Author Archives: Kai Ridenoure

News Brief: February Updates from the Google News Initiative

Last month we announced new opportunities for student journalists to develop their reporting skills, and new resources for news organizations to grow their digital business. World events reminded us of the importance of a free press, and in many areas of the world, we expanded on efforts to combat misinformation ahead of elections. Read on for February updates below.

Combating misinformation ahead of elections in Asia and Europe
In collaboration with Meedan and Rappler, we launched #FactsFirstPH, a coalition of more than 100 groups — news, civil society, business, religious groups, academia and legal communities — to create a whole-society approach to attack disinformation ahead of the Philippines election this May. The event will be headlined by Nobel Peace Prize laureate and journalist Maria Ressa.

In France, together with our partner AFP, we announced the 21 members of “Objectif Désinfox,'' a coalition to fight misinformation ahead of the French presidential election.

The Google News Initiative India Training Network, in partnership with DataLEADS, ran PollCheck 2022, a digital training series designed to support journalists reporting the upcoming state polls in India. Topics included data verification, fact-checking, mobile journalism, data visualization and digital safety.

A large group poses for a photo with a banner that reads “Trusted Media Summit 2018” in the background

Fact-check members at the Trusted Media Summit 2018

Expanding support for Indonesian fact-checking coalition
The Google News Initiative was a founding supporter of CekFakta, a fact-checking coalition based in Indonesia, when it launched in 2018. We announced an additional 11 billion IDR ($815,000 USD) to bring more local news organizations into the network, expanding reach around the country.

Introducing the Google News Initiative Student Fellowship 2022

In partnership with the European Journalism Centre, the Google News Initiative has made 30 fellowships available across 14 European countries with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. The 30 successful applicants will receive a full time, paid, eight-week internship in a leading newsroom. For more information and to apply see

Giving European publishers tools to grow their reader revenue

This month we announced the return of the GNI Subscriptions Academy for Europe, in collaboration with INMA and FT Strategies. The eight-month program is designed to help European publishers strengthen digital subscriptions capabilities and grow reader revenue. Applications are open until March 14.

Helping news organizations to grow their digital business

The Google News Initiative Digital Growth Program has helped more than 5,000 news organizations around the world to grow their business through free business trainings and digital resources. Last month, we developed a free workshop series on how news organizations can collect, analyze and use data to increase their audience size and earn more revenue. The workshops are available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

In North America, we kicked off the 2022 Ad Transformation Lab, a four-month program to help 15 Black- and Latino- owned publications in the U.S. and Canada advance their advertising strategies and grow digital revenue.

We sponsored the News and Information division of the inauguralNext Challenge, which is run by the Glen Nelson Center at American Public Media Group. Three of the finalists are former graduates of the GNI Startups Boot Camp:Shasta Scout ('20),Queerency ('21) andAZ Luminaria ('21).

Growing the next generation of journalists

As part of our ongoing efforts to humanize news for younger consumers, we partnered with Baruch College on a program promoting journalism education, school newspapers and news literacy in underserved New York high schools. The program aims to help launch at least 25 school newspapers by the end of 2023.

We announced a new fellowship piloted by Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) to deepen audience engagement and increase staff diversity in the nonprofit newsrooms. The six-month fellowship will connect INN member news organizations with recent college graduates to focus on community engagement, digital marketing, digital communications or audience growth projects.

An illustration of a young girl, wearing a blue scarf and holding up a sign that says “Las Niñas no se Tocan,” which means “Girls don’t touch each other” in Spanish. The illustration is an example of a story created on WebStories.

"Girls don't touch each other " project by La Cola De Rata from Colombia, created on WebStories

Engaging audiences in Latin America with web stories

We launched a Storytelling Innovation Program for Latin America featuring more than 70 digital publishers across Argentina, Colombia and Brazil. These publishers partnered with Google and Fundación Gabo, to receive training, and technical guidance to experiment with Web Stories. More than 1,000 stories have been published with impressive preliminary results: some publishers saw traffic increase by 30%.

Promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in Latin American newsrooms

To promote more diverse, inclusive and equitable reporting, and also to support the creation of more inclusive workplaces for journalists, we launched the course "How to promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in Latin American journalism" in partnership with the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. The course covers topics such as gender, race, human rights and diversity and is led by four prominent Latin American journalists.

Adapting, growing and challenging subscription products

We partnered with Gruner+Jahr, one of Europe’s leading premium magazine publishers, to support the implementation of special-interest digital subscription products across their portfolio. This helped them to grow subscriptions more affordably and develop new subscriptions products more quickly. and more quickly than before.

That’s all for February. Stay in touch on social and through the Google News Initiative newsletter for more updates.

News Brief: August updates from the Google News Initiative

Last month, we focused on a number of strategies to empower journalists. Our projects included increasing access to technology, enabling press freedom, supporting prospective and emerging digital journalism founders and sustaining learning opportunities. Read on for August updates.

Supporting journalists in Afghanistan

Google and Googlers are providing more than $4 million in support to front line organizations aiding those who are particularly impacted by the crisis in Afghanistan. As part of these efforts, the Google News Initiative has donated $250,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists to aid Afghan journalists.

Training aspiring journalists through the GNI Fellowship in Europe

The Google News Initiative Fellowship logo, along with the Google News Initiative and European Journalism Centre logos, on an abstract colored background.

Illustration by Roselyne Min

In partnership with the European Journalism Centre, we announced the 2021 class of the Google News Initiative Fellowship in Europe. Through the fellowship, 30 aspiring journalists from diverse backgrounds will be placed at participating newsrooms across 14 countries. During a period of eight weeks, these young professionals will develop skills in areas ranging from technology, multimedia and design to data, audience development and fact-checking.

Teaching small news organizations about artificial intelligence

Twenty journalists and media professionals from Africa, Europe and the Middle East have been selected for JournalismAI’s first-everAI academy for small newsrooms. Selected participants come from 16 different countries, including Nigeria, Lebanon, Denmark, Kenya, Turkey and Spain. They work for investigative journalism organizations, newspapers, news podcasts, financial news outlets and more. The academy was developed in partnership with POLIS, the journalism think tank at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Celebrating innovation in journalism around the world

Building on the Digital News Innovation Fund in Europe, Google News Initiative Innovation Challenges have supported more than 180 projects that bring new ideas to the news industry. Around the world, we’re learning from former Innovation Challenge recipients who are using their funding to drive innovation in news.

A screenshot of Tiempo Argentino's open-source membership platform, which gives readers the option to become members through different contributions amounts.

Innovation Challenge recipient Tiempo Argentino, the biggest cooperative media outlet in Argentina, has launched an open-source membership platform. It is also sharing instructions so that any nonprofit news organization can take the tools and do the same. Each component of their GitHub repository includes a tutorial with screenshots, pictures and FAQ guide for developers on how to use the tools. 

Lighthouse Journalism: Shine a light on stories that matter!

TheIndian Express has launched Lighthouse Journalism, a crowdfunding platform to showcase and bring to light stories that are otherwise ignored or under-reported in mainstream media. Users can suggest topics for a journalist to cover and can raise money and support by campaigning through social media. The launch was coordinated to mark India’s 75th Independence Day.

Breaking down the basics for news entrepreneurs

We launched a live and on-demand video workshop series in North America to support prospective and emerging digital journalism founders. The Startups Workshop series demystifies the process of launching a startup, breaks down the business basics of running an organization and showcases available resources from the GNI, like the Startups Playbook, GNI Startups Boot Camp and News Entrepreneur Slack Community. More than 500 publishers have tuned in so far for presentations led by founders like Candice Fortman ofOutlier Media, Kara Meyburg Guzman ofSanta Cruz Local and Megan Raposa ofSioux Falls Simplified.

Enabling the development of news products

We launched a series of product development through the Google News Initiative Digital Growth Program. More than 500 news organizations joined the first week of workshops across North America and Latin America. The workshops will expand to other regions and continue through October, covering topics such as “Executing your Product Vision” and “Best Practices in Product Thinking.” News organizations can also apply to participate in our Product Labs, which provide hands-on guidance over several months on developing new products, with support from the Google News Initiative and industry experts.

Backing the next generation of journalists on YouTube

In April, we opened applications for two new YouTube programs focused on supporting the next generation of reporters and newsrooms: a creator program for independent journalists, which aims to help independent reporters succeed on YouTube, and the Sustainability Lab for digital-first newsrooms, which provides support for digital native news organizations to start and expand their video operations. Last month, we announced the selection of nearly 50 independent journalists and 40 digital-first newsrooms across both programs.

That’s a wrap for August. For more updates, stay in touch on social and through our newsletter.

News Brief: July updates from the Google News Initiative

Last month, we explored mental health resources for journalists in the U.K., inclusive news coverage and innovation in Latin America, leadership training for reporters in Asia Pacific and more. Keep reading for July updates.

Promoting mental health in the media industry 

Many of the challenges that impacted the mental health of journalists in the months and years before the global pandemic have been exacerbated by COVID-19. We’re supporting the Headlines Network to test out a new form of training in the United Kingdom to strengthen and promote mental health in the media industry. Independent industry experts will offer a safe space for early career journalists, new managers, mid-career journalists and senior leadership.

Reflecting on diversity in Latin American Journalism

We partnered with The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas to publish the ebook “Diversity in Latin American Journalism,” which was announced at the annual conference of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. In the book, 16 journalists from seven countries reflect on how to make newsrooms and news coverage more inclusive across gender, sexual orientation, racial and ethnic issues and disability. The ebook is available for free in Spanish.

Celebrating Innovation Challenge recipients

Building on the Digital News Innovation Fund in Europe, Google News Initiative Innovation Challenges have supported more than 180 projects that bring new ideas to the news industry. Around the world, we’re learning from former Innovation Challenge recipients who are using their funding to drive innovation in news.

A group of four women and two men stand in front of a painting posing for the picture

Latin America Innovation Challenge recipients from Editora del Mar S.A. in Colombia

We recently supported 21 projects from nine countries in Spanish-speaking Latin America and Brazil. This year, we asked for new news projects and business models, with a strong focus on underrepresented publishers and diversity, equity and Inclusion as part of the selection criteria. Recipients included an analytics platform from La Gacetain Argentina, a transparency platform from Associação Fiquem Sabendo in Brazil, an open-source data platform fromEditora del Marin Colombia (pictured) and more.

A group of 7 people standing and posing for a picture

The membership team from the Daily Maverick

Innovation Challenge recipients were awarded across six categories in the WAN-IFRA Digital Media Africa awards. South Africa’s Daily Maverick, whose Innovation Challenge project created a relevancy engine for data-driven customer insights, took both the Best Paid Content Strategy award and the newly introduced Best Trust Initiative award.

A screenshot of the Bytecast app recording an audio clip

Reporters in the U.K. are using an audio collection tool developed in the U.S.

Audio tool Bytecast, created as part of the Innovation Challenge in North America, has crossed the Atlantic and is now rolling out to local news organizations in the United Kingdom. Newsquest, which has more than 120 news brands, is using the app to help reporters record, edit and upload audio clips from the field. The content supported by the tool is encouraging new and existing readers to pay for their local news.

Advancing parents and caregivers in Asia Pacific newsrooms

We launched the second iteration of our leadership training pilot in Korea in partnership with the Journalists Association of Korea and HeyJoyce — Korea’s largest community for women — to help equip reporters on parental leave for leadership roles when they return to work. Inspired by what we’ve learned in Korea, we’ve also launched a back-to-work program for the APAC region with WAN-IFRA, and a new program in Australia in partnership with Women in Media.

That’s all for July. Stay in touch on social and the Keyword blog for more updates.

News Brief: June updates from the Google News Initiative

Last month, we expanded journalist training in India to combat misinformation, invested in startups growth in Latin America, learned about innovative news projects around the world and more. Read on for June updates.

Combating misinformation in India

In India, DataLEADS, our Google News Initiative training network partner, completed a 35-day virtual roadshow to provide digital verification skills to over 4,000 people. More than 700 organizations took part in workshops focused on tackling misinformation related to COVID-19 vaccines.

Supporting news startups in Latin America

The Google News Initiative Startups Lab is expanding to Spanish-speaking Latin America, in partnership with SembraMedia. Through direct funding and an intensive six-month curriculum, the Lab will help a group of up to 12 early-stage digital news businesses develop financial sustainability and growth. This builds on lessons learned from the Startups Labs in Brazil and North America. 

Last month, we also released a Spanish version of the Google News Initiative Startups Playbook, a guide to building a successful digital news business from scratch.

Engaging with the global news community through Newsgeist

Together with other news industry leaders, we organized a virtual, week-long version of Newsgeist, an opportunity to connect with the global news community to discuss relevant topics, share projects and initiatives and tackle challenging problems facing the news industry together. The event brought together more than 600 journalists, business leaders, tech leaders, academics and others for a discussion about the state and future of the news industry

Collaborating on AI literacy

Over the next six months, 24 international news organizations will take part in acollaborative experiment across Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas. The program was developed  in partnership with Polis, the London School of Economics and Political Science’s journalism think tank, through JournalismAI, our efforts to strengthen AI literacy within newsrooms, and convene the industry around common challenges and opportunities.

Learning from Innovation Challenge recipients

Building on the Digital News Innovation Fund in Europe, Google News Initiative Innovation Challenges have supported more than 180 projects that inject new ideas into the news industry. Around the world, we’re learning from former Innovation Challenge recipients who are using their funding to drive innovation in news.

  • Word in Black chose Juneteenth, the anniversary of the day the last slaves were freed in the U.S., to launch a new website and newsletter for Black communities in collaboration with theLocal Media Foundation

  • AnyClip combines artificial intelligence and search tools to provide video analytics for content providers. The Israeli startup has raised an additional $47 million to build out its platform and expand business after seeing 600% growth in the last year.

  • Socialbeat is an Italian startup developed through a collaboration between Accenture and Italian publisher SESAAB. With the help of a recent investment, they’ll continue to enhance their AI-powered software platform for aggregation and content selection.

  • The Sicilian Post created the ARIA project, which allows journalists to automatically create illustrative graphics using data. This month, they hosted a workshop to introduce participants to the project at an Italian conference

Using AI to moderate content

The changing legal and political environment in Europe, as well as growing extremism and polarization in society, means that moderation tools are often inadequate for modern journalism. In light of these factors, Wirtualna Polaska built a moderation engine using Google Cloud tools to help ease the burden on content moderators and provide a safe platform for open discussion in Poland. 

Helping European publishers grow their digital revenue

In partnership withWAN-IFRA, we’re launching the 2021-2022 Table Stakes Europe program designed to help European publishers drive digital revenue growth by focusing on putting audiences first. Applications are now open and will operate on a rolling basis. The program is scheduled to begin in December 2021 and will run for nine months.

That’s a wrap for June. Follow along on social and sign up for our newsletter for more updates.

News Brief: May updates from the Google News Initiative

Last month, we supported new programs to drive business development, media literacy and elections reporting around the world. We’re collaborating with news partners through virtual events, supporting innovation in journalism through new tools, and much more. Read on for May updates.

Providing new resources to drive Advertising revenue 

Starting June 1, the GNI Digital Growth Program is launching Advertisingworkshops in six languages. Workshops will be available in English in North America and the Asia Pacific region, as well as Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and Indonesian. Register today to join them live or on-demand. 

Developing LGBTTQI+ leaders in Latin American media

We partnered with Chicas Poderosas to launch a Leadership Incubator aimed at addressing workplace dynamics in Latin American newsrooms. The program will provide mentoring and training to journalists at local and hyperlocal startups founded by women and people who identify as LGBTTQI+. Participants will work with experts to create a plan to strengthen innovation, collaborative work, diversity and gender perspectives on their teams.

Strengthening Media Literacy in Spanish-speaking Latin America

We’ve launched DigiMente — the first major media literacy program for young people in Spanish-speaking Latin America. Over 12 months the project will provide 20,000 students with the skills to sort fact from fiction online using relevant topics such as memes, video games and music, among others. Building on the foundational work of Google-supported projects such as Civic Online Reasoning (Stanford University) and EducaMidia (Brazil), this new effort was developed in partnership with Movilizatorio and Teach for All

Celebrating GNI Innovation Challenge recipients

Building on the Digital News Innovation Fund in Europe, GNI Innovation Challenges have supported more than 150 projects that inject new ideas into the news industry. Around the world, we’re learning from former Innovation Challenge recipients who are using their funding to drive innovation in news.

Daily Maverick’s membership team posing for a team picture

Daily Maverick’s membership team

Daily Maverick, an online national South African publisher, combined multiple data sources from within its organization — from newsletters, website analytics, memberships and newsroom — to create one essential data hub. The "RevEngine” (short for relevancy engine) then displays daily reports and alerts in easy-to-use dashboards, which have become an essential resource for the publisher’s membership and editorial teams. Membership grew 110% year over year in 2020 and highly engaged readers doubled, thanks to actionable insights derived from RevEngine. Meanwhile, it has also saved the Daily Maverick more than $50,000 in 3rd party SAAS fees.

Young people and educators at a DocsScale event in Oakland

Attendees at a DocsScale event in Oakland

Independent Television Service (ITVS), a California-based public broadcasting partner, has producedDocSCALE, an interactive survey tool designed for both engaging audiences and generating data. It allows viewers to share feedback, and the chance to interact with fellow audience members in response to programming. The platform has improved the depth and diversity of membership engagement, increased opt-in email subscriptions and filled a qualitative data gap for public television stations. See DocSCALE in action at thisevent from May 27 withMaryland Public Television.

The Reveniu Team meets virtually

The Reveniu Team

Chilean consortium Mecenas Spa has signed up 20 newsrooms to its Reveniu platform, which enables publishers to sell memberships, solicit donations and easily collect payments. As a result, one membership client raised more than $30,000 dollars in six months — almost a third of its entire budget — using the platform. Investors have jumped on board, with expansion to Peru, Colombia or Mexico due later this year. 

Supporting Germany’s election with resources for journalists

In the run up to Germany’s national election in September, we partnered with dpa (the German Press Agency) to launch FaktenCheck21. The program will support local and national newsrooms, establishing fact-checking teams through training bootcamps, an open learning platform called dpa factify and a Slack community to encourage collaboration. Journalists from more than 100 newsrooms across Germany already participated in the training and 400 are collaborating on Slack. GNI also launched the GNI live training series for German journalists on online security, verification and data journalism.

Enhancing media literacy in Germany 

In partnership with German publisher DIE ZEIT, we sponsored and co-hosted ZEIT for teachers, a digital unconference as part of the learning platform ZEIT for schools. More than 950 German-speaking teachers from 26 countries including Brazil and Argentina participated in the two-day virtual conference with panels, workshops and networking opportunities.  We tackled topics such as media and information literacy, new teaching tools, resilience and disinformation.  

Connecting European publishers through News Impact Summits

As part of its ongoing partnership with the GNI, the European Journalism Centre (EJC) will host twoNews Impact Summit events in 2021. One will be devoted to diversity, equality and inclusion, while the other will focus on data journalism. On June 15, “Democratising data: Making data a tool of effective journalism" will explore how data visualisation can impact public debate. “Diversity, equity and inclusion in the media industry: How can journalism better cover our changing societies?” will follow on September 23. 

Innovating with AI in Asia Pacific

The London School of Economics, GNI’s partner within theJournalismAI initiative, hasannounced the five selected newsrooms for this year'sCollaborative Challenge in Asia Pacific: Fuji Television (Japan),  Initium Media (Hong Kong), Singapore Press Holdings (Singapore), South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and The Quint (India). They will work with theTimes School of Media and the Computer Science Engineering Department of Bennett University to explore how AI-driven audience insights can help newsrooms produce more relevant coverage. The outcome of their work will be presented at theJournalismAI Festival later this year.

Checking Vaccine Misinformation in India

In India, our longstanding training partnership with DataLEADS continues with a specific fact-checking Town Hall Series to help journalists explore tools and strategies they can use to identify and combat vaccine-related misinformation. VaxCheck will hold 30 workshops for journalism students and media professionals across the country. The program  runs through June 8th. 

Convening industry leaders at Newsgeist

We co-hosted Newsgeist 2021, an “unconference” organized by Google along with leaders and thinkers across the news industry. The virtual event series, which held sessions on May 18–20 with more scheduled for June 15–17, features discussions about the future of news with a program crowd-sourced by the attendees themselves.

Setting startups on a sustainable path

10 participants of the first NorthAm Startups Lab, which is being run in association with LION Publishers, completed an in-depth curriculum on business sustainability. GNI will now fund revenue and audience growth experiments for each participant, to be designed by each publisher alongside their experienced Startups Lab coaches, Lizzy Hazeltine, Lillian Ruiz and Brian Boyer.

Growing the Tiny News Collective

After launching an ambitious outreach plan this spring, Tiny News Collective received 43 organization applications from 53 aspiring and diverse founders hoping to start their own Tiny News businesses. An experienced team of industry experts and veteran startup founders narrowed the applicants to a finalist round of eight publishers. Six entrepreneurs will ultimately be invited to join the Tiny News cohort in June.

That’s all for May updates. Follow along on social and sign up for our newsletter for more.

News Brief: April Updates from the Google News Initiative

Last month, we heard from industry experts who are thinking through new ways to support and engage with hyperlocal news. We’re learning how we can help ensure newsrooms are more reflective of the communities they cover. And we’re thinking about how these new technologies and news formats can translate to increased revenue for publishers. Keep reading for April updates.

Elevating the voices of underrepresented journalists

To align with our goal of raising authoritative news and diverse voices on the platform, YouTube partnered with the Maynard Institute to help create a training program to elevate the voices of  journalists from underrepresented backgrounds. The group of 14 journalists will participate in monthly training sessions with the goal of using their journalistic expertise to build successful YouTube channels, expanding their audiences and developing their brands.

Supporting diversity in European newsrooms

In collaboration with the European Journalism Centre, we’re providing 30 paid newsroom summer placements for journalism students across 14 countries. Participating publishers will be provided with resources to ensure a diverse and inclusive selection process. On April 21, they participated in a dedicated workshop moderated by media consultant Naomi Goldsmith.

Training the next generation of hyperlocal publishers across Spanish-speaking Latin America 


Images of seven mentors for a local and digital natives program in Latin America

Mentors for the Local & Digital Natives Program in Latin America

To underline our commitment to supporting high-quality journalism, we’ve developed a new training program designed to support hyperlocal publishers. In partnership with two high-profile nonprofits, Fundación Gabo and Chicas Poderosas, we announced a new hybrid pilot program to support regionally relevant, hyperlocal digital publishers across Spanish-speaking Latin America.

The Local & Digital Natives Program will provide training at scale and mentorship to newsroom leaders in 18 countries for four months, building knowledge and creating a new community around local media.

Providing media literacy resources to university students in Asia  

In tandem with International Fact-Checking Day, we launched an Asia-wide verification challenge for university students. Five hundred and eighteen teams signed up for the two-week challenge, which provides an elementary guideto fact-checking and will be followed by verification workshops in May. In India, English and Hindi-language trainings will be provided in partnership with DataLEADS. 

Developing new tools for news publishers through the GNI Innovation Challenge 

Building on the Digital News Innovation Fund in Europe, GNI Innovation Challenges have supported more than 150 projects that inject new ideas into the news industry. Around the world, we’re learning from former Innovation Challenge recipients who are using their funding to drive innovation in news.

A screenshot of the dashboard for Radar, a tool to help monitor misinformation in Portuguese

Radar, a platform developed by Aos Fatos in Brazil to monitor and combat misinformation

Brazilian fact checking outlet Aos Fatos created a platform called Radar to monitor misinformation, analyzing over 495,000 Portuguese publications on average each week. Radar has helped make verification more efficient for journalists, and has created a new revenue source for Aos Fatos through consulting services and producing custom reports and investigations about disinformation. The platform has won multiple awards, including the Gabo Award for innovation. 

Team members from the Lensfest Local team gather virtually to meet

North America Innovation Challenge recipient The Lenfest Local Lab team

In the U.S., The Lenfest Local Lab worked withThe Philadelphia Inquirer, local community groups and news organizations to drive community engagement through hyperlocal newsletters. Beginning in Fishtown, a neighborhood of about 40,000 residents, the team launched a dedicated newsletter. The mix of local news stories, neighborhood events, resources, real-estate listings and more has already attracted nearly 1,500 subscribers. The newsletter open rate of 45% and clickthrough rate of 10% are well above industry averages. 

The team is now preparing to launch a bilingual newsletter for the residents of West Kensington and Fairhill and haveintegrated their operations into The Inquirer's newsroom. They are also providing open-source materials to help other news organizations who want to explore collaborative, community-based product development.

Zhang Jieping, founder of Matters Lab, speaking at an event

Zhang Jieping, founder of Hong Kong startup Matters Lab

Matters Lab, a startup from Hong Kong, collaborated with infrastructure company Liker.Land and used support from the Innovation Challenge to build an independent journalist network for the Chinese community. The platform has enabled independent journalists to publish more than 26,000 stories on Matters News focused on current public issues in the Chinese community such as the environment, women’s rights and censorship. Individual supporters of Matters News can support contributors through contributions, with writers averaging over $500 each from article sales.

Backing new models for digital news entrepreneurs

We’re supporting aTiny News Launch Fund, which will provide financial support to an initial group of emerging newsrooms to be onboarded to the Tiny News platform over the coming months.

That’s a wrap for April. Follow along on social and our newsletter for more updates.

News Brief: March updates from the Google News Initiative

Three years ago we created the Google News Initiative to build a stronger future for news. The upheaval of the last year has accelerated the demand for journalism, as well as the need for news businesses to transition to digital and sustainable businesses. As we continue to learn from our news partners around the world, we remain committed to working closely with the journalism community to build the constructive and sustainable news industry that’s necessary for our open societies to thrive. For March updates, keep reading.

Supporting the first diversity guide for German media 

Based on research in 2020, our partner Neue Deutsche Medienmacher*innen (NDM) launched the Diversity Guide for German Media, the first comprehensive handbook for German publishers and broadcasters that aims to provide diversity data, local and international best practices and checklists on team culture, recruiting and reporting. We announced the launch during a press conference with 150 journalists and on the Google Germany blog.

Gathering for a conference on diversity in journalism in Spanish-speaking Latin America

More than 2000 journalists from 18 countries attended the first Latin American Conference on diversity, gender and race in journalism, created in partnership with the Knight Center. A follow-up ebook with articles by the speakers will be published in May.
The Spanish website for disinformation trainings for journalists

Journalist trainings on disinformation, data verification and digital tools are available to Latin American newsrooms for free online

Training on disinformation in times of elections

In an election year throughout Latin America, we launched a series of journalist trainings on disinformation, data verification and digital tools. In partnership with First Draft, LatamChequea and local partners, we’ll provide training in seven countries: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru and Mexico. Registrations are free and open online.

Evaluating the health of local news ecosystems

We know that accurate, fact-based news and information is critical for individual, community and local government health. We, along with other funders of news in local communities, share a common challenge: how to assess the health of a given local community’s information ecosystem, and measure change over time.

In collaboration with the Knight Foundation and Democracy Fund, we supported Impact Architects to develop a playbook with a simple set of tools to help communities measure their local news industries, and measure them on an ongoing basis. This playbook was put to the test in nine U.S. communities of various sizes, and in March, we released a report with detailed findings from each of these assessments.

Growing news audiences through the Digital Growth Program

As part of the Digital Growth Program, which was designed to help small and medium publishers grow their online business, we launched new audience development resources including short guides, workshops and labs. The resources build on our analytics tool, News Consumer Insights. Workshops are free and available in English in North America and Asia Pacific, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and Indonesian

The program aims to provide news organizations with practical tips and strategies to develop and grow their readers over time by better understanding their readers, using data analytics, establishing clear goals and building an organizational culture centered around audience. So far more than 1300 people have joined our workshops, which will continue throughout April and are also available on-demand. 

Bringing the GNI Startups Lab to North America

We kicked off the North American GNI Startups Lab, a six-month accelerator for 10 early-stage news businesses seeking financial sustainability and growth. The Lab is being run in partnership with LION Publishers, and builds on the work of Startups Lab Brazil, which launched last year. We plan to announce additional regions for future labs over the coming months.

Driving innovation around the world

Building on the €150 million Digital News Innovation Fund, GNI Innovation Challenges have supported more than 150 projects that inject new ideas into the news industry. Last month, we launched the second Innovation Challenge in Latin America in Spanish and Portuguese, focused on building sustainability and diversity. Q&As are available in Spanish and Portuguese, and applications are open until May 3. 

Around the world, we’re learning from former Innovation Challenge recipients who are using their funding to drive innovation in news.

a photo of Sylvio Costa, founder of Congresso em Foco

Sylvio Costa, founder of Congresso em Foco

Through the first Latin America Innovation Challenge, Brazilian publisher Congresso em Foco has increased their site traffic by 67% year over year. It also generated enough revenue to build and maintain the largest database of federal parliamentarians in the country. This project helped them to grow their understanding of the Brazilian Congress and new business models for journalism.

A collage of the editors of Vibez

The editors of Vibez, accompanied by the text “Meet the editors” in Polish

In Poland, Wirtualna Polska developed a news service for Millennials and Generation Z readers called Vibez, which recently won the Mobile Trends Awards 2020 after receiving over 150,000 unique users per month and 96% of their traffic from mobile.

Using reader data to boost subscriptions for Finnish publisher Sanoma

riptions at Helsingin Sanomat, Finland’s most-read daily newspaper. By feeding audience data to the BigQuery machine-learning platform, Sanoma determines which readers are most likely to pay and what content is most relevant to them. Another tool creates a personalized digital front page, offering relevant articles to likely subscribers. The program has pushed subscriptions to above 400,000 and from 23% to 60% of the publication’s sales.

Increasing user engagement for Jagran New Media with a data-driven content plan 

Through the GNI Data Lab in Asia Pacific, the Hindi news site created a tool for measuring content performance in real time. The dashboard helped editorial teams make more informed decisions, resulting in a 20% increase in article completion rate among the site’s most loyal readers and a 15% increase in the rate at which those readers clicked through to another article. 

Using AI to make Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s paywall smarter

The German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (F.A.Z.) now has a valuable aid when it comes to deciding which articles should sit behind the paywall. Using a tool powered by Google’s machine learning, F.A.Z. editors can analyze previous top performers and predict which current articles will produce similar results. The tool has proven accurate — about half of the predicted conversion rates are nearly 100% accurate — but editors still make the final decision.  

That’s all for March updates. To learn more, follow along on our newsletter and social.

News Brief: February Updates from the Google News Initiative

At the Google News Initiative last month, we felt the love for new publisher tools, training programs and newsroom success stories. See February updates below.

One World Media Fellowship opens for applications

The One World Media Fellowship is a year-long, GNI-supported program aimed at aspiring journalists and filmmakers who seek to report on stories from countries in the Southern Hemisphere. Working in film, print, audio or multimedia, fellows’ projects bring together integrity and creativity to present underreported stories that break down stereotypes and build cross-cultural connections.

Applications are open until April 7, and we particularly encourage submissions from underrepresented ethnic groups, applicants who identify as women, the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities ands people from and based in the global south.

Fostering diversity in Latin American newsrooms

We supported the Diversity in News and in Newsrooms course, developed by the Knight Center. More than 1700 journalists from 12 countries participated in the four-week course, which addressed the challenges of diversity, equity and equality and how to cover these issues. Special guests Keith Woods, NPR's Chief Diversity Officer, and Krissah Thompson, Diversity Editor of the Washington Post, among others, shared their experience and best practices.

Screenshots of The San Francisco Chronicle's simplified new mobile subscription process

San Francisco Chronicle improves mobile subscriptions rate by 54%

The San Francisco Chronicle usedNews Consumer Insights (NCI), a free data tool for news organizations, to grow their mobile subscriptions by 54%. Using NCI, the San Francisco Chronicle team discovered new opportunities to grow subscriptions through their newsletter and developed a simplified mobile subscription process.
GNI Canada event brings together local newsrooms

GNI Canada event brings together local newsrooms

We hosted a GNI Canada event focused on supporting and engaging with the Canadian news industry, enabling connection, learning and growth. More than 100 attendees from local Canadian newsrooms participated in sessions focused on training journalists, growing audience engagement with News Consumer Insights and increasing revenue. 

The Frenchand English sessions are available to view on demand, and Canadian publishers can access resources from the event online.

Taiwanese publisher READr uses audience participation to boost reader engagement

Taiwan’s READr relies on its audience to support its fact-checking platform. Teaming with GNI’s Design Accelerator program in Asia Pacifc, READr boosted reader engagement through opportunities for audience participation, allowing readers to interact with content and provide feedback. The changes grew page views 400% in the first week, increased time spent on site, and helped add 40,000 new users in the first two months. 

That’s all for February. Check back next month for more updates, and follow along through our newsletter and social for more newsroom resources.

News Brief: January updates from the Google News Initiative

For many people, the new year comes with resolutions to learn new skills or adopt healthy habits. We at the Google News Initiative are focusing efforts to make training programs more accessible and learn from newsrooms that are driving innovation in journalism. Read on for highlights from January.

The GNI Subscriptions Lab returns to Europe

Building on last year’s program, this month we announced the 2021 GNI Subscriptions Lab program for Europe, in collaboration with INMA and FT Strategies. The eight-month program is designed to help European publishers strengthen digital subscriptions capabilities and grow reader revenue. Applications are open until February 17.
Computer screen on a neutral background

One World Media Awards support innovation in journalism

We’re continuing our support for the One World Media Awards. Established in 1988, the awards recognize the media coverage and specifically focuses on stories that break through stereotypes. With the Digital Media Award, the Google News Initiative supports a category celebrating creative and innovative use of technology in journalism, all designed to help people gain an understanding of important, underreported stories. In a recent guest blog post, we laid out why we support this award and introduced a number of free digital tools to help journalists.

More than 6,000 German students participate in media literacy competition

We supported the Students for President media literacy competition hosted by our German partner Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). Students were invited to write the inauguration speech of the next U.S. president, and a jury selected seven winning projects. The response was overwhelming: More than 6,000 students participated, contributing to more than 500 creative texts, videos, and podcasts.

Innovation Challenge recipients tackle ethics, subscriptions and audio 

Building on the €150 million Digital News Innovation Fund, GNI Innovation Challenges have supported more than 150 projects that inject new ideas into the news industry. Here’s a look at how some of those projects around the world are using their funding.

The Right to Be Forgotten project emerged as a way for people to have old stories and mugshots removed or amended from old news articles

Two years ago, ThePlain Dealerin Ohio launched its Right to Be Forgotten project as a way for people to have old stories and mugshots removed or amended from old news articles. They join a growing number of newsrooms that are considering how past news coverage can be a permanent obstacle for someone’s future.  Now, The Plain Dealer is using GNI Innovation Challenge Funding to develop digital tools that can help identify and remove problematic content more efficiently.

Over the last six years, Denník N in Slovakia has grown their subscriptions business to 65,000 paying subscribers. With support from Google, Denník N decided to make their subscription software publicly available, and is now used by 30 publishers globally. Tomas Bella, Head of Digital at Denník N, joined WAN-IFRA’s recent Digital Media Europe conference to talk about their subscription process.
Screenshots of the Bytecast app show examples of how reporters in the field can easily record, edit and distribute audio clips

Bytecast, based in the U.S., is an app for reporters in the field to easily record, edit and distribute audio clips. It  was developed after receiving funding from the Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge. The app is currently in beta testing and will be available for other publishers in the future. 

News Consumers Insights (NCI) expands into commerce

While many publishers around the world have been using NCI to make data-informed business decisions that increase digital subscriptions and advertising revenue, we recently worked with Complex Networks to help the publisher grow its commerce business. Using insights from NCI, Complex increased the number of shoppers purchasing by 300% on its Complex SHOP. To learn more about the changes implemented to improve the site’s shopping experience and conversion rates, check out our case study.

Diversity in News and Media course launches in Latin America

In partnership with the Knight Center, we offered the Diversity in News and Media course to explore issues related to diversity, gender and equality in the newsroom. More than 1,700 editors and journalists from 15 Spanish-speaking Latin American countries participated. 

That’s a wrap for January. For more updates, follow along on social media and our newsletter.

News Brief: December Updates from the Google News Initiative

2020 was a year no one expected, and journalists all over the world responded to upheaval by keeping their communities informed. As we closed out the year, Latin American newsrooms demonstrated how technology can make journalism more accessible, and we supported new programs to sustain local and independent journalism. 

Digitizing 80 years of history

Organización Editorial Mexicana (OEM) is the largest Mexican print media company and the largest newspaper company in Latin America. Using Google Cloud’s AI technology, OEM was able to digitize their newspaper and photo archive and create new sources of reader revenue. This process also allowed employees, the news agency, subscribers to the newspaper and researchers to digitally access the cultural heritage of their newspaper and its more than 80 years of documenting history. Included in this archive were several local newspapers, which allow broader access to the more rural and provincial history of Mexico, as well as a record of global events from a Mexican perspective. 

Providing guidance for newsroom mergers through the Public Media Mergers Project

In December, our Public Media Mergers Project concluded its year-long research into mergers between public media groups and independent digital news sites – a rising trend across the country. The project was led by the Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and supported by a partnership between the Public Media Venture Group and the Google News Initiative. We’ve published the Public Media Mergers Playbook to guide public media stations and independent local digital newsrooms through the process of considering and then managing a newsroom merger. We hope this asset encourages more small digital newsrooms and public media stations to explore the possibilities of joining forces to better serve their communities. For more insights on the research, check out Dr. Elizabeth Hansen’s recap of the project, and read the playbook today.

Bringing Latin American journalists together for GNI Summit Hispanoamérica 2020

Bringing Latin American journalists together for GNI Summit Hispanoamérica 2020

We hosted the first regional GNI Summitfor Spanish-Speaking Latin America, bringing together over 550 participants from more than 300 newsrooms and 18 countries. Newsrooms from across the region discussed their work with the GNI to build sustainable business models and combat other challenges facing the news industry.

Supporting NewsMatch, a resource for independent journalism

The Google News Initiative contributed $750,000 to NewsMatch, a program which brings together individual donors, foundations and corporate philanthropists to build fundraising capabilities and inspire giving to members of the Institute for Nonprofit News, a growing network of independent newsrooms that are nonprofit, nonpartisan and dedicated to public service. As part of its partnership, the GNI will provide added support to the participating 266 newsrooms: every organization that raises $11,500 from its audience will receive an equal matching gift from NewsMatch and a $2,500 “GNI Bonus” totaling $14,000. GNI funding will also give an award to newsrooms that bring on 100 first-time donors during the campaign cycle, from November 1 to December 31. As part of the GNI partnership with NewsMatch, all participating newsrooms will receive coaching and personalized support across GNI tools and training, including News Consumer Insights and the GNI Digital Growth Program.

Twenty-five journalists who care deeply about the future of local news

Twenty-five journalists who care deeply about the future of local news

Twenty-five journalists from around the Americas will spend two months focusing on product thinking in the newsroom through a program with News Catalyst and Newmark J-School. The program is designed to teach journalists in small to midsize local news organizations to build, launch and grow news products that serve audiences’ needs.

That’s all for December - follow along on social and our newsletter for more updates.