Google has declared that the Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Test is open for utilisation submissions in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey. At a GNI Innovation conference held in Lagos, Google hosted media and publishers to address the GNI Innovation Challenge, and encourage interested parties to successfully begin.
The GNI Innovation Challenge is accepting proposals for projects from news organisations of every size to address increasing engagement with readers and/or exploring new business models in any form such as subscriptions, membership programmes, and so on. Traditional publishers, news startups and associations that aim to build innovative digital media projects are all eligible to apply. Projects can be highly experimental but must have well-defined goals and have a significant digital component.
Says Head of Google News Initiative Innovation, Ludovic Blecher: “We’ve long collaborated with the news industry to drive traffic, increase audience engagement, and generate revenue, but there are legitimate questions about how high-quality journalism can be sustained in the digital age. As part of that, we are proud to open applications for the GNI’s first Innovation Challenge in the Middle East, Africa & Turkey.”
A panel will evaluate the submissions and fund selected projects up to $150k, with funding for up to 70 per cent of the total project cost. The funding will be reviewed against several criteria, including a “sharing component” – for example, a project proposal can include publishing findings or holding a public seminar to encourage applicants to share the knowledge and learnings to others.
Applicants can make project submissions from now until Monday, September 2 at 23:59 GMT. More information on eligibility, rules and criteria, and funding will be published on the GNI website. For more information, applicants may reach out directly to the GNI Project team, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The GNI Project Team will also be holding an online town hall webinar session to give further information and to answer questions. This will take place on Wednesday, July 3rd at 10 AM GMT (11 AM London time).
Last year, Google announced the Google News Initiative (GNI), the global umbrella that pulls together everything Google does to help news players in their transition to a digital future. The Google News Initiative is Google’s effort to help new players in their transition to a digital future, focusing on three pillars: First, elevating and strengthening quality journalism, second, evolving business models to drive sustainable growth and third, empowering news organisations through technological innovation. Over the last two years, Google has trained more than 4000 journalists across Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.