Google News Initiative Newsroom Leadership Program at Columbia Journalism School

Applications are now closed. Successful applicants will be notified by July 31.

Check out our Ask Me Anything with Google News Lab Lead Nic Hopkins and Google News Lab Lead for APAC Irene Jay Liu. They shared their top tips on what they are looking for in a successful application for this unique opportunity.

Questions covered included:

  1. Can you give any examples of projects from previous years? How practical versus academic should the proposed topics be?
  2. What is ‘design sprint methodology’?
  3. Who is eligible for this?
  4. Is there further info on the mentors involved?
  5. Can you offer some further info on what should be included in the personal goals essay?
  6. What is the word limit/are there any tips for a successful application?
  7. Do you need to commit to being able to travel for this program?

In association with The Walkley Foundation.

Three journalists from Australia and New Zealand will have the opportunity to build their newsroom leadership skills as part of the new Google News Initiative Newsroom Leadership Program at Columbia Journalism School.

We are seeking emerging newsroom leaders ready to take the next step in their careers and expand their expertise in digital journalism, with particular focus on applied technology, audience insights, design thinking, data applications, emerging business models and editorial innovation. Journalists in Australia and New Zealand are eligible to apply for this year-long, part-time fellowship.

The aim of the program is to provide tomorrow’s editors with skills and knowledge to guide their newsrooms through the transition to digital and to reach and engage audiences in new ways. During the year, each fellow will work on a specific project that is relevant to their newsroom.

Image credit: © Riley Wilson for Global Editors Network


You must be a full-time journalist working in Australia or New Zealand, with endorsement from your employer to undertake this year-long program. Candidates should have at least five years of experience in the field and will be selected through a rigorous screening process, including an application and personal goals essay, two letters of recommendation, including one from their employer, and an early articulation of the individual project area/issue that you want to focus on during the year.

The application process will be managed by the Google News Initiative and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in association with the Walkley Foundation and including a panel of judges from across the Asia-Pacific region.


This is a year-long program that includes a four-week on-site component, divided into three modules that will take place in New York, Mountain View and either Hong Kong or Tokyo over the course of 2019 and 2020.

The program

The program, which includes four weeks of onsite courses at Columbia University in New York City and Google offices in Silicon Valley and Asia, is for mid-career journalists who have the potential to take on larger roles and run their organisations. Each Fellow will also work on a specific project during the year that is relevant to their newsroom within the main fellowship topics: technology, monetisation, and data.

Fellows will learn how to lead through change in this fast-moving environment and identify opportunities for entrepreneurship within their newsrooms. The program will emphasise:

  • How news companies operate as businesses, and how technology has revolutionised what it means to be a publisher.
  • Ways to evaluate the costs and benefits of introducing technology-driven changes into  newsroom workflows, and how to ensure managers and direct reports support new ways of working.
  • The use of data to create compelling content that will resonate with audiences.  
  • How to facilitate design-thinking in newsrooms using Google’s design sprint methodology, which is used to solve problems and develop products.

Shortlisted applicants are interviewed by the Google News Initiative, and a Columbia University faculty member will select the Fellows from among those who meet all the criteria.  


Tuition, travel and accommodation is covered for all fellows.

Further information on the program

For more information about the program, curriculum and application instructions, visit the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism website.

How to apply

Applications closed on June 26. Successful applicants will be notified by July 31.

About the program

The Google News Initiative is partnering with news industry and journalist organisations around the Asia-Pacific region to shortlist applicants for this program, including the Walkley Foundation, J-Forum, Journalists Association of Korea, Aliansi Jurnalis Independen, and Splice.

Got questions?

Visit the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism website or  email with further questions.