Google on Thursday urged media personnel to take advantage of data to tell news stories.
Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Google’s Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Anglophone West Africa, made the appeal at the Data Tools Training for Elections Reporting organised by Google.
Kola-Ogunalde said: “As the forthcoming general elections in Nigeria approaches, Google is training and empowering the media on the use of modern data tools for effective reporting during the election.
“Social media and online journalism have played an important role in helping to build stable democracies, resulting from informed voting, and as more people get online, the impact grows.
“The months leading to the February 16, 2019 elections presents great opportunities for media to innovate on their storytelling abilities through the use of online and social media tools.
“The essence of the training is for participants to have the knowledge and tools necessary for innovative and insightful election reporting.”
Kola-Ogunlade said that the participants would be taught how to use online tools like fusion tables, polls, Google Advanced Search, Google trends, social media streams and Google alerts to track and develop stories.
He said that for effective news telling with data, journalists should make use of “Data Pipeline’’, as the core steps to tell stories with data.
He said that the biggest problem in writing with data was presentation, adding that one needed to do proper analysis so that the story line would impact the audience.
He urged the participants to start using the web to do what they currently did and to understand that the web had a lot of free tools, which could be adopted and used to have a good story.
Business Development Manager, Google, Felicia Otolorin, said that the essence of the training was to enable publishers sustain momentum in their sites during elections using Google tools.
Otolorin said: “Elections are here and people are interested in what is happening and the key thing to ensure that people stay in your site to access top stories on the homepage.
“Others are consolidated menus, display key categories, highlight your top stories related to the category and others.”
She urged the participants on internationalisation, which she said had to do with the kind of audience a publisher keeps.
She said that during election, other countries would want to get information of the happenings and there was need to have the type of audience that would give different amount of value to ones site.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that The Google for Elections workshop is a one-day, hands-on certificate programme.
It focused on using social media, visualisation and citizen reporting tools to tell election stories.