Google’s Matt Cooke believes that augmented reality offers "real potential to engage a new audience" he told MojoCon 2017, as he highlighted the need for more innovation and "iterating your plans and strategy".

Matt, who is Google News Lab’s lead for Nordic, UK and Irish markets, said he believes businesses need to collaborate with publishers such as Google and Facebook if they are to succeed.

Despite widespread pessimism about the business of journalism, Matt doesn’t believe it’s dead, and said quality journalism still has an important role in democracy, which Google is keen to support.

"There are a number of things that we are doing to support journalists and be better partners to the wider news echo system." he told MojoCon.

Cooke said he was impressed by the conference’s discussions around VR and AR (virtual reality and augmented reality) technologies which have evolved quickly in the past twelve months, raising brand new challenges for content creators.

The difference between the new technology and traditional photo and video, Matt said, is in "treating the camera as a person, that takes a while to get your head round, and turning that into practice is going to be a really challenge."

Matt, who offers training to newsrooms and schools of journalism in how to use digital tools, was also involved in launching the Google Fellowship Scheme in Ireland this year. This is a Google-sponsored scholarship programme which offers student journalists the opportunity to join Irish news organisations for an eight-week placement over the summer.

Hundreds of students applied for placements in RTE, thejournal.ie, the Irish Independent, Newstalk and the Irish Times, with publishers responsible for deciding on the right candidate.

"Largely we leave (it) up to the publishers to decide what kind of skills they are looking for." said Matt.

The successful Irish fellows were flown to London for a day’s training in digital journalism tools in one of Google’s London HQs and a chance to network with the fellows from Nordic, Irish and UK news organisations.

"It’s  a great opportunity for the fellows to learn from experienced journalists and a great opportunity for publishers to find new talent." said Matt.

The scheme also run fellowships in 11 countries across the world including Australia, US and South Korea, in media organisations working on projects from traditional news all the way to artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

Daniel Keating