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.