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Google News Initiative

Reader Loyalty and Retention Lab

Applications are now open for the 2024 Google News Initiative Reader Loyalty and Retention Lab in North America. The free-of-charge, six-month Lab will begin in August 2024.

The Lab will guide up to 25 news publishers through the 2024 election cycle and other major news events. This initiative aims to help participants capitalize on an election-driven audience surge to increase long-term loyalty, paying supporters and sustain digital reader revenue over time.

Program structure

By leveraging spikes in audience interest around elections – as well as other significant events like sports championships and extreme weather seasons – publishers will practice strategies to deepen their connection to audiences and keep them engaged after the news cycle ends.

The program, delivered in partnership with Blue Engine Collaborative, has four major components:

  • Audits of your organization’s current reader revenue practices, and strategic guidance around a specific set of measurable outcomes;

  • Hands-on, interactive workshops on best practices and tactical approaches for audience loyalty and retention;

  • Individualized team coaching with Blue Engine’s subject-matter experts; and

  • Sharing insights and results with peers.

Eligibility

  • You are a news organization in the United States or Canada that has produced original content for at least 2 years.

  • You are a nonprofit or for-profit local news organization focused on public service.

  • You have an existing digital reader revenue business (subscriptions, memberships, reader contributions, donations, etc.) and an organization-wide investment in long-term digital growth.

  • You can explain in your application why your organization is specifically ready to “level up” its approach to audience loyalty and reader revenue retention through this program.

  • Commitment to devoting operational and technical resources to the program, along with the willingness to test, improve, and iterate on how you work and your existing products/collateral/technology, etc.

  • Your newsroom has a minimum of two full-time employee (FTE) journalists, up to a maximum of 100 FTE journalists.

  • You can commit 4 hours per week across a cross-functional team of 3-5 people representing the newsroom, digital marketing, product/tech/UX, and data/analytics for the duration of the program. A dedicated project manager will be responsible for ensuring your team attends all sessions and completes all assignments.

  • You are willing to share business insights and openly collaborate with cohort members, as well as keep a log of results throughout and submit a short report of your performance at the end of the program.

  • There’s a particular focus on applicants who self identify in the following ways: Your news organization is owned, led by, or serves Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and/or other people of color; your news organization is owned, led by, or serves women or the LGBTQ+ community; and/or your news organization serves a defined local community.

FAQ

  • You may apply until by July 21 at 11:59PM EST by completing the application form on this page.

  • We will evaluate your application based on your impact on the community you serve, how prepared you are to pursue your business’s biggest consumer revenue opportunities, and your willingness to commit to the program’s requirements.

  • Please write to gnicontact@google.com if you have any questions or want more information.

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