Fairfax partners with Google in tech fellowship

Fairfax partners with Google in tech fellowshipFairfax Media’s executive editor of photography and presentation Matt Martell PHOTO: Fairfax Media

Fairfax Media has partnered with Google to offer a fellowship to a young journalist skilled in coding and data journalism.

The successful applicant will work with a team headed by Fairfax Media’s executive editor of photography and presentation Matt Martell, and be mentored by Fairfax journalists, editors, photographers, and editorial developers, and an engineering mentor at Google.

With the Fairfax team, the fellow will work on data journalism and coding projects, and will experiment with different storytelling technologies and techniques to help move the newsroom forward.

Two months will be spent at The Sydney Morning Herald newsroom, with one week spent at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. At Google, the new fellow will learn tools and techniques from the News Lab.

Mr Martell says journalists who can code will have an advantage over others – and be potentially more useful to a newsroom.

Coding is the ability to write in computer languages, such as HTML, Java, CSS, and Python.

The traditional way of telling stories is fading, Mr Martel said, and a new way of storytelling is needed.

“If you look at the visualness of the web, people want a more visual approach to news,” he said.

“So, when we put interactive infographics on stories, we know the engagement time goes up, and we know they will click on and have play with it.

“The more we can engage our readers like that, the better job we’re doing for them.”

Annie Baxter, head of communications and public affairs at Google Australia and New Zealand, agrees.

“Newsrooms around the world are looking at how to tell stories using data, which requires technology skills as much as storytelling,” she said.

Both undergraduate and graduate students with technology skills are encouraged to apply for the fellowship.

Currently, the Google fellowship program is offered in the United States, United Kingdom, and South Korea. It is being offered in Australia for the first time.

The fellowship, funded by Google, will begin on May 30, 2016. If the fellow is successful, there will be an opportunity to expand the role to a full-time job.

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