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Inviting applications for GNI’s Newsroom Leadership program in India, with Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; A look back at our efforts towards supporting the news industry in 2021

GNI Newsroom Leadership Program, in collaboration with Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism - apply here:

In August 2019, we announced the Google News Initiative Newsroom Leadership Program, in collaboration with Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. This APAC-wide program was aimed at helping journalists learn digital tools that can make great storytelling even better, championing socially-conscious reporting and investigating new approaches to political polling along with exploring new membership and revenue models for news, helping fund the future of journalism in their countries. The 2019 cohort comprised two fellows from India, both of whom benefited greatly from the program and exposure it afforded.

In 2021, the landscape for news, as with businesses across the spectrum, stands altered. Building viable news businesses for the digital world is now a key priority in newsrooms across the globe, with local realities such as the linguistic diversity of a country adding layers that demand localized approaches.

With this context, we are pleased to announce the first India-focused cohort of the Newsroom Leadership program, in collaboration with the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

The program, to be conducted virtually in this edition, aims to enhance the leadership skills and nimble decision-making capacity of newsroom leaders working and living in India, with particular focus on applied technology, audience understanding, design thinking, data applications, emerging business models and editorial innovation. Fellows will gain skills and knowledge to make better strategic decisions for their newsrooms and audiences.

Successful applicants are mid-career newsroom leaders working full-time in editorial positions at news organizations in India. These leaders are furthering diversity, equity and inclusion within their news organizations, and they have been endorsed by their employers. The program is academically rigorous, requiring day-long lectures and speakers, reading and written assignments conducted in English, with no translation.

There is no application fee. The program is free of charge for successful applicants.

The application window is now open and closes on 15 February 2022. Interested applicants can read more about the program here and apply to be part of the new cohort here.

Supporting News through 2021

The Newsroom Leadership Program is the latest in a host of newsroom initiatives by Google to support news publishers and newsrooms in addressing the altered news landscape.

  • Launching Google News Showcase in India
    • To support news organizations and readers, earlier this year, we introduced Google News Showcase, our new online experience and licensing program. This program incentivizes and supports news publishers to curate high quality content on Google’s News and Discover platforms, connecting readers with the news they need.
    • As on date, Google News Showcase works in India with over 60 partners representing more than 100 publications news publishers including national, regional and local news organizations like The Hindu Group, HT Digital Streams Ltd, Indian Express Group, ABP LIVE, India TV, NDTV, Zee News, Amar Ujala, Deccan Herald, Punjab Kesari, The Telegraph India, IANS (Indo Asian News Service) and ANI. We continue to work towards adding more partners to our initiatives to support the industry.

  • Expanding support for multiple Indian languages on Google News Showcase
    • In August, we added support for four new languages - Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu - in addition to English and Hindi, to help more readers get access to quality news in their own languages. We recently announced the further addition of two new languages, Malayalam and Bengali, to Google News Showcase.
    • With the addition of these new languages and new partners, we have now onboarded more than 100 publications from over 60 partners, and support English and 7 Indian Languages in India.

  • Google News Initiative Startups Lab
    • A few months ago, we announced the Google News Initiative Startups Lab - a 16-week catalyst program that aims to help the next generation independent Indian news startups achieve financial and operational sustainability.
    • Created in collaboration between the Google News Initiative (GNI), global innovation lab Echos, and DIGIPUB News India Foundation, the GNI Startups Lab India supports high-quality reporting for local and previously underserved communities.
    • Chosen out of over 70 applicants from across India, the ten selected news startups cover an array of types of journalism, including investigative, broadcast, political, data and local news organizations that give a voice to underrepresented communities. The diverse cohort features newsrooms from around the country, producing news in languages including English, Hindi, Malayalam and Urdu.

  • Google News Initiative Advertising Lab
    • Google News Initiative Advertising Lab supports small and medium sized news publishers producing original news for local and regional communities in India. The program, aimed at newsrooms employing up to 100 members, focusses on technical and product training of teams, as well as technical implementation to help grow the organization’s digital ad revenues.
    • The program has identified over 300 small to medium news publishers and is working closely with a select subset to guide them through the optimization / setup of their content management systems, websites and ad setups.

  • Combating misinformation:
    • We’ve stepped up our work to strengthen digital skills in newsrooms and journalism schools across India. Over the next three years, with increased support from the News Lab, we’ll train 50,000 journalists and journalism students. We’ll focus on digital tools to aid verification and combat misinformation online, and we’ll expand our programs to connect Indian journalists and fact-checkers.
    • These new and expanded programs build on years of investment in India. In 2018, we launched the GNI India Training Network in partnership with DataLeads, Internews and BoomLive. To date, it has trained over 35,000 Indian journalists in 10 languages, touching more than 1,200 news organizations and more than 1000 universities.

  • Other newsroom enablement efforts:
    • New business training workshops, delivered virtually, to help news organizations address the needs of their audiences, grow their readership and deepen reader engagement. These workshops will be available for free to Indian publishers, alongside our existing workshops to support business success for news organizations.
    • The GNI Transformation Lab, a more comprehensive program for 20 local small and mid-sized Indian news organizations to help them succeed online.
    • In response to COVID-19, we provided financial support to 228 news organizations in India through the GNI Journalism Emergency Relief Fund. And Indian publishers including The Hindu, Bloomberg Quint and Chambal Media have benefited from GNI programs like the GNI Innovation Challenges, YouTube Innovation funding and the GNI Subscriptions Labs.

In the time ahead, we look forward to working closely with the news industry and continuing to support authoritative, high-quality journalism in India.