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Google News Lab ANZ Support innovation and trusted journalism through a series of newsroom experiments

google news initative
google news initative

Bastion Transform have partnered with Google News Lab ANZ to create a framework for how to prioritise, design, run and review experiments to encourage newsrooms to step outside their comfort zones and learn new ways of connecting with audiences.

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Three news organisations – Nine Publishing, the National Indigenous Times and BusinessDesk New Zealand – are working closely with Bastion Transform to launch ambitious live pilots in their newsrooms, focusing on business growth and editorial excellence. 
 
Nine Publishing Executive Editor Tory Maguire said “There’s been a big shift in the way our audiences consume news, and the types of stories they’re demanding. If anyone has perfected the response to this, I’m yet to find out about it. Nine’s metro mastheads are in a strong position, with a huge audience base to seek new territory – and this is an incredible opportunity to go exploring.” She added “I want to try things our newsroom has never ventured to do; across content and the way we operate. This is a high-return, low-risk project. Even if one of the experiments comes off, it’s a success.”

The National Indigenous Times is an independent First Nations-owned digital news publication, both online and printed. Reece Harley, NIT chief operating officer, said: “We’re a small team, with big ideas on an important mission – to tell Indigenous stories with integrity and to promote them into Australian conversations everywhere. We’ve never had the opportunity to be involved in a project like this – to have investment in ideas, techniques, and technology to keep us at the cutting edge of innovation.”

In New Zealand, BusinessDesk is already a fast-growing, quick-scaling digital native with a start-up culture and an editorial reputation for breaking great stories. General Manager Matt Martel said 

“Newsrooms that embrace change are moving ahead and finding profit and success while those clinging to the past, or failing to be brave are falling behind. It is a great time to be a journalist as long as you’re supported to take risks, think laterally and be ahead of the others.”

Uma Patel, Google News Lab ANZ lead, said “Journalists iterate every single day, there’s no one way to break a story and the best journalists adapt and try different strategies to get what they need to publish the news readers need to know – so I have no doubt they’ve got the skills they need to think of and test new ideas to boost their journalism.”
The Bastion Transform team held a series of discovery workshops to get a clearer idea of what was working well and what wasn’t, issues, challenges, concerns and opportunities from different perspectives. Bastion Transform are currently coordinating the projects as they run over the coming months, providing any required skills and capability training sessions, and measuring the outcomes and industry impact. At the conclusion of the program, even more newsrooms will get the chance to learn from the experimentation when Google presents the findings and learnings in an industry knowledge-sharing showcase.

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