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Two City academics will develop a new online search tool for journalists with the help of a grant from the US technology giant Google
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Researchers secure Google grant to develop new online search tool for journalists

Professors George Brock and Neil Maiden have been awarded with $60,000 for the project

by Ed Grover (Senior Communications Officer)

Two City academics will develop a new online search tool for journalists with the help of a grant from the US technology giant Google.

Professor George Brock, from the Department of Journalism, has teamed up with Professor Neil Maiden, from the Department of Computer Science, for the project.

The researchers have received $60,000, plus $20,000 in Google Cloud Platform credits, as part of Google’s European Computational Journalism Research Awards.

This team will develop a software prototype that will allow journalists to implement “creative search strategies”.

It is hoped this will help journalists to “strengthen investigative storytelling” and carry out their work more efficiently than current news content management and search tools allow.

The research grants are part of the wider Google Digital News Initiative, which involves partnerships with news organisations across Europe.

Professor Brock, who ran the Department of Journalism from 2009 to 2014, said: “I’ve been wanting for some time to find ways in which the Department of Journalism at City can work with our colleagues with skills in computation and informatics, so I’m really pleased that this award will allow us to do that. But the main gain should be helping journalists to work better via improved search.”

The City project was one of three schemes to be offered funding by the European Computational Journalism Research Awards this summer, with money also be supplied to institutions in France and Germany.

Google says the purpose of the initiative is to encourage collaboration between computer science and journalism researchers across Europe.

David Drummond, Google's Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, told a conference earlier this summer that the grants were part of the company’s wider news strategy, explaining the business wanted to play a role in “making sure high-quality journalism has a sustainable future”.

He said: “These are interesting times in the relationship between the news and technology industries – perhaps even historic times.

“While we have always sought to be a good partner to the news industry, we have tended to operate on different paths… I, and the product leaders who build and run Google services, are determined to change that.

“We recognise that technology companies and news organisations are part of the same information ecosystem. We are committed to playing our part.”

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