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Google News Initiative

Audience Development Lab

Audience Development Lab Session

Digital audience development is a challenge for most news organizations. How do you reach more of the audiences that matter for your mission? How do you connect more deeply with them to build trusting and meaningful relationships?

In the Google News Initiative’s Audience Development Lab, cross-functional teams work in real-time — supported by expert coaches and insights from peers — to understand their audiences and prospective audiences more deeply, expand audience reach and discovery, and build loyalty and habit.

The Lab is free of cost and run in collaboration with Blue Engine Collaborative. Blue Engine Collaborative is a team of dozens of coaches and advisors around the globe, focusing on digital transformation, audience growth and engagement, product development, strategic planning, and revenue growth. Blue Engine has worked with more than 1,000 organizations of all sizes and types, all in the spirit of fostering a more equitable and informed society, since its founding in 2016.

This Lab is currently available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

While we are not currently accepting applications for this lab, please sign up for our newsletter to get notified about future versions of this lab and other Google News Initiative programs.

Lab content

Focus on growing your audience size or increasing your audience engagement.

The 4-month program includes:

  • 6-8 live virtual sessions with up to 14 other news organizations
  • Personalized, weekly 1:1 coaching from a dedicated advisor with deep, practical audience development experience
  • Small-group sessions with other news organizations who face similar challenges


You are welcome to apply if your news organization:
✓ Has produced a regular cadence of original news content (i.e. not lifestyle, sports, etc) on a website for at least three months
✓ Has a minimum of two full-time employee (FTE) journalists, up to a maximum of 10 FTE journalists.
✓ Is focused on one or more of the following:

  • Public interest journalism
  • Filling an information gap
  • Covering a specific geography or topic
  • Serving an underserved community
  • Exploring new ways to deliver and/or monetize information

✓ Has a news product (website, newsletter, etc), with demonstrated traction via site visits, sign-ups, and/or earned revenue
✓ Is willing to test and improve your workflows, products, and technology

and you…
✓ Can commit 5-10 hours per week to the program
✓ Can assign a Project Manager to manage attendance and assignments
✓ Are willing to share insights with other publishers and the greater news industry

✓ You must be independently owned and operated
✓ You must not employ government officials or individuals that are also employed by government entities
✓ You must not be a Google employee or contractor


  • We have not yet announced the next version of the lab.

    In the meantime please sign up for our newsletter to get notified about future versions of this lab and other Google News Initiative programs. And we are always taking applications for our Fundamentals Lab — in which Google reviews your news organization's website and shares practical, easy-to-follow guidance about audience engagement, ad revenue, and reader revenue — if you are interested in that program instead.

  • Google staff will review all applications and determine a cohort that can collaboratively work together and learn from each other. We may request additional information via email regarding your application.

    All applicants will be notified of selection decisions via email within six weeks.

  • Email with any questions or for additional guidance.

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