Google unveiled a new feature— Journalist Studio — on October 15, 2020 to help reporters perform their work effectively. Journalist Studio uses Pinpoint and Common Knowledge Project, two artificial intelligence (AI) tools, to make the work of an investigative journalist easier.
Pinpoint helps journalists sift through hundreds and thousands of web pages and documents in just a few steps. Instead of using Ctrl+F to find specific words, the tool will use AI and machine learning, along with its optical character recognition and speech-to-text technology, to identify and organise files according to frequently mentioned people, organisations or locations. The tool can also scan through PDFs, images, handwritten documents and audio files to locate the desired data and list them at one place. It can currently be accessed by reporters through a request to Google.
Megan H Chan, the News Ecosystem Lead for Google News Initiative, wrote a blog highlighting her experience as an investigative journalist when she faced the frustration of going through large amounts of documentations to find necessary data. “I found myself constantly working towards a solution for this question: How can reporters focus more time on their core strengths: finding the story, reporting it out and writing the narrative?” she wrote.
“What would it look like if we put the best of Google’s search, AI and machine learning technology into the hands of reporters?” she added.
The second product brought out by the company is a beta version of Common Knowledge Project, which is a tool to explore, create and share data with interactive visuals and charts to their communities.
Built by Polygraph, a visual journalism organisation, the tool will allow journalists to share created data on social media easily. It is supported by Google News Initiative and the datasets in the system have been procured from the US Census and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and compiled by Data Commons. Currently this tool only consists of datasets from the US including economy, demographics, housing data etc.
The Journalist Studio also has a variety of other tools. These include safety tools like Advanced Protection Program, a private VPN called Outline and a DDoS defender named Project Shield.
It also comes with Data Commons, DataSet Search, a Fact Check Explorer, Google Public Data Explorer and Google Trends to make browsing and procuring data easy.
A series of tools to customise visuals like Flourish, the Google Data GIF Maker and tiled cartogram maker Tilegrams are also available. Google via Google News Initiative also offers numerous online courses and lessons on digital reporting and guides to use the Journalist Studio products.