google News Lab have organised 18 editions of the News Impact Summits since 2014. They have become a place where international experts join with local news communities to focus on how new technology, tools and methods can change the way journalists work in the newsroom.

Today, we’re announcing five News Impact Summits will take place in Rome, Hamburg, Budapest, Manchester and Brussels in 2017.

Edit: Registration is open!

In addition to these new dates, we’re also launching something in direct response to what we’ve seen on our travels.

It’s a new initiative we’re very excited about, and it’s called the News Impact Academy.

Introducing the News Impact Academy

This year, five News Impact Academy events will run alongside each of our Summits. These intensive workshops will connect, support and develop digital innovators in European newsrooms and start-ups. Invited participants will learn techniques and share best practices for defining new revenue models, building digital products and creating sustainable business initiatives. Each event will build on the last with common resources and tools being shared along the way as the community grows.

No matter where we’ve held our News Impact Summits, we’ve discovered inspiring communities of news innovators. These buzzing local scenes take different forms and contain a diverse set of individuals. However, despite their differences, we noticed some patterns that led us to develop our new Academy programme.

Innovation? I’m just doing my job.

Most of the news innovators we meet have day jobs that don’t involve “innovation” in their title. Their innovative contributions to their newsrooms, broadcast studios and local newspapers are often not qualified as such, and in some cases not recognised by their peers. The News Impact events will give them a chance to showcase their successes and learn from others with a new range of topics and inclusive formats beyond the usual panel/keynote dynamic. In the long-term, we want to build more resilient news communities and nurture leadership skills by providing the opportunities to meet and learn from other innovators.

Now you’re talking my language

Our inaugural News Impact Academy takes that idea one step further. We have found lots of very smart people in the past few years who are having real impact in their local news ecosystem. And yet, they lack the vocabulary, connections and tools to scale this in their organisation, region, country and continent. The News Impact Academy will bring them together with leading founders, experts and coaches to develop these skills, thus accelerating the development of these digital pioneers.

Stop, collaborate and listen…

We’ve learned across Europe that skills and knowledge can vary wildly from one end of a newsroom to another. Despite this, editors, journalists, engineers, designers and business development teams get more done when they work together. The News Impact Academy and Summits will place a special focus on helping these groups use product design as the place where content, technology and sales can meet in the name of sustainability.

Think different

Our conversations with European media has identified a real need to test, measure and analyze the diversity and impact of our coverage, newsrooms, and stories. We’ll be looking at everything from how behavioral design can help hiring managers understand diversity issues, to looking at unconscious bias in storytelling. And, of course, we’ll be looking to make sure our panels and participants reflect the diversity of the communities they represent.

Idea rich, time poor

So far, many of our News Impact participants are too busy running newsrooms, design teams, development projects, start-ups or their studies to be able to attend expensive international news conferences. Travelling to events is a luxury many cannot afford. That’s why we’ve visited fifteen cities in fourteen different countries in Europe and the Middle East so far, and it’s why we will continue to bring the events to the cities people work in.

It’s also why News Impact Summits (and our new Academy), with the support of Google News Lab, are free to attend.

How to join us at a News Impact event

If you’d like to join a News Impact Summit or Academy, here’s how:

  1. Sign up for for early registration access via our newsletter.
  2. Save the date for your location below. We’ll be opening our registration in a few weeks.

Rome, Italy

  • Summit: Tuesday 23 May
  • Academy: Wednesday 24 May

Hamburg, Germany

  • Summit: Thursday 29 June
  • Academy: Friday 30 June

Budapest, Hungary

  • Summit: Tuesday 19 September
  • Academy: Wednesday 20 September

Manchester, UK

  • Summit: Thursday 2 November
  • Academy: Friday 3 November

Brussels, Belgium

  • Summit: Monday 4 December
  • Academy: Tuesday 5 December

For more information


About the partners

The European Journalism Centre is an international non-profit that connects journalists with new ideas. Through grants, events, training and media development the European Journalism Centre has been building a sustainable, ethical and innovative future for journalism since 1992.

The Google News Lab empowers the creation of media that improves people’s lives. Our mission is to collaborate with journalists and entrepreneurs everywhere to build the future of media with Google. We do this through product partnerships, media trainings, and programs that foster the development of the news industry as a whole.


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