IJNet Arabic Training Network Powered by Google News Initiative

Closing the Gap: The program will reach 4,000 journalists in six countries throughout the MENA region.

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) is partnering with the Google News Initiative on a large-scale effort to strengthen the digital know-how of thousands of journalists across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Participants the program will learn the most effective ways to gather and source information, enhance trust and verification, use data for stories and apps, and embrace immersive storytelling.

About the Program

The program is being offered through IJNet Arabic, an ICFJ platform that brings the latest training opportunities, tips and resources to journalists. IJNet Arabic's strong following in the MENA region, along with its network of instructors, has made it a valuable resource for journalists who are looking to reinvent their skills. Combining IJNet Arabic's reach and loyal audience with Google's digital leadership, the program will: 

  • Identify and nurture a core group of nine digital media trainers who will offer training on Google tools and others. 

  • Equip 4,000 journalists across countries in the Arab world with the latest digital tools and resources.   

The need for digital training is acute. An ICFJ study, The State of Technology in Global Newsrooms, found that only 29 percent of newsrooms in MENA regularly use multiple platforms to distribute stories - trailing those in the rest of the world; 56 percent are struggling to build trust with audiences and 77 percent are concerned about their ability to create quality content. 

Program Activities

Phase 1 - Virtual Training: The IJNet Arabic webinars were led by expert ICFJ mentors and a Google trainer and were open to all journalists in the MENA region. Participants learned key concepts and tools in information gathering and sourcing, trust and verification, data journalism, and immersive storytelling. The webinars took place on May 2 and May 3, 2018.

Phase 2 - Training of Trainers: The most promising journalists from Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia who took part in the webinars were invited to participate in a two-day Training of Trainers workshop hosted by Google in Dubai, where they learned the skills needed to become digital media trainers. 

Phase 3 - In-Country Training: The digital media trainers led newsroom trainings and workshops for university students in their home countries with continued coaching from expert mentors. The top trainers also conducted trainings at regional media events to benefit a wider array of MENA professionals.

Phase 4 - Expanded Virtual Training: The digital media trainers will conduct online webinars for journalists in each of their home countries to increase the number of local professionals trained on Google News Initiative tools and best practices. Trainings will take place throughout October. View webinar dates here. The webinars will cover four modules:

  • Information gathering and sourcing
  • Trust and verification
  • Data journalism
  • Immersive storytelling

Phase 5 - Newsroom embed at IJNet: Journalists who participate in the online webinars will be eligible to apply for a three-week newsroom embed with IJNet in Washington, D.C. ICFJ will cover roundtrip flights to Washington, D.C., lodging and per diem. The selected journalist will have the opportunity to write articles for IJNet Arabic, help develop multimedia and social content for IJNet platforms and receive mentoring.


The fourth phase of this program is open to journalists from Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia

Candidates interested in participating in the online webinars must complete a brief application to take part in the webinars. The first round of webinars will take place in October 2019. Click here to find out when webinars will take place in your countryApplications will be accepted on a rolling basis. We will hold additional webinars through January 2019. 

Please note: Only journalists who participate in the October webinars will be eligible for the newsroom embed with IJNet.

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