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News Brief: May updates from the Google News Initiative
Google News Initiative

News Brief: May updates from the Google News Initiative

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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 Advertising workshops 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 produced DocSCALE, 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 this event from May 27 with Maryland 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 two News 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 the JournalismAI initiative, has announced the five selected newsrooms for this year's Collaborative 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 the Times 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 the JournalismAI 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.

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