News Corp and Google launch Digital News Academy for young journalists

News Corp Australia and Google Australia have today launched the Digital News Academy (DNA) to help equip this generation of news professionals with the next set of skills they need to deepen their ability to keep the public informed in an era of increased digital publishing.

The academy will comprise the latest tools, techniques and insights on digital journalism, audience behaviour data, immersive storytelling methods and commercial news models for publishers of all sizes and will have a special focus on regional and community journalism.

Melbourne Business School, the University of Melbourne’s graduate school in business and economics, will deliver the academy’s curriculum.

Michael Miller

News Corp Australasia’s executive chairman Michael Miller said the academy was part of an ongoing commitment to and reinvestment in journalism and its role in building a stronger Australia by keeping society informed through strong and fearless news reporting and advocacy.

“The academy will play a role in equipping news media organisations and news professionals – from on the ground reporters to editors and publishers – with the toolkit, skillset and mindset to meet the opportunities that digital media provides,” Miller said.

“Journalism’s importance to the health and wellbeing of our communities cannot be overstated and the academy will help it remain a vibrant and critical part of how society functions.

“Other media companies such as Australian Community Media and, over time, a host of small and regional news companies are important partners in the academy in ensuring that news media remains strong public advocates.

“I’d like to thank Google, Melbourne Business School and all of our media partners for working with us on this important initiative and for Google’s acknowledgement of journalism’s critical importance and its value to society.”

News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson said: “We are delighted to partner with Google and Melbourne Business School in providing meaningful opportunities for young Australians in journalism through the Digital News Academy. It is crucial that young journalists fully comprehend the potential of digital reporting and delivery, but that they also be well-versed in the traditional journalistic imperative of fact-based

Google’s director, news partnerships APAC, Kate Beddoe, said the company was pleased to support the launch of the Digital News Academy.

“The academy will provide training on everything from data journalism, to audience measurement, right through to highly-specialised topics like podcasting,” Beddoe said.

“The traineeships will also provide a vital boost to regional journalism, with 60 students from regional newsrooms to benefit over the next three years.

“The Digital News Academy builds on the significant support Google has provided to the Australian news industry and we look forward to seeing the results.”

News Corp Australia’s group executive of corporate affairs, policy and government relations, Campbell Reid will be the inaugural head of academy and journalism academic and ABC and SBS journalist Sonja Heydeman will be its director.

Google will provide access to global subject matter experts and the very latest in learning resources.

Ian Harper AO, dean of Melbourne Business School, said the academy was a profound education initiative.

“We believe the Digital News Academy has the potential to transform the future of organisational learning, as well as journalism,” Harper said.

“Melbourne Business School has been at the forefront of leadership and capability development for many years. Now we’re breaking new ground with the DNA, by partnering with two global industry leaders to deliver a world-class academy that will give participants an immersive online experience linked directly to organisational strategy.”

Australian community media managing director Tony Kendall said: “The Digital News Academy is an exciting prospect for Australian journalism. It can provide a world-class learning environment for reporters and editors to develop the digital skills for the news of the future, which is especially crucial for our regional audiences.”

The first of 2022’s three student cohorts, comprising 50 journalists from News Corp Australia, leading regional publisher Australian Community Media and smaller media partners will begin tuition on March 28.

In its first three years 750 media professionals will complete the nine-month program. A specially convened governance committee will make the final selection of candidates, comprising a mix of self-nominated and chosen participants from partner media organisations, particularly regional and community ones.

Each student cohort will be split into five-person groups featuring a mix of experience and seniority, from junior reporters to senior editors. These groups will also collaborate with one another in order to generate, build and sell stories to the course’s virtual academy newsroom.

Each year’s schedule will include a major journalism conference and a US study tour for a select group of trainees.

The DNA’s Panel of Experts:
Campbell Reid, Head of the Digital News Academy
Sonja Heydeman, Academy Director, Digital News Academy
Gerry Baker, Editor-at-large, The Wall Street Journal
Uma Patel, Google News Lab Lead, Australia and New Zealand
Lisa Muxworthy, Editor-in-chief,
David Dieudonne, Google’s French-based journalism and AI expert
Joe Hildebrand, Journalist, author and broadcaster
Megan Chan, Google’s Pinpoint lead in News Lab, based in California.
Hedley Thomas, National Chief Correspondent, The Australian
Sharri Markson, Investigations editor, The Australian
Eliza Barr, Journalist, St George Standard


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.