· 4 min read

Google Journalist Studio: Investigating the “Publisher’s Toolbox”

Sean Harper

Google has unveiled Journalist Studio, a suite of tools designed to empower reporters to do their job more effectively. Journalists in renowned newsrooms often struggle to allocate enough time and resources to significant stories. A common frustration arises from the choice between taking weeks on one article, enlisting the help of a team of already-busy colleagues, or writing a program to parse a mound of data.

As such, Google have spent two years developing Journalist Studio with an aim to answering a simple question: “how can reporters focus more time on finding the story, reporting it out and writing the narrative?”

We’ve taken a look at Journalist Studio’s complete toolkit, and broken down how each gadget’s value to individual journalists and publications alike.

The Common Knowledge Project

Google describes The Common Knowledge Project as “a new way for journalists to explore, visualize and share data about important issues in their local communities.” Using Data Commons data, editorial teams can easily create interactive charts from thousands of data points in minutes, embed them in stories and share them on social media. The variety available is huge.

Data Commons

Data Commons is “an open knowledge repository that combines data from public datasets using mapped common entities.” It’s complete with tools that make the access, navigation and analysis of massive wells of data straightforward. It includes data from the United States Census Bureau, World Bank Group, the Federal Election Commission, the FBI and many other sources.

DataSet Search

With its super simple search bar that closely resembles Google itself, DataSet Search is an intuitive tool tailored to allow publishers to efficiently and easily locate datasets that support their story and reinforce their angle.

Fact Check Explorer

Fact Check Explorer is a search bar that invites the user to search by keyword. The results presented are a list of unproven claims either made by public figures or circulated on social media presented next to a “True” or “False” verdict from a reputable source, like factcheck.org.

Data Gif Maker

Data Gif Maker allows publications to decorate their news reports with simple, elegant gifs comparing up to four different figures or terms. Publishers have different presentation options according to what works best for a given story. Here’s an example.


Pinpoint enables reporters to scour hundreds of thousands of documents quickly by automatically identifying the most frequently mentioned people, organisations and locations. It employs Google Search and Knowledge Graph, optical character recognition and speech-to-text technology to search PDFs, images, handwritten notes, emails and audio files automatically. It is, in essence, a “Ctrl+F” command for the future.

Project Shield

Built by Alphabet Inc.’s Jigsaw in collaboration with Google, Project Shield defends human rights, election monitoring and news outlets from distributed denial-of-service attacks. It’s free to use, even for independent journalists.


A “tilegram” is a map made of tiles where regions are sized proportionally to a dataset, allowing it to truthfully represent demographic data in an instantly clear way whilst retaining a familiar appearance. This free tool allows publishers to browse existing tilegrams that represent popular datasets or make their own for use in interactive online articles.

Advanced Protection

Advanced Protection requires you to use a security key, which is a hardware device or special software on your phone used to verify your identity, to sign in to your Google Account. It provides Google’s strongest defence yet against targeted online attacks. It also provides extra protection from harmful downloads and keeps users’ personal information doubly secure by only allowing Google apps and verified third-party apps to access their Google Account data, and only with their permission.

In these turbulent times, the responsibility of news publishers to report accurately is stronger than ever. Google’s release of Journalist Studio is symbolic of the need for responsible, reliable news coverage and with such a platform behind it, Journalist Studio may just become an industry standard.

Practically speaking, Google Journalist Studio will allow digital publishers of all sizes to access reams of trustworthy data instantly and display it elegantly. It’s an incredibly valuable toolkit for publishers looking to up the value of their coverage without spending a penny.

Visit Google Journalist Studio

Photo by Alex Dudar on Unsplash

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