Update: What's Happening With the Google News Initiative

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The Google News Initiative has proven to be a great resource for journalists since its creation, and it's certainly grown.

Here are some updates on the projects and collaborations powering this industry-wide initiative.

GNI Innovation Challenges

The Google News Initiative introduced the first GNI Innovation Challenge, which is designed to highlight local ingenuity and support publishers in various regions around the world.

This initiative invites talent in the journalism industry to submit proposals for projects designed to make publishers flourish and innovate in the digital age. Through project funding up to $300,000 and financing up to 70 percent of the total project, Google hopes to promote these business models and introduce globally-diverse publishing innovations.

The first of these was the Asia-Pacific GNI Innovation Challenge, which focused on increasing publisher revenue.

Google will select projects, submitted by the Jan. 9 deadline, that grow subscriptions, offer new products and services, and diversify revenue streams. The challenge also encourages the grantees to host seminars to educate other industry professionals about the project.

Access to Tools

Google partnered with the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ) to create the Access to Tools program, which promotes and supports investigative journalism.

This program featured up to 20 free workshops in the UK with experts to share best practices with investigative journalists and improve quality of work in the industry. The workshops were designed to develop journalism and research skills through real-world exercises and training with popular software. Google also hosted an investigative reporting conference with CIJ in northern England to extend the reach.

SPJ Training Program

Google teamed up with the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) to create a “train the trainer” program in which Google News Initiative experts guide a group of SPJ trainers to serve as trainers themselves for using Google tools.

This program allows organizations to request an experienced trainer to travel to their business and offer overview workshops over many tools or a more detailed training of a specific Google tool. Since the program began, trainers have visited more than 550 locations to train skills to more than 21,000 journalists.

Google News Lab

Google has created the News Lab team to promote innovation in the field by partnering with journalists and offering training and support.

This program is designed to tackle four main challenges facing the news industry today:

  • Trust & Misinformation: Working toward improving journalistic trustworthiness and fighting against misinformation. This includes support for efforts such as the Trust Project, First Draft, and Cross Check.
  • Local News: Helping local news organizations survive and thrive in the modern news industry by providing critical resources and personalized training. Google’s work here includes Bulletin, as well as support for Report for America and Matter Ventures.
  • Inclusive Journalism: Promoting inclusive staffing practices and journalistic diversity by supporting objective reporting and training reporters from underrepresented backgrounds. Google collaborates with initiatives working toward inclusivity, such as the American Society of News Editors, Maynard Institute, and Neue Deutsche Medienmacher.
  • Emerging Technologies: Helping the news industry innovate and develop technologies of the future. Google has launched projects to achieve this, including Journalism 360, Documenting Hate, and Visualizing Google data.

Cloud Program

Last year, Google launched the Cloud Program to support smaller local news organizations in their efforts to modernize and develop new reporting techniques.

Groups with fewer than 500 employees can apply to receive up to 500 licenses of G Suite at no cost. In addition to the productivity software suite, which helps streamline the organizations’ operations, applicants will be able to use “Cloud credits” to further revolutionize in whatever capabilities that will best serve their business. Support is provided for a variety of topics, such as machine learning, editorial collaboration, IoT, and data analytics. Google will reveal new developments in the Cloud Program during its Google Cloud Next ’19 networking event April 9-11 in San Francisco.

About Thomas Nicholson

Thomas Nicholson is a Customer Content Specialist with PR Newswire and science aficionado with a love for all things nerdy.

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