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Internet giant Google will launch its Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge in Africa in June.
The initiative, which Google announced last year, is the company’s effort to help news players in their transition to a digital future.
Google does this through the elevation and strengthening of quality journalism, the development of business models that drive sustainable growth and assistance of news organisations through technological innovation.
Last Tuesday (16 April) Google announced in a statement that it had expanded the GNI Innovation Challenge to three new markets, namely the Middle East, Turkey and Africa.
The Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge will provide selected projects with up to $150 000 in funding
The challenge is open to traditional publishers, news startups and associations that aim to build innovative digital media projects.
The GNI Innovation Challenge is inviting proposals from news organisations to address increasing engagement with readers and explore new business models in any form such as subscriptions and membership programmes, among others.
A panel will evaluate the submissions and fund selected projects up to $150 000, with funding for up to 70% of the total project cost.
Google said the funding will be reviewed against several criteria, including a “sharing component” where a project proposal can include publishing findings or holding a public seminar to encourage applicants to share the knowledge and learnings to others.
Google director for news ecosystem development Madhav Chinnappa said pointed out how news publishers in many parts of the world are grappling with questions of how quality journalism can thrive in the digital age.
“With economic models changing and new ways in which people are consuming news, innovation in the news industry has never been more important,” added Chinnappa.
Google News Initiative Innovation head Ludovic Blecher said the firm is “excited” to bring the GNI Challenge to Africa.
“We want to make sure that all news organisations, large and small, legacy publishers as well as new entrants, have the opportunity to inject new ideas into the regional news industry,” he said.
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