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Media Innovation: Google Offers $2.1m Funding for Second Phase of GNI Innovation Challenge



Media Innovation: Google Offers $2.1m Funding for Second Phase of GNI Innovation Challenge

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Google has announced to offer $2.1 million in funding to 22 media innovators through the second phase of Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge.

The announcement came through Ludovic Blecher, Head GNI on Wednesday, in a statement that GNI is one of the efforts Google put forward to help news frontiers in their transition to a digital future.

In the statement, the second Google News Initiative would cover Africa, the Middle East and Turkey.

Blecher affirmed that the program focuses on three pillars; elevating and strengthening quality journalism; evolving business models to drive sustainable growth; and empowering news organisations through technological innovation.

He further said that a total of 329 established publishers, online-only players, news startups, publisher consortia and local industry associations applied from 35 countries across the regions.

Blecher said that it showed the diversity and the appetite for innovation of the news-ecosystem.

The GNI executive said that a rigorous review process, a round of interviews and a jury selection process followed for the final selection of successful recipients.

The applications for the second GNI Innovation Challenge opened in February and closed in April 12, 2021.

According to Blecher, the vivacity of the markets in the 14 countries where the projects were selected can clearly be seen in the vast range of news players, topics and technologies considered.

“The applicants’ innovations addressed issues ranging from audience development to virtual reality storytelling and recipients were able to clearly demonstrate their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

“We are excited about the 2021 GNI Innovation Challenge projects and we will be following their progress alongside those of previous recipients.

“They are already impacting in the news ecosystem with initiatives that increase reader engagement and make for a more sustainable future for news,’’ he stated.


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