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GNI Digital Growth Program Labs

The GNI Digital Growth Program invites you to apply to our upcoming Labs, focused on helping small and medium-sized news organizations grow their digital businesses.

In GNI Labs, cohorts of news organizations come together over several months to tackle specific business problems, with support from Google and industry experts. Participants in our Labs:

  • Receive customized coaching related to their business goals
  • Implement specific steps to advance their goals
  • Learn from peers who face similar business problems

Please see below for Labs currently accepting applications. You will be asked to provide relevant information about your news organization via an online application form.

We encourage you to apply as soon as possible. Please email us at gnidigitalgrowth@google.com with any questions or schedule time with us for additional guidance on what program is best for your news organization.

Eligibility Criteria

Across all of our Google News Initiative Labs, we’re looking for news organizations who meet the following criteria. Please find additional Lab-specific eligibility criteria under each Lab description.

  • News organization that has produced original content for at least 2 years.
  • Existing digital presence and organization-wide investment in long-term digital growth. If selected, a letter of support from an individual with decision-making power within the organization is required before the start of the 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.
  • Commitment to providing data and access to requested platforms as required to receive personalized recommendations and track progress. Platforms may include Google Ad Manager, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, CMS, etc.
  • Newsroom with a minimum of two full-time employee (FTE) journalists, up to a maximum of 100 FTE journalists.
  • Editorial focus on core news provision, i.e. not lifestyle, sports, etc.
  • Commitment of 5-10 hours per team per week. A dedicated project manager will be responsible for ensuring your team attends all program and coaching sessions, and completes all assignments. We recommend a team of 3-5 people that may be involved at different points of the Lab, including at least the following roles: a) Sales/Marketing; b) News/Editorial; and c) Product/Tech/Data.
  • Willingness to share business insights and openly collaborate with cohort members.
  • Willingness to share learnings with the greater news industry after the completion of the program.
  • Preferred: News organization serving underrepresented communities.

GNI Digital Foundations Lab

Application Deadline: Thursday, August 18 at 11:59PM EST

Program Length: September 2022 - April 2023

The Lab’s goal is to build digital capabilities and technology infrastructure within small to medium-sized news organizations operating a digital-first business. The Lab consists of two phases:

  • Phase 1 (3-4 months): Participating organizations will set up technology building blocks (e.g., Google Analytics, optimized core web vitals), train on their best practices and establish digital-first workflows.
  • Phase 2 (3-4 months): Depending on participation and performance in Phase 1, each eligible news organization will transition to an intensive on either Reader Revenue or Advertising/Sponsorship Revenue. Eligibility is dependent on a publisher’s performance in Phase 1, measured through a) a self-assessment; b) a coach’s assessment and c) demonstrated improvement in at least one key metric.

Applications are currently open for the GNI US Digital Foundations Lab and the GNI Canada Digital Foundations Lab. Please check back soon for the GNI Latin America Digital Foundations Lab, hosted in Spanish.

Additional Eligibility Criteria

  • News organization based in the United States or Canada
  • Program will be hosted in English

The GNI Digital Foundations Lab was launched in partnership with LION Publishers.

GNI North America Sponsorships Lab

Application Deadline: Thursday, August 18 at 11:59PM EST

Program Length: September - December 2022

This Lab is intended for small to medium-sized nonprofit or public service-oriented news organizations that seek to increase revenue from event sponsorships, sponsored content, and other earned revenue sources. Participants must have demonstrated digital foundations, including established Google Analytics. If you believe you are not eligible for this Lab, please consider applying to other Labs in your region.

Additional Eligibility Criteria

  • News organization based in the United States or Canada
  • Non-profit news organization or for-profit local news organization focused on public service
  • Established Google Analytics account
  • Program will be hosted in English

The GNI North America Sponsorships Lab was launched in partnership with the Institute for Nonprofit News.

GNI North America Subscriptions Lab

Application Deadline: Thursday, August 18 at 11:59PM EST

Program Length: September 2022 - February 2023

This Lab is intended for small to medium-sized news organizations with established skills, technical foundations and more than 2 years of experience with a subscriptions revenue model who are looking to accelerate their path toward sustainable digital reader revenue. Participants must have demonstrated digital foundations, including established Google Analytics. If you believe you are not eligible for this Lab, please consider applying to other Labs in your region.

Additional Eligibility Criteria

  • News organization based in the United States or Canada
  • News organization with established skills, technical foundations and more than 2 years of experience with a subscriptions model
  • Established Google Analytics
  • Program will be hosted in English

The GNI North America Subscriptions Lab was launched in partnership with America’s Newspapers.

FAQ

  • The GNI Labs are open to small and medium-sized news organizations producing original news. Eligible applicants should have a digital presence (a website providing journalistic content) and have been in operation for at least two years.

    GNI Labs are open to newsrooms with a minimum of two full-time employee (FTE) journalists, up to a maximum of 100 FTE journalists. Eligible applicants need to have a focus on core news provision, i.e. not lifestyle, sports, etc.

    Eligible applicants may include for-profit or nonprofit traditional news organizations, digital natives, radio and/or TV broadcasters. Organizations must be registered or incorporated in one of the eligible geographies designated in the Lab description.

    Government-owned entities and individuals are not eligible to apply.

  • Participants will be selected by Google staff in partnership with established third-party organizations that we partner with on Labs. We will review all applications and determine a cohort that can collaboratively work together and learn from each other to reach the Lab’s goals.

    Google may request additional information via email regarding your application. Lab finalists will be invited to a 20-minute interview to share more about their news organization. Interview attendees should include anyone who would participate in the Lab, and an executive sponsor to confirm your organization’s interest and commitment.

    All applicants will be notified of selection decisions via email. Selected publishers will need to sign a participation agreement with Google.

  • Application deadlines and links to apply are listed under each application form. You will be asked to provide relevant information about your organization and will need to accept Google's privacy policy.

    We strongly recommend that you apply as soon as possible.

  • The online application form contains the only information required for your application. Please allow 20-30 minutes to complete the application.

  • Yes, we will review all eligible applications received.

  • If you would like to contact the team, please email gnidigitalgrowth@google.com.

  • Please prioritize applying to the program that best meets your news organization's needs.

    News organizations at the start of their digital journeys should apply to the Digital Foundations Lab. More mature organizations should apply to the Subscriptions Lab or Sponsorships Lab, depending on which revenue stream is their strategic focus.

    Multiple applications from different publications/titles within the same company/publishing group are eligible.

  • Google will process any personal data you provide in connection with this application in accordance with our privacy policy. Applicants may request to update, delete, or receive a copy of their responses by contacting gnidigitalgrowth@google.com.

  • You will receive an email from us within six weeks of the application deadline.