Tag Archives: Google News Initiative

Bringing the power of cloud to news organizations

As news consumption becomes increasingly digital, local, small and medium-sized news organizations need new tools to thrive. We created the Google News Initiative Cloud Program, to help publishers use Google Cloud to come up with imaginative solutions to business and storytelling. The first phase of the program focused on providing 200,000 free G Suite license to news companies with fewer than 500 employees through this application.

 Building on that effort, today we’re opening applications for the GNI Cloud Credit Program. This will give qualifying organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees the opportunity to apply for up to $100,000 each in Google Cloud Platform credits, as well up to $50,000 in implementation support. This provides publishers with an on-ramp to implement technologies that can help them build more sustainable businesses and provide readers with relevant, engaging and more personalized content.

With a wide range of tools, cloud technology can be tailored to each news organization's unique needs. To help get the most of their Cloud Credits, all publishers in the program will work with third-party cloud specialists to craft a strategy that uses cloud’s diverse tools to support storytelling and business needs. 

For example, with Google Cloud Platform credits, publishers can simplify time-intensive tasks like translating articles and transcribing interviews through tools like Cloud Speech to Text and the Cloud Translation API.

Cloud can help publishers understand articles and classify content to provide more personalized offerings to their readers using the Natural Language Processing API and intelligently organize entire photo archives of millions of photos to help reporters uncover new sources of information to tell more engaging stories.

With BigQuery and machine learning, publishers can modernize their infrastructure to improve distribution and analyze digital behaviors to better understand their audiences. And publishers will be able to build a more scalable, engaging app experiences with tools like Firebase, while lessening the burden on their support teams.

The Cloud Program is a key part of the Google News Initiatives’s mission to elevate quality journalism, enable new business models, and empower news organizations to innovate through technology. We are partnering with key industry associations around the world including WAN-IFRAONA, and LMA to spread the word about this program to more news organizations around the globe.

You can learn more about other Google News Initiative here.

Helping boost diversity in local newsrooms

Local journalism is among the most trusted sources in the U.S. But in order to report on and reflect the issues that matter to local communities, journalists and editors working in those newsrooms need to be reflective of the places and people they serve. The data is not encouraging—according to the Newsroom Employment Diversity Survey, in 2017, minority journalists comprised only 16.6 percent of the workforce in U.S. newsrooms—only a half- percentage point improvement from the previous year.

To help the local news industry with this diversity challenge, the Google News Initiative is partnering with the Local Media Association (LMA) to offer 50 scholarships to the Media Transformation 2018 conference taking place in Kansas City September 25-27. These scholarships will be awarded to a diverse mix of under-represented candidates on a first-come first-serve basis. The conference will educate attendees on sustainable business models, innovation, and media transformation for local news companies—and provide scholarship attendees an opportunity to grow their own careers and skills while bringing best practices back to the organizations they serve.

We’re also supporting the Women in Local Media Summit during the conference to advance women’s presence in the industry. The GNI will provide training, research and content to the LMA to enable a transparent discussion about increasing diversity of staff and news coverage during this session.

The Google News Initiative was formed to build a stronger future for journalism, in collaboration with the industry. Diversity in local journalism is core to that mission and we’ll continue to look for opportunities to help drive diversity and inclusion.

Elections roadshow: supporting journalists’ midterm reporting

Journalists play a key role in making sure everyone has access to accurate information. From the spread of misinformation that can sway public opinion to digital attacks that take news websites offline, threats to quality journalism make it difficult for journalists to do their jobs.

As a part of our commitment to help people engage with democratic processes, the Google News Initiative is working across the world to support journalists in the lead-up to major elections.

Ahead of the midterm elections in the U.S., the Google News Initiative partnered with the Society of Professional Journalists Training Program to lead workshops in ten states and Washington D.C between now and November 6th.

Host cities will include:

  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Dallas, Texas 
  • Austin, Texas 
  • Las Vegas, Nevada  
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin 
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Morgantown, West Virginia
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Miami, Florida 
  • Washington D.C

In each city, the trainings will cover a wide range of Google tools and best practices for journalists covering elections including:

Safety and Security
This is especially important for journalists in the field conducting sensitive, difficult, and sometimes dangerous reporting. According to a recent study of more than 2,700 newsroom managers and journalists from 130 countries, at least half of those surveyed don’t use any tools or methods to protect their data and information online. During the training, you’ll learn how to protect yourself and your news organization from hacking, phishing, malware, censorship and other digital attacks.

Verification and Fact Checking
With content developed in collaboration with First Draft News, we’ll cover time-saving methods to verify the authenticity and accuracy of images, videos and reports that you find in social media and elsewhere online.

Data Journalism
Data journalism helps to tell deep, insightful stories. We’ll cover how to find, analyze, interpret and visualize data in compelling new ways—and help your audience gain a deeper understanding of election data and campaigns.

In addition to Google tools, the Society of Professional Journalists will be providing training on ethics and elections. You can learn more and sign up to these free training events at https://www.spj.org/election18.asp.   

If you can’t join a session, we’ve also provided free training materials for educators on these topics, as a part of membership to the Google News Initiative University Network. You can learn more about these modules and the University Network here.

To learn more about other Google tools for elections and beyond, and to review self paced training visit g.co/newstraining. We look forward to seeing you later this year in a city near you!


Hey Google, tell me something good

The news has always played an essential role in our lives, keeping us informed about the world and the issues we care about. These days we’re consuming more news than ever, and sometimes, it can feel like there are only problems out there. But the fact is, there is a plethora of “good news” happening, and we're not talking about unlikely animal friendships or random acts of kindness. Real people are making progress solving real issues—and hearing about those stories is a crucial part of a balanced media diet.

The Assistant is making this kind of news easier to find.

“Tell me something good” is a new experimental feature for Assistant users in the U.S.  that delivers your daily dose of good news. Just say “Hey Google, tell me something good” to receive a brief news summary about people who are solving problems for our communities and our world.

This is good news like how Georgia State University coupled empathy with data to double its graduation rate and eliminate achievement gaps between white and black students, how backyard beekeepers in East Detroit are bringing back the dwindling bee population while boosting the local economy, and how Iceland curbed teen drinking with nightly curfews and coupons for kids to enroll in extracurricular activities.

Hey Google, Tell Me Something Good

Watch to learn more about "Tell me something good"

The stories come from a wide range of media outlets, curated and summarized by the Solutions Journalism Network. They’re a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to spreading the practice of solutions journalism, which highlights how problems are solvable and that doing better is possible. Solutions journalism empowers and energizes audiences, helping to combat negative news fatigue. It’s an important part of a balanced news diet, so we’re exploring how to incorporate more solutions journalism wherever you access Google News.

“Tell me something good” isn’t meant to be a magic solution. But it’s an experiment worth trying because it’s good info about good work that may bring some good to your day. Give it a go yourself on any Assistant-enabled device, including your phone, Smart Display, or Google Home.

Search, Trends and fact checking during the Mexican elections

On July 1, more than 88 million Mexican citizens voted for over 16,000 candidates in the largest election in Mexican history. In the lead up to the Mexican national elections, we aimed to help people navigate election information.


In Search, we made it easier for people to find information about the democratic process: our search results helped find their local polling, in partnership with the National Electoral Institute (INE).

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We also made it easier for people to explore the data around Google searches for candidates and key elections issues. The Google Trends team created the Election Trends Hub and partnered with news organizations like Animal Politico, to create election visualizations that helped synthesize and contextualize what people were searching in the lead up to the elections.

trendlecciones-linea-de-tiempo.png

As part of the Google News Initiaitive’s efforts to empower news organizations with technology, we supportedVerificado 2018 a joint effort across over 90 news organizations and NGOs to fact check claims and prevent the spread of misinformation. To assist with the fact checking efforts, over the past year we’ve trained over 1000 journalists across Mexico on  Google verification tools, such as reverse image Search. In three and a half months leading up to the election, the Verificado coalition identified over 180 false stories and reached more than 1.3 million people on their website and social media channels.

Verificado2018-1.JPG

Reporters who participated in Verificado 2018

With presidential elections in Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil, 2018 is an important year for politics in Latin America. As voters across the world prepare to vote, we’re building tools and partnerships helps users engage more seamlessly in their democratic processes.

You can learn more about our work at google.com/elections and about the Google News Initiative’s work to support the news industry to fight misinformation atg.co/newsinitiative.


Hey Google, what’s the news?

Back at Google I/O, we launched the new Google News to help you keep up with the news that matters to you. Since then, millions of you have turned to Google News to follow the big stories of the day, subscribe to your favorite local and national publishers, and dig into topics and people you care about.


But there are moments in the day when you want to catch up on the news while your eyes or hands are busy. Maybe you’re listening to a podcast as you walk to work or catching up on what’s happening while driving to pick up the kids. We are beginning to bring the best of Google News to devices with the Google Assistant so that you can stay up to date wherever you are.


Last week, in the U.S., Lenovo launched the first of many Smart Displays with the Google Assistant. Smart Displays help you get more done with a glanceable touch screen and offer video or audio news briefings to catch you up on headlines, sports, politics, and more. You can choose your preferred news sources from hundreds of national and local broadcasters including CNBC, CNN, Cheddar and more. Just ask, “Hey Google, what’s the news?”

smart display

When you want to go deeper or learn more about a specific topic, ask the Assistant: “What’s the news on the women’s national soccer team?” or “What’s the latest on NASA?” The Google Assistant will find relevant videos from YouTube to play on your Smart Display, and on Assistant speakers like Google Home, it will read out excerpts from news articles from a growing list of publishers.

And whether you’re at home or on the go, the Assistant is there to help you stay informed. All these features are available today on Android phones and will soon be coming to Android Auto and Assistant-enabled headphones (including Google Pixel Buds).

Right now, these updates are coming to devices with the Google Assistant in the U.S. We plan to learn from the U.S. launches and then expand further, so stay tuned for more as we grow the news on the Google Assistant community globally.


How we’re helping journalists prepare for upcoming elections

Around the world, voters are preparing for major elections. By the end of 2019, we'll see midterms in the U.S., parliamentary elections in the E.U., and national elections in Brazil, Nigeria and India, to name a few.

And ahead of any election, journalists and fact checkers face a challenge: confronting mis- and disinformation on the web, in real time. In the lead-up to these elections, cadres of journalists will work around the clock to ensure voters receive accurate information about the races, the candidates and the issues.

To support journalists in giving voters the information they need, the Google News Initiative has invested in a number of efforts across the news industry. One key part of this effort is Google's long-standing partnership with First Draft, a project of Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, which recently convened more than 100 journalists from across the country to verify stories, rumors and tips so they don’t give oxygen to inaccurate stories.

GNI_CameronHickey.JPG

First Draft’s Cameron Hickey provides examples of memes that were created with the intention to deceive.

First Draft, an organization that began in 2015 to educate journalists on how to verify user-generated content, has long championed the work of reporters who strive to separate fact from fiction. As a founding partner of First Draft, Google has supported the organization with funding, technology and project support. Together, we’ve provided trainings to help thousands of journalists verify online content quickly, and with confidence. The training is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese, and over the next few months, it will be translated into Arabic, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Russian.

In 2018, First Draft set an ambitious goal to train more than 10,000 journalists, and so far this year, they’ve run “train the trainer” events in Indonesia, Singapore and India. At these events, newsroom leaders are trained on verification skills, and then take their learnings back to their newsrooms. And just last month, with more support from the Google News Initiative, First Draft trained a global network of journalists and fact-checkers, with participants traveling from countries including Australia, Peru, Estonia and Pakistan.

But training alone isn’t enough to combat the problem of mis- and disinformation. We’ve also worked with First Draft to convene newsrooms who otherwise might not collaborate on election coverage in the U.S., France, Germany, the U.K. and Brazil. In each project, we provided tools, data and support to ensure that people are reading news stories that have been verified or fact-checked. Between the efforts—Electionland in the U.S., CrossCheck in France, Full Fact in the U.K. and Comprova in Brazil—we’ve brought together hundreds of newsrooms in multiple regions, to collectively debunk false, or misleading storiestargeted to deceive voters.

As disinformation operatives become more sophisticated, global demand to combat them has increased. We are proud to see First Draft evolve to answer the needs of the moment. While we’re doing work on Google’s own platforms to detect, combat and address misleading information, we know that working with groups like First Draft, and the news industry, is key to our collective success.

Hey Google, what’s the latest news?

Since launching the Google Assistant in 2016, we have seen users ask questions about everything from weather to recipes and news. In order to fulfill news queries with results people can count on, we collaborated on a new schema.org structured data specification called speakable for eligible publishers to mark up sections of a news article that are most relevant to be read aloud by the Google Assistant.

When people ask the Google Assistant -- "Hey Google, what's the latest news on NASA?", the Google Assistant responds with an excerpt from a news article and the name of the news organization. Then the Google Assistant asks if the user would like to hear another news article and also sends the relevant links to the user's mobile device.

As a news publisher, you can surface your content on the Google Assistant by implementing Speakable markup according to the developer documentation. This feature is now available for English language users in the US and we hope to launch in other languages and countries as soon as a sufficient number of publishers have implemented speakable. As this is a new feature, we are experimenting over time to refine the publisher and user experience.

If you have any questions, ask us in the Webmaster Help Forum. We look forward to hearing from you!

DNI Fund Report showcases projects making a difference in the news industry

There are few things more important to society than a free and thriving press. As the digital world evolves, journalists and publishers are facing new opportunities, but also new challenges. Being given the flexibility and and budget to experiment with news innovation projects can help solve some of these challenges.


For almost three years the Digital News Innovation Fund—a part of the Google News Initiative—has supported publishers in this work, with a €150 million commitment to kick-start and nurture innovative projects within the European news ecosystem. €94 million of this has been committed to date, with the next round of funding to come.


Today, we are proud to announce the launch of the 2018 DNI Fund Report, which outlines the impact of projects funded so far. To date we have received more than 4,800 applications, with 461 successful projects from 29 countries, for a total amount of €94m in funding.


We appreciate execution takes time, and we now see projects which were submitted as initial ideas developed and deployed as elegant solutions in newsrooms across Europe. The report features projects that have made progress tackling four key industry challenges:


  • Battling misinformation: Projects that work to defend and protect quality journalism by using fact checking and other technologies to combat misinformation
  • Telling local stories: Projects that ensure that local and smaller publishers have a louder voice in the digital space
  • Boosting digital revenues: Projects that aim to help publishers access new or better opportunities to turn their content into revenue
  • Exploring new technologies: Projects that use digital technology to automate work streams or content in order to support original journalism or improve the reader experience

Digital News Initiative Fund - To Date

These are issues facing everyone in the news ecosystem across Europe, and are some of the most compelling topics for applicants. Amongst the projects included are: Full Fact, an independent charity that uses automated fact checking to verify 25,000+ media items per week; La Voz de Galicia, whose Hyperlocal Listener and Community Manager software solutions help journalists target the needs of local users; Steady, which enables digital publishers to monetize individual content pieces through subscription revenue; and Frames, who harness the power of data journalism, simplifying and popularising its usage.


This year many projects took an increasingly collaborative approach, with publishers working across organizational and national lines—pooling resources and sharing knowledge to create bespoke projects; or using open source coding.


From startups to large newsrooms, at local and national news outlets, DNI-funded projects are embracing the opportunities where technology can empower digital journalism, evolving and reinventing everything from subscriptions and fact checking to personalised content and reader engagement.


See what the world is searching for with the updated Google Trends

Google Trends has become a key part of journalistic storytelling, giving reporters everywhere an insight into search trends across the world. Today, we’re updating Google Trends with new features, simpler navigation and more ways to explore data and stories around one of the world’s biggest journalistic datasets. Many of the changes are based on feedback from Trends users.

The new design puts more editorial data-based stories up front, and gives you the ability to create your own stories using Year in Search data, or by exploring the revamped Trending searches and Explore pages. Go to trends.google.com to get started with new features, including:

  • A revamped Trending searches section, showing what is trending in search right now, both daily and minute-by-minute.

  • A newly-designed section where you can see Google Trends data stories curated by the News Lab team on everything from the Trump Administration through Mother’s Day. It’s also a great place to find amazing examples of Google data visualizations by newsroom designers from all over the world.

  • Easy access to Year in Search data going back to 2001, so you can see how search interest has changed over time.

  • New infographic types such as an intensity map to compare different topics in more meaningful ways.

Taylor Swift Kim Kardashian Trends

Map showing Taylor Swift vs Kim Kardashian across the U.S., with the split in search alongside.

All your favorite features are still there, including real time (minute-by-minute) feeds and daily Trends pages, and the Explore page, where you can search for anything you want.

We’re already working with journalists closely across emerging technologies as part of the Google News Initiative, partnering on innovative projects and building new tools for data journalism. We think these changes to Google Trends will be really valuable, but journalist feedback is important in ensuring that we continue to create features that work for the industry. We'd love to hear what you think—please send us your reactions through the feedback button on the site.