For more than two decades we’ve worked with news media companies to strengthen quality journalism in Aotearoa and 2022 is no different. As the year draws to a close, we’re pausing to reflect on our efforts - to share key highlights and reflections from our ongoing partnerships.
We’re proud of the launch of News Showcase and have now signed agreements with 23 local news publications, including NZME’s national and regional titles like New Zealand Herald and Whanganui Chronicle, RNZ, BusinessDesk, Scoop Media, Crux Publishing, Newsroom, Pacific Media Network, Sun Media and Times Newspapers. These publishers and their respective mastheads represent a broad mix of audiences across New Zealand, from metropolitan to smaller, regional and ethnically diverse publications.
Throughout the year, our Google News Initiative (GNI) projects focused on advancing quality journalism, strengthening publisher business models and empowering newsrooms through technological innovation. This year alone we’ve reached over 30 news organisations and hundreds of journalists through our programs.
Advancing quality journalism
Training Kiwi journalists
We partnered with Telum Media to deliver a series of 12 in-person digital skills workshops to equip journalists with tools they can use in daily reporting and data visualisation projects. This year, we’ve trained over 100 New Zealand journalists across 30 newsrooms throughout the country.
In August we hosted the Te Rito Journalism Training Camp which saw 25 cadets representing multiple ethnicities, languages, and the rainbow and disability communities from all over the motu participate in training focused on digital skilling and fundamental principles of digital tools and reporting. As part of the Te Rito initiative, established by New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME), Whakaata Māori, Discovery / Newshub and Pacific Media Network, with support from NZ On Air's Public Interest Journalism Fund, these cadets were selected to develop and bring diverse voices into the journalism and broadcasting industry.
Caption: News Lab Teaching Fellow session with Te Rito journalism cadets in August 2022.
Supporting media literacy for New Zealand’s students
News Lab also supports efforts to teach children what information sources they should (and shouldn’t) trust. Newshounds by Squiz Kids is a new media literacy teaching resource for children between 8 and 12 years, supported by GNI and already launched in more than 500 schools in Australia and New Zealand. Teachers that have used the curriculum said students are highly engaged in the lessons and are more likely to think critically about the information they consume.
Supporting Election policy and misinformation tracking
The Policy New Zealand team’s aim is to make it easy to find out who’s running in local elections and what they stand for. This tool is critical to improving access to election information. We’ve supported their efforts for a number of years, including their latest iteration which provides journalists with a database for candidates’ key election policies, supporting their ability to track misinformation. It was utilised by a broad cross-section of media, from national outlets such as Stuff, TVNZ’s Breakfast and Newshub’s Three News, through to community and local news outlets.
Supporting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Through the News Equity Fund - a global commitment from Google to provide financial support and opportunities to news organisations that primarily serve underrepresented communities - four news publishers in New Zealand have received funding for projects that create original journalism for underrepresented audiences. Recipients include Lizard News, The News, Shepherdess and Pacific Media Network.
Strengthening and evolving publisher business models
The GNI Digital Growth Program’s News Fundamentals Series
Through the GNI Digital Growth Program, we’ve helped small and mid-sized news publishers in New Zealand and Australia to develop the capabilities required to accelerate the growth of their businesses online. This year, more than 240 participants from approximately 220 publishers across Australia and New Zealand took part. A link to the on-demand videos can be found here.
GNI News Consumer Insights: Shift Program
The NCI Shift is a free, immersive two-month program developed to support the news industry on how to increase Reader Engagement and Reader Revenue (including contribution models where relevant). The program has provided actionable and personalised insights, data-driven strategies and recommendations through the use of custom audits, group discussions and peer-to-peer learning for a cohort of nine New Zealand digital news publishers.
We are also supporting innovation within the newsroom by partnering with Bastion Transform to create a framework for newsrooms to experiment. We are working with Business Desk NZ and Australian publishers The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and National Indigenous Times to finetune and implement the framework so journalists can prioritise, design, run and measure different opportunities they want to experiment with.
Empowering news organisations through technological innovation
12 projects joined the GNI Startups Boot Camp
In partnership with Fishburners we launched the first GNI Startups Boot Camp in Australia and New Zealand, a program designed to provide hands-on support and coaching to aspiring news entrepreneurs as they establish and grow a new independent journalism venture and set their business on the path to sustainability. Some of the projects that participated in the 2022 cohort includes Nak-Ed, one of New Zealand's first media brands dedicated to exploring the growing sexual wellness scene across marginalised communities. through in-depth, female led reporting.
Supporting new ideas as part of the Asia-Pacific GNI Innovation challenge
This month we were also pleased to share that two Kiwi organisations, Scoop and Kīnga Voxpop, will receive support from the Asia-Pacific GNI Innovation Challenge. These projects focus on innovation to create a more sustainable and diverse news ecosystem.
We are pleased to partner with the New Zealand news industry, as we have done for many years, to ensure New Zealanders have access to relevant and useful information.