Google News Initiative Newsroom Leadership Program | Columbia Journalism School

Google News Initiative Newsroom Leadership Program

In today’s evolving media landscape, every journalist must also think like a publisher, especially emerging newsroom leaders and managers. This program, created in partnership with the Google News Initiative, will teach newsroom leaders living and working in India how to lead through change, identify and build on opportunities for entrepreneurship, and further diversity and inclusion of underrepresented groups within their newsrooms.


This virtual program aims to enhance the leadership skills and nimble decision-making capacity of newsroom leaders working and living in India, with particular focus on applied technology, audience-centric behaviors, design thinking, data applications, emerging business models and editorial innovation. Fellows will gain skills and knowledge to make better strategic decisions for their newsrooms and audiences. Each Fellow will also work on a specific project during the year that is relevant to their newsroom within the main fellowship topics: technology, monetization and data. Each fellow's work should further diversity within newsroom leadership in India, including though not limited to age, caste, gender, gender identities, religion, abilities, geographic location, and sexual orientation.

 The program emphasizes:

  •  Building a practical understanding of how news companies around the world —large and small, legacy and start-up—actually operate as businesses, and how technology has revolutionized what it means to be a publisher.
  • Developing a framework for evaluating the costs and benefits of introducing technology-driven changes into the workflows and resourcing of units, and how to present a plan for change to managers and direct reports.
  • Leveraging data and the latest technology to create compelling content and understand audiences, while thinking about publishing products when putting together the complete reporting package.  

 Specific topics may include:

  • Understanding both traditional and new revenue models
  • Handling disruption and transition
  • The role of data in the newsroom and the Board Room
  • Recruitment, retention, and newsroom culture 
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion when building teams
  • Design-Thinking and Building News Products


The GNI Newsroom Leadership Program is a six-month  program, conducted fully online. This includes two weeks of virtual residencies as well as regular individual coaching, small group projects, lectures, discussion groups, and opportunities to meet with industry leaders. 

  • Application opens: November 18, 2021
  • Application deadline: December 20, 2021  
  • Successful applicants are notified: January 10, 2022
  • Week 1 - February 7-11 , 2022: Virtual residency (full time commitment) in which Fellows will learn about design thinking, newsroom innovation, leadership techniques, and managing staff through transition and disruption. 
  • Weeks 2 to 20 - February 14 through June 24, 2022: Fellows will meet once per week, as a cohort, to learn from select Columbia University faculty, industry leaders, consultants, and innovators on topics related to data, monetization and business models, audience engagement, and other topics as needed. Fellows will also meet additionally with their coach to make concrete progress on their project. 
  • Week 21 - June 27-July 1, 2022:  Virtual residency week, where the Fellows will learn from industry experts and select Columbia University faculty as well as present their projects to the full group.


Drawing on curricula developed by senior faculty and delivered by our professional education programs at Columbia Journalism School, the program will provide a management-level grounding on how to apply learnings to broader real-life newsroom scenarios and challenges, as well as to the Fellows’ specific projects.  

The virtual classroom portion of the Columbia curriculum will guide all the Fellows on better understanding current and emerging media landscape, specifically around technology, data, business models, monetization, innovation, multimedia audience engagement and disruption. The focus will be on applying the learnings to both the India news market as well as to help the Fellows think through their specific projects.

An integral part of the curriculum will be seminars by curated industry speakers and conversations with news organizations

Who Should Apply

Successful applicants are mid-career newsroom leaders working full-time in editorial positions at news organizations in India. These leaders are furthering diversity, equity and inclusion within their news organizations, and they have been endorsed by their employers. The program is academically rigorous, requiring day-long lectures and speakers, reading and written assignments conducted in English, with no translation.

There is no application fee. The program is free of charge for successful applicants.

Application and Requirements

The application requires:

  • A complete CV;
  • One personal goals essay;
  • One letter of recommendation from a current colleague or manager who can speak to the applicant’s current role, professional achievements and capabilities;
  • A letter of endorsement from the applicant’s employer, attesting to allowing paid leave for the applicant to participate in the virtual residency and other components of the program and endorsement of the individual project area/ issue that the applicant will work on for the duration of the fellowship;
  • Articulation of the individual project area/issue that they want to focus on during the program term.

 All application materials must be submitted by 11:59pm ET, December 20, 2021.

 The application process and the selection of Fellows will be managed by Columbia Journalism School.




For questions about the application process, the curriculum, or the program, please contact Director of Professional Programs Kate Kennedy at