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Google offers $2.1m grant to 22 media innovators


Google on Wednesday announced the selection of 22 media innovators to receive $2.1 million in funding through the second Google News Initiative, GNI, Innovation Challenge for Africa, the Middle East, and Turkey.

Ludovic Blecher, Head GNI, said in a statement that GNI is Google’s effort to help news players in their transition to a digital future.

Blecher said that it focused on three pillars: elevating and strengthening quality journalism; evolving business models to drive sustainable growth; and empowering news organisations through technological innovation.

He said that a total of 329 established publishers, online-only players, news startups, publisher consortia and local industry associations applied from 35 countries across the regions.

Blecher said that it showed the diversity and the appetite for innovation of the news-ecosystem.

The GNI executive said that a rigorous review process, a round of interviews and a jury selection process followed for the final selection of successful recipients.

According to him, the vibrancy of the markets in the 14 countries where the projects were selected can clearly be seen in the vast range of news players, topics and technologies considered.

“The applicants’ innovations addressed issues ranging from audience development to virtual reality storytelling and recipients were able to clearly demonstrate their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

“We are excited about the 2021 GNI Innovation Challenge projects and we will be following their progress alongside those of previous recipients.

“They are already impacting in the news ecosystem with initiatives that increase reader engagement and make for a more sustainable future for news,’’ he said.

The applications for the second GNI Innovation Challenge opened in February and ran until April 12.


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