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GNI YouTube innovation funding: supporting 87 news organisations in 23 countries to build video capabilities and innovate with new formats



In July, as part of the Google News Initiative (GNI), innovation funding to help newsrooms and publishers strengthen their online video capabilities and experiment with new formats for video journalism was announced. Hundreds of organisations submitted proposals through an open application process and today, we can reveal the 87 recipients.

From 23 countries around the world, they represent a diverse array of broadcasters, traditional and digital publishers, local media, agencies and creators, but all share a commitment to quality journalism and a spirit for innovation.

Many projects seek to enhance video operations and incubate new ways of reporting news through video - from adapting formats to better resonate with younger audiences on the internet to exploring live and fact-checking formats. Other projects focus on improving the sustainability of news organisations, including work on new business models and programs to support a healthy news ecosystem.

There are two Aussie recipients, including:

  • Junkee: One of Australia's fastest growing and most innovative new media companies, Junkee will push boundaries even further and experiment with new ways of informing audiences. 

Tim Duggan, Publisher at Junkee Media said: “We’ve always been at the forefront of innovative new content formats, which is why we’re so thrilled that YouTube’s funding will help us push the boundaries even further and experiment with new ways of informing our audience about news they really care about. We’ve got so many exciting ideas we’ve been itching to test out, and this funding will enable us to create them on YouTube in a really meaningful way. We can’t wait to get stuck into it and share our learnings with the rest of the journalism community.”

  • Nine News: Dedicated to delivering the latest news and headlines from Australia and the world, Nine’s strategy is to create premium content, distribute it broadly and engage audiences. Now, the outlet will experiment with reaching global audiences and distributing Australian news content more broadly. 

“Nine’s strategy is to create premium content, distribute it broadly and engage our audiences. The YouTube Innovation project gives Nine the opportunity to experiment with a global audience distributing Nine’s great Australian content more broadly while evaluating various commercialisation models,” said a Nine spokesperson.

And here is a sample of some of the projects funded from around the world:

  • Advance Local (United States): US publisher Advance Local will build out a new format for local news storytelling, enabling them to connect more deeply with their communities across the country. They will start in Michigan, where MLive Media Group (Mlive.com) will connect directly with its viewers, providing avenues for action on topics of important local interest, giving viewers the information they need to have their voice heard on issues of the day. 
  • The Economist (United Kingdom): British publisher The Economist will strengthen its video production facilities and expertise, enabling it to launch a weekly video format that will explore the true story behind trending news topics. Through live streaming and audience engagement tools, viewers will be able to interact with the story along with the producers, their processes and sources. The new format aims to give viewers the tools to spot misinformation, analyze news sources and join the conversation. 
  • HugoDécrypte (France): A top French news creator, HugoDécrypte will staff and train a production team to create a studio-based live news show. The show will form an on-screen meeting place for HugoDécrypte’s YouTube community to learn about and debate the key news issues of the day. It will consist of regular segments including news bulletins, fact-checking and interviews with well-known political figures and subject matter experts. 
  • La Nación (Argentina): One of Argentina’s leading newspapers, La Nación will enhance their video operations at large. In business since 1870, La Nación has a rich history in print journalism, which they are extending to video. This funding will be used to grow their video team, improve digital video skills and increase output, enabling them to deliver engaging content, including behind the scenes snapshots of their hard-hitting investigative journalism and fresh takes on news of the day through video digests. 
  • Narasi TV (Indonesia): Independent Indonesian journalist Najwa Shihab’s media company will mobilize its community across the country’s 34 provinces. It will host workshops to train budding citizen journalists on visual storytelling, news video production and media literacy, encouraging more Indonesians to become credible content creators as well as critical consumers of media. Meanwhile, Narasi TV’s own investigative journalism team will staff up their video team to produce more in-depth reports, particularly in hotly contested parts of the country in the run-up to Indonesia’s general elections. 
  • Thairath (Thailand): The digital arm of one of Thailand’s oldest news publishers, Thairath, will create a rights management platform for Thailand’s freelance journalists. This platform will help Thai “stringers” more easily manage their footage rights from media companies. By protecting and promoting the important work of independent Thai journalists, the effort will support both the Thai media ecosystem and global news agencies seeking news about Thailand.   

Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to supporting a strong future for news video. Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing insights gained from the projects and giving newsrooms the opportunity to benefit from the learnings, as we work together to support the development of long-term, sustainable news video businesses.

For more information about YouTube’s work with the news industry, please visit our website. We look forward to seeing how our partners across the globe push the boundaries of video journalism.