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Google News Initiative: Impact Report 2020

Business models for news have been evolving for more than a century, and the Internet has changed the way people consume news.

Alongside other companies, governments, and civic societies, we want to play our part by helping journalism in the 21st century not just survive, but thrive.

Building on nearly two decades of work and partnering with the news industry, in 2018 we launched the Google News Initiative to help centralize and scale our efforts across the company to help build a stronger future for news.

$189 million

To date, the Google News Initiative has supported 6,250+ news partners in 118 countries through $189 million in global funding.

Regional Impact

Tap on the map to view our impact in each region
Roll over the map to view our impact in each region

Additionally, we spent $11 million on global initiatives, including programs and partnerships spanning multiple regions, product innovations, research and GNI global events.

Impact Across Key Focus Areas

Tap on the chart to view our impact in each focus area
Roll over the chart to view our impact in each focus area

Elevating Quality Journalism
Helping the news ecosystem in developing new skills and capabilities that enable newsrooms to create high quality journalism, combat misinformation, and build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive future for news.

Elevating Quality Journalism

Enabling diverse sources of impactful journalism is critical for our societies and core to Google’s mission. To this end, we’ve delivered global training programs focused on digital skills for journalists, partnered with industry organizations to combat misinformation, contributed to global media literacy programs, and implemented programs to support a more diverse and inclusive news ecosystem.

Journalist Trainings

Through both in-person sessions and an online Training Center, we help journalists develop knowledge and skills in digital journalism across a range of topics—from harnessing large datasets to enhance storytelling, to verification of videos and images, to an introduction to machine learning.

person working at desk
Since launching a global journalist training program through the News Lab in 2015, we’ve trained 347,000 journalists in-person, including:
News Organizations
1.7 million
online trainings through the
GNI Training Center
The GNI Training Center provides free online editorial training courses and resources for journalists in 14 languages.
In 2018 we launched CekFakta, a collaborative fact-checking and verification project in Indonesia. It was developed in partnership with 22 media companies and associations, ahead of the 2019 national election. Two years and 2,700 fact checks later, the coalition is growing for the 2020 local elections, adding 100 local media to fight misinformation across the country. The GNI Indonesia Training Network has trained more than 10,800 journalists, academics and journalism students in support of the project.
“Verified and credible information is one of the keys to maintaining freedom of expression. We realize that hoaxes can reduce public trust, and weaken and threaten freedom of expression. Therefore, as an organization that upholds freedom of expression, AJI must be at the forefront of fighting hoaxes. AJI is grateful to be able to work with Google since 2018 in the Google News Initiative program to increase the ability of journalists and the general public to build awareness against hoaxes.”
Revolusi Riza Z,
General Secretary, Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI) Indonesia

Combating Misinformation

Tackling misinformation is a complex challenge that requires coordinated action with a broad range of experts and organizations. We’ve worked together with newsrooms, fact-checkers, civil society organizations, and academic researchers in support of initiatives that help curb misinformation and elevate quality journalism.

magnifying glass looking at web pages
$6.5 million
Amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, we committed $6.5M to support the ecosystem fighting COVID-19 misinformation. This support was aimed at:
Checkmark illustration

Supporting fact-checking and verification efforts

Providing insights to fact-checkers, reporters and health authorities

Increasing access to data, scientific expertise and fact checks

Fighting COVID-19 Misinformation:

united states
SciLine, a free service from the American Association for the Advancement of Science that provides science resources to journalists, scaled its COVID-19 work to meet the increase in requests for help from journalists.
“I'm a single person newsroom in an underserved rural area turning daily content about COVID-19 with no support (at all) and everything SciLine's been sending has been immensely helpful and so, so, very appreciated... I would actually be drowning here without the help SciLine has given so far. From fact sheets to your regular emails, to this [matching service referral] option, it's been invaluable right now as I just don't have the capacity to track everything down myself.”
Shady Grove Oliver,
Independent journalist, Arctic Sounder
First Draft
We continue to provide core support to First Draft, a global nonprofit focused on empowering journalists with the skills and tools to combat misinformation. With this support, First Draft has expanded its work in 2020 to:

Train more than 13,300 journalists covering coronavirus across seven languages, and train more than 100,000 readers how to tell fact from fiction online.

Train more than 1,800 people to navigate online information through a text-message based learning program

Provide original insights used in 2,200 news reports in 83 countries around the world (including a dedicated dashboard for the U.S. 2020 election), building a community of over 500 journalists as well as a secure online collaboration and publishing platform, including a mobile app.

journalists trained

Engaging with the Global News community:

All of our work can only be accomplished through broad collaboration; we’ve focused on building connections among publishers, journalists, academics, and associations through events, working groups.

Asia Pacific
Trusted Media Summit
With First Draft and the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, we've co-hosted three annual Trusted Media Summits, which bring together industry experts involved in fact-checking and fighting misinformation from across Asia Pacific. In 2020, 750 participants from 28 countries gathered (virtually) to discuss new fact-checking technologies, ways of connecting readers to trustworthy media, and strategies to improve media literacy.
“I was very lucky that I have had the opportunity to participate in the Trusted Media Summit over the past three years. These events have given me many tools on how to debunk fake news that spread on social media platforms. After the 2019 Summit, I launched the first fact-checking organization in Timor-Leste and have been training other journalists across the Pacific Islands on fighting misinformation and verification.”
Raimundos Oki,
Editor in-chief, The Oekusi Post

Media Literacy

Misinformation is not new but has become an increasingly prevalent problem that affects how societies around the world understand what’s trustworthy and what isn’t. To help address this, in March 2018 (Google’s philanthropic arm) funded a $10 million global initiative to support media literacy around the world and help readers discern fact from fiction online through programs such as:

illustration of person pointing at web pages
  • United States
    We’ve contributed $3 million to support MediaWise to help teach students how to discern fact from fiction online in the U.S. The program is made possible through a partnership with the Poynter Institute, Stanford University Education Group, and the Local Media Association. Since 2018, MediaWise has reached nearly nine million people online thanks to social media, trainings at schools, and programs like the Teen Fact Check Network.
  • united kingdom
    We’ve supported The Guardian Foundation’s NewsWise initiative through a grant, which aims to empower nine- to 11-year-olds across the U.K. to understand, critically navigate and report real news. Through workshops in primary schools, accompanying resources, teacher training and curriculum-based lesson plans, and opportunities to speak to real journalists, NewsWise has reached 6,500 pupils in 117 primary schools.
    “In 2020 we've seen just how important it is for young people to be able to navigate the news: to recognize disinformation and find trustworthy sources of information; to manage their own emotions and wellbeing when it comes to overwhelming news stories; and to share their own voices in a fair and responsible way. Thanks to the support from we have been able to empower thousands of primary-aged children in some of the most disadvantaged UK communities with these crucial skills.”
    Angie Pitt,
    Director, NewsWise
  • Brazil
    We contributed $1 million to Palavra Aberta Institute to create EducaMídia, a media literacy program to help Brazilian teachers and students develop skills to identify online misinformation.

We’ve augmented these original grants with additional funding to support media literacy programs across the globe.

The Indian journalists fighting fake news
$1 million to Internews to launch FactShala, a first-of-its-kind news literacy program focused on first-time internet users in non-metro cities in India. 250 journalists, fact checkers, academics and NGO workers are rolling out a media literacy curriculum in seven Indian languages to help internet users assess online information.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Diverse publishers and journalists are critical to creating a thriving and representative media for everyone, and providing a positive and authentic representation of underrepresented communities. We have worked to champion diversity, equity and inclusion in journalism through a combination of efforts: research, pipeline development, talent support, and support for the digital transformation of diverse news organizations.

illustration of webpage pointing out to many different people

Understanding Newsroom Diversity

United States
News Leaders Association (formerly ASNE)
With the News Leaders Association (formerly ASNE), we created a data visualization that provides a unique insight into how the industry reflects—or struggles to reflect—the population it serves. We helped to show how hundreds of newsrooms across the U.S. have changed since 2001, and by comparing newsroom diversity counts to census data, some of the visuals show how each newsroom compares to its local area in terms of race and gender—or for national publications, the country as a whole.
Diversity in Journalism
In partnership with Neue Deutsche MedienMacher*innen, we supported the first of its kind “Diversity in Journalism” report in Germany. The study captures data and insights from 122 German newsrooms to analyze how diversity with a focus on migrant backgrounds is reflected in editorial offices and on executive levels. The report found that only 6 percent of editors-in-chief have a migrant background, compared to a quarter of the German population overall.
Media Diversity Australia
We partnered with Media Diversity Australia to release a landmark report on diversity in Australia’s broadcast news. “Who Gets To Tell Australian Stories?” analyzed 81 news programs over two weeks in June 2019, equal to about 19,000 news items. The report found that almost 76 percent of those on Australian screens were of Anglo-Celtic background, while just six percent were from Indigenous or non-European backgrounds.

Growing the pipeline of diverse newsroom talent

GNI Fellowship
Collaborating with various regional partners, we've provided 69 journalism students across Asia Pacific, Europe and North America with an opportunity to gain practical experience over the last two years. GNI Fellowships were designed to provide greater experience, exposure and opportunity to journalists from diverse backgrounds and at the same time allow newsrooms to gain fresh perspectives and access young talent.
"The GNI Fellowship sets itself apart from other career development opportunities in journalism because it is open to students interested in working at the intersection of technology, media, and journalism. This work is particularly relevant at a time when media organizations need to innovate and become more diverse in order to navigate the pandemic and reflect the society they wish to inform. This programme has made it possible for a new generation of young professionals to enter the journalism industry and for newsrooms to onboard talent with technical, digital, or business knowledge."
Vera Penêda,
Team Lead, Events & Training at the European journalism Centre
Supporting French journalism students
Through a partnership with French non-profit La Chance, we supported 85 journalism students from disadvantaged backgrounds to help prepare them for highly competitive journalism school entrance exams. Additionally, we partnered with Street Press to support five citizen journalists from disadvantaged neighborhoods to cover the French Municipal Election locally.
United States
Maynard 200 Fellowship through the Maynard Institute
Maynard’s goal over the next five years is to train, mentor, support and seed the next generation of journalism entrepreneurs, leaders and storytellers of color. They seek to create a movement within journalism that will be felt through the impact of the people we invest in.

Providing news leaders with the support they need to thrive

Asia Pacific
Google News Initiative Newsroom Leadership Program
The Google News Initiative Newsroom Leadership Program, created in collaboration with the Columbia School of Journalism, was established to enhance the leadership skills of emerging newsroom leaders in Asia Pacific. Each Fellow worked on a specific project that was relevant to their newsroom within the main fellowship topics: technology, monetization and data.
"At a time when generating revenue for journalism has been tough, the fellowship has helped us to be certain that our ideas are viable without wasting time or money, find resources that provide the most important data, and best prepare for raising funds. Above all, if it was not for the Google fellowship, I would've never known or learnt about how membership models are creating new forms of revenue - and in turn would not have pitched it as a potential project for the Google News Innovation Challenge. We are the only Pakistani recipient of the GNI Challenge and incredibly pumped to launch Pakistan's first membership model - all due to the Google-Columbia fellowship."
Marium Chaudhry,
Founder, The Current
Latin America
Mentoring women founders
Metis, created in partnership with SembraMedia, is providing specialized business mentoring for women founders of independent digital media in Latin America.
Journalists Association of Korea
We partnered with the Journalists Association of Korea and HeyJoyce, Korea’s largest community for women, to create a leadership program that supports reporters’ career development while on parental leave in a country where women occupy 10% of senior level newsroom positions.
“I worked for 20 years as a journalist and experienced serious difficulties keeping up with work and caring for my children at the same time; I considered quitting every day. I was also anxious about falling behind my colleagues in such an intensely competitive environment. Programs like these will help build concrete skills, so the participants won’t have to go through what I did.”
Naree Lee,
CEO, HeyJoyce

Enabling digital transformation for diverse organizations

North America
GNI Innovation Challenge
Awarding millions of dollars in GNI Innovation Challenge funding to local media projects focused on elevating underrepresented audiences and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within their journalism
United States
Racial Equity in Journalism Fund
Serving as an anchor funder for the Racial Equity in Journalism Fund, providing grants to news organizations who serve audiences who have been historically underserved by mainstream media: Black, Native, and Latinx people, immigrants, refugees, rural communities, and low-income people

Journalism Emergency Relief Fund

In early 2020, the news industry dealt with job cuts, furloughs and cutbacks as a result of the economic downturn prompted by COVID-19. The Journalism Emergency Relief Fund was created to sustain essential reporting around the world by delivering emergency funding to local newsrooms in this time of need.

illustration of woman holding up web pages
$39.5 million
$39.5 million in funding offered to 5,600+ newsrooms across 115 countries

Regional Impact

Tap on the map to view our impact in each region
Roll over the map to view our impact in each region
united kingdom
Cornwall Reports
Cornwall Reports grew audience and potential subscribers by lifting the paywall for the duration of the crisis, introducing a new series on Youtube, and providing a platform for discussion and debate about how the crisis impacted the local community.
"Cornwall Reports carries no advertising on news pages. The Journalism Emergency Relief Fund therefore allowed us to develop and transmit a brand new, free-to-view current affairs programme, Behind The Headlines, offering the sort of analysis and exclusive key-decision-maker interviews which were simply not available elsewhere."
Graham Smith,
Editor, Cornwall Reports
The Murray Pioneer
The Murray Pioneer adapted their entire workflow to a remote working situation, while building ways to maintain business relationships with advertisers.
Saitama Shimbun
Saitama Shimbun, a 75-year old newspaper covering the Saitama prefecture, dedicated specific additional resources to detail the impact of the pandemic.

Evolving Business Models

As the business of news continues to fundamentally evolve, we’ve designed programs and resources to address the business challenges at the core of that evolution. We’ve enabled publishers to grow advertising and reader revenue, increase readership and engagement, and find new models and technology to support local news.

Most recently, we worked with industry experts to combine many of these efforts under the GNI Digital Growth Program to help news organizations across the world grow their digital businesses.

Reader revenue

We’re working with news organizations to build and grow reader revenue models, as well as develop technology that can support them along the way.

illustration of people connected with graphs

Subscriptions Lab

Our GNI Subscriptions Labs bring together publishers, subscriptions experts and industry associations over several months to build roadmaps for long-term success, implement tactics to improve performance across the funnel, and identify short-term experiments.

The 10 publishers who participated in the US & Canada Subscriptions Lab, conducted in partnership with the Local Media Association and FTI Consulting, saw increases across several key metrics, including:

59% average increase in new monthly digital subscribers

19% average decrease in digital subscriber churn

North America Subscriptions Lab

The Buffalo News
increase in digital subscribers year-over-year
increase in monthly net starts
Southeast Missourian
increase in average monthly reader revenue
decrease in average monthly churn
The Post and Courier
increase in digital subscribers year on year
increase in average monthly reader revenue
“Prior to the lab we were swimming in a sea of data. The learnings from the Subscription Lab have given us clear direction and more importantly, have provided key benchmarks and given us insight into what should be measured. This lab has been amazing and has allowed us to share with our cohorts and grow together.”
P.J. Browning,
President and Publisher, The Post and Courier

Following our work with the North America cohort, we launched Subscriptions Labs in Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

$29 million
Year-over-year growth in
subscriber revenue
Latin America Subscriptions Lab

In Latin America, eight publishers from the region participated in the Lab which was led by data and subscription specialists Mather Economics. The lab provided each of the publishers with personalized audits, benchmarking reports, and customized recommendations. Mather Economics also helped each publisher run a paywall and retention test. Participating publishers saw:

$29 million
year-over-year growth in subscriber revenue
$10 million
Projected Lifetime Value of $10 million as a result of the experiments run through the Lab

Contributions Lab

Through the GNI Contributions Lab, we worked with 12 publishers in Latin America and Canada to help build and grow contributions revenue. The Lab provided publishers with personalized audits covering strategy and tactics and implementation support.

Brasil 247

Through the GNI Contributions Lab, we worked with 12 publishers in Latin America and Canada to help build and grow contributions revenue. The Lab provided publishers with personalized audits covering strategy and tactics and implementation support. After just four months in the program, one participant, digital publisher Brasil 247, saw:

growth in contributors
Contributions revenue covers about 50% of operating cost
I believe we’ve found La Prensa Grafica’s value proposition through the process. I'm very enthusiastic about the whole process and expect excellent results through the duration of the program.
Alvaro Sagrera,
CTO, La Prensa Grafica
subscribe with google

As part of the GNI launch in 2018, we announced Subscribe with Google, which makes it easy for readers to subscribe, stay logged in and get the most out of their news subscription.

110 publishers from 27 countries have signed up for Subscribe with Google

We’ve seen a 25% increase in subscriber clicks to publishers’ sites when the “From your subscription” module appears in Google Search.

Grupo Reforma

Conversion rate increased by 43% by using Subscribe with Google. Subscribe with Google users also had 13% more page views compared to direct digital subscribers. Overall, 37% of all subscriptions now occur through Subscribe with Google.

increase in conversion rate
of all subscriptions now occur through Subscribe with Google

Premium app development

growth in total
premium tier subscribers
The Guardian

We worked with The Guardian on the development of their Premium app, which has fundamentally changed the way in which they operate, collaborate and develop new revenue streams. Their team consulted with app and developer-focused teams at Google on specific ways to promote awareness of, and upgrades to, the premium tier of their app, which was specifically designed around the habits of its audience.

This collaboration contributed to The Guardian’s 60% growth in total premium tier subscribers in 2018, and doubling of their premium acquisition volumes year on year.

Engaging with the Global News Community


Right before the COVID crisis hit in March 2020, we hosted 180 news industry leaders from 29 countries at the first ever GNI EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, & Africa) summit in Amsterdam to discuss the market landscape, success stories and opportunities for growth. The event was also an opportunity to share four announcements:

The expansion of GNI Subscriptions Lab to Europe, in partnership with FT Strategies and INMA

The launch of Project Neon, our Local Experiment in the UK with Archant

The renewal of Google’s support for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, including their Digital News Report

The Middle East, Turkey & Africa Innovation Challenge


The digital ad ecosystem continues to rapidly evolve, which can present challenges for news publishers—particularly small, local organizations—to ensure they are set up to optimize monetization of their digital traffic across platforms. Our efforts aim to help publishers grow their digital ad revenue, from training and consulting support, to projects that test and scale new, innovative advertising solutions.

illustration of webpages on a graph

GNI Advertising Labs

Our GNI Ad Labs across the world have focused on helping groups of publishers grow their digital advertising revenue -- by optimizing their programmatic monetization, improving site performance, and using competitive benchmarks. These programs complement the range of advertising products and solutions we develop to help news publishers manage and grow their digital advertising businesses.

GNI Advertising Labs

GNI Ad Lab in Latin America

Through the GNI Ad Lab in Latin America, we’ve provided 30+ news organizations with training, audits, and business recommendations to improve programmatic ads and page performance. Results from the first wave include:

in revenue year-over-year
in ad viewability
increase in ad fill rate
GNI Ad Lab in the U.S.
The GNI Ad Lab in the U.S. worked with 5 hyperlocal news organizations to audit and grow their ad revenue. As one example, Long Beach Post started monetizing their journalism programmatically, which generated an average $2,000 incremental revenue per month.
GNI Ad Lab in Asia Pacific

The GNI Ad Lab in Asia Pacific, called “Local Foundry,” focused on website optimization and monetization strategy for more than 45 publishers across the region. Participating publishers have seen:

increase in advertising revenue among Indonesia participants
increase in advertising revenue among Japan participants
“Participating in this program benefited our traffic. We’ve had more visitors to our site, and that’s led to incremental revenue. Not only that, our employees have gained digital skills that we can continue to apply.”
Rahim Asyik,
Chief Content Officer, Ayo Media Network
(which publishes
  • United States
    Vox Media
    We partnered with Vox Media to develop and launch Concert Local—an ad marketplace that brings together trusted local news publishers for marketers. The product is an extension of Vox Media’s national advertising marketplace, Concert, and offers dozens of local publishers a new revenue stream to help fund high-quality local journalism. Concert Local launched in March 2020, and has seen demand from national advertisers and agencies looking to reach highly engaged local news audiences.
    “It’s more important than ever to support trusted local news and that’s why we partnered with the Google News Initiative on Concert Local, offering dozens of local publishers incremental revenue by tapping into national advertising campaigns. We've seen swift adoption of Concert Local from national advertisers drawn to the opportunity to reach local audiences at scale, in brand safe environments."
    AJ Frucci,
    VP of Programmatic, Head of Concert, Vox Media
  • United States
    Local Research
    We partnered with the Local Media Consortium and Magid on a research initiative that analyzed advertiser perceptions of local media to identify ways for these news organizations to strengthen their digital ad sales strategies. Magid interviewed national and local advertisers and agencies in the U.S., and based on the findings, developed recommendations to help local news companies better meet advertiser needs and fuel digital revenue growth.


More data is available to news organizations today than ever before. This abundance of data can help publishers better understand their readers and identify opportunities for growth in key business areas. But it can also be challenging to harness the potential effectively - to know what metrics to focus on, and how to use those figures to inform stories, products and business strategies.

We aim to help news organizations elevate data-driven thinking, and use insights to develop product offerings and grow digital revenue.

illustration of graphs

GNI Data Tools

We developed News Consumer Insights and Realtime Content Insights to help publishers make data-driven business and editorial decisions. These tools have helped thousands of news organizations in nearly 130 countries achieve digital business growth, including reaching new readers, driving engagement, boosting newsletter signups, and improving subscription performance.

GNI Data Tools

United States
Business Insider

Business Insider was able to grow their digital subscriptions business:

Over 150% increase in digital subscription revenue in one quarter
Higher share of long-term digital subscribers in 2 months
“Thanks to News Consumer Insights’ recommendations, we managed to accelerate our consumer subscription growth in a very meaningful way. Their insights and benchmarks helped to shape our product strategy and provide our users with a way better experience than before.”

Rappler, leveraging these data tools, saw:

increase in average monthly digital readers year-over-year
increase in digital ad revenue year-over-year
”The collaboration with GNI prompted us to observe the dynamics of our user engagement funnel more closely and use this knowledge to calibrate and measure strategies towards developing a more meaningful relationship with our audience. These strategies helped Rappler balance growing reach and sources of revenue with its mission to communicate important issues that the public need to know.”
Gemma Bagayaua-Mendoza,
Head of Research, Partnerships, and Strategy, Rappler
bosnia & herzegovina

Over the course of 30 days, Klix saw:

lift in page views
growth in programmatic revenue
decrease in average page load time
"Being a news site we are aware the content is king, but we’ve always believed the technology is the queen. The News Consumer Insights framework helped us understand our audience and focus on things that really matter: pagespeed, organic search optimisation, recirculation, re-engagement and overall user experience."

Building on this foundation, we launched new capabilities this year, including more personalized business recommendations for growing audience and revenue, and features to help journalists make more informed content creation and distribution decisions.

We also introduced News Tagging Guide—a free tool to help news organizations identify and measure the engagement metrics that matter most for their audience and revenue growth. Learn more about how this work has impacted publishers in case studies published here.

GNI Data Labs

We launched GNI Data Labs in North America, Asia Pacific and Latin America to help participating news publishers grow through their improved use of data. In Asia Pacific, the five-month long GNI Data Lab dove deep into the people, workplace culture and technology changes required to enable data-driven practices and enable long term business sustainability. Outcomes among participating publishers included:

40% increase in ‘brand lovers’ - readers that visit most frequently

20% lift in yield

Up to 50% improvements in ad viewability

The New Zealand Herald alone saw 400% performance improvement in content recommendations

Changed behaviors across editorial, data and advertising teams, embedded data first strategies, and new KPIs

In collaboration with our partners, we published the Google News Initiative Data Lab Playbook
“The New Zealand Herald is focused on keeping Kiwis in the know, and now delivering the “next best” article recommendations with our purpose-built engine has resulted in a more relevant and engaging experience for our audiences than the previous off-the-shelf product.”
Andy Wylie,
Head of Data and Analytics, New Zealand Media and Entertainment

GNI Cloud Program

We launched the GNI Cloud Program in September 2018 to support local, small and medium-sized news organizations globally and help them unlock their own imaginative solutions to business and storytelling, through the power of Cloud. Over 200 publishers have used their free G Suite licenses and Google Cloud Program credits to improve:
  • Security:
    “I have been able to move my emails off from my previous local host to the Gmail server, and there is no doubt that these documents are now more secure. My credibility is safe now, and Google has allowed me to feel safe.”
    Joey Coleman,
  • Productivity:
    “We added an additional work shift for content creation thanks to being more efficient using G Suite. There used to be a lot of mistakes in page design, and because of the tracking capabilities and ownership from G Suite, now we have less mistakes. A reporter that worked 8 hours on an article, now saves 65% time and has more time to develop content.”
    Magali Suarez,
    Editor, El Litoral
  • Cost-savings:
    “Since we implemented Google Cloud, we could redirect our savings into new investments. Now we can drive strategies that were on hold because of lack of funds. We are now developing a video platform for our website. With more content, we expect to increase traffic and revenue by about 20% next year. Additionally, our pagespeed has improved by 40% thanks to Cloud”
    Brajesh Gupta,
    Head of Operations, News Track Infomedia
  • Product Launches:
    Source, powered by Storyful, uses Google's AI technology to give instant access to an image's public history, allowing you to sort, analyze and understand its provenance, including any manipulation. That’s already useful but it goes a step further. Source helps detect and translate text in images too, which is especially useful for journalists cataloguing or analyzing memes online.”
    Eamonn Kennedy,
    Chief Product Officer, Storyful
GNI Audience Lab

The GNI Audience Lab in North America helped 15 digital native news publishers in the US grow their loyal audiences over 10 months, in partnership with News Revenue Hub. Below are some aggregate improvements experienced by Lab participants (vs. pre-Lab levels):

121% average increase in monthly active users

30% average increase in newsletter subscribers

152% increase in monthly organic search referrals

Best in class results were obtained by Bridge Michigan, which saw

Over 10x growth in monthly active users (vs. previous record)

Over 870% increase in monthly organic search referrals (vs. previous record)

Over 4x YoY growth in monthly sustaining members

“The Lab team worked with us to make our site and our newsletter more engaging. As tens of thousands of new loyalists return to us, a large portion are choosing to become paying members.”
Bill Emkow,
Head of Audience Development, Bridge Michigan


Enabling a strong future for local news is of vital importance to every community and has been a particular focus for us in the last few years. Our strategy has been to support new models for local news by identifying where we see success, then support the creation of platforms and playbooks that others could leverage.

Our work has spanned launching new local digital sites, research and benchmarking to better understand the local digital native market, and enabling technology solutions for small, local newsrooms.

illustration of person in center of rings
  • Local Experiments Project
    The Local News Experiments Project aims to create sustainable, all-digital news organizations in communities currently underserved by local news organizations. To date, we have partnered with local publishers in the US and UK to launch four new sites: Peterborough Matters in the UK with Archant, Mahoning Matters and The Longmont Leader with McClatchy, and The Oaklandside with Cityside (formerly Berkeleyside). In each of those ventures, we test techniques around product thinking, audience acquisition and monetization, in order to gather and share the findings with the industry at large.
    "This is simultaneously a terrible and inspiring time to be working in local news. We've all learned so much, and also have realized how much we still don't know and can't know until the future gets here. In our first six months, our reporters have uncovered stories that made a big impact, especially for our small size. Looking ahead, there isn't a lot we can plan just yet, so we will keep on adapting."
  • Newsroom Technology
    We’ve partnered with Automattic and Wordpress to develop Newspack, a fast, secure, low-cost CMS tailor-made to the needs of small newsrooms. The publishing platform, launched in 2019 along with the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Civil Media, currently has 37 launched publishers. We’ve contributed $3 million towards the project since launch.
    “Maybe the most interesting thing for us was that the Newspack team and other news sites from the pilot program proposed things that we didn’t consider for our site, such as an ultra-flexible donation system or workflow systems. We see a lot of power in that collaborative way to develop a product.”
    Ana Arriagada,
    Executive Director, El Soberano
  • Project Oasis
    We’ve partnered with the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and LION Publishers on Project Oasis, a research initiative focused on helping local news organizations navigate the complex choices they face in establishing and growing their digital business. The work will result in a database that maps the current landscape of digital native local news publishers in the U.S. and Canada. Then, through in-depth interviews with these local news site founders at key stages of growth, we will develop resources to help others grow, including a “Starter Pack” for aspiring entrepreneurs.
    “I believe local news is an essential element of a strong democracy. These information outlets build trust, inspire civic engagement and bring communities together. Through new research and resources, we believe this project has the potential to help shape a bright future for local news.”
    Susan Leath,
    Director, Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media, UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media
  • Table Stakes Europe

    Since 2019, we have partnered with WAN-IFRA on Table Stakes Europe, a program designed to help local and regional newspapers find new ways to build local audiences, prosper in a digital world and perform their crucial role in society.

    In the first round of Table Stakes Europe, 14 publishers from the U.K., Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Switzerland and Germany participated in the yearlong program. In 2020, the program will expand to welcome 24 European news enterprises and to accommodate Spanish in addition to German, French and English. They join hundreds of publishers who have participated in the Table Stakes program in the United States since its launch in 2015.

    “Table Stakes Europe has accelerated our development and given us a toolbox to increase our digital transformation. We've seen during the programme development of the Digital Subscriptions and the NL's performance (opening rate, CTR)."
    Mélanie Monsaingeon,
    Publisher, Le Parisien
  • GNI Startups Lab
    In 2020 we launched the GNI Startups Lab in both North America and Brazil, which is supporting diverse groups of aspiring journalism entrepreneurs in designing, launching and accelerating sustainable news products and businesses.
    “The GNI Startups Lab provides critically needed opportunities for passionate news entrepreneurs who care deeply about serving their communities.”
    Anika Anand,
    Deputy Director, LION (Local Independent Online) Publishers

Empowering Newsrooms Through Innovation

As we work with publishers to navigate challenges for elevating quality journalism and evolving business models, it’s clear that innovative thinking and approaches will be vital in developing and scaling solutions for the digital future. We’ve enabled news organizations around the world to demonstrate and test new ideas by investing in efforts to accelerate innovation in the news ecosystem, and partnering with news organizations to expand their journalism to new formats.

Innovation Challenge

The GNI Innovation Challenge is an application-based program open to organizations of all sizes that produce original journalism. Since 2018, we’ve initiated six regional editions of the Challenges program, covering North America, Middle East and Africa, Latin America, and Asia Pacific. Each Challenge is designed around a theme that meets that region’s unique requirements, enabling diverse approaches that publishers have emphasized are needed to address specific needs in each region.

Through the six Challenges, we’ve received over 1,700 applications, and funded 126 projects in 40 countries, totaling $17 million. Read more about how projects addressed the key themes with examples drawn from the different regions of the world below.

illustration of web pages connected
$17 million
Through the six Challenges, we’ve received over 1,700 applications, and funded 126 projects in 40 countries, totaling $17 million.

Empowering Sustainable Business Models

Projects focused on generating revenue and exploring new business models.

Frontier Myanmar

Frontier Myanmar introduced the first membership program for Myanmar to diversify revenue streams and ensure editorial independence in an environment where press freedom is under pressure - currently Myanmar is ranked 139 in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index.

Thus far, they’ve succeeded in attracting memberships ranging from individuals through to institutional memberships, acquiring around 400 paying members at launch. New revenue streams from individuals (membership and donations) represent 10% of their total revenue in less than 6 months.

“Building a membership program is one of the most important decisions that we’ve made in our company’s five year journey. This model suits our newsroom, audiences and the media landscape here in Myanmar.”
Sonny Swe,
CEO, Frontier Myanmar
United States
California News Partnership
California News Partnership created a premium subscription, ad-free tier, available on 13 local websites, resulting in over 3,000 subscribers in less than a year and higher engagement among subscribers
“While the funding was important, having public acknowledgement that this project was worth pursuing unblocked internal processes and hurdles that existed. It has helped provide a valuable new revenue stream that can be scaled and aligns with goals of improving the overall user experience for customers.”
Ryan Nakashima,
Product Manager, Digital Subscriptions, Bay Area News Group
Community Broadcasting Association of Australia
Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) built a fundraising platform for Australia’s community broadcasting sector, increasing the revenues of 30 of the association’s member radio stations. They attracted follow up funding of $2.1 million over 4 years via the government to further develop services into an app for on-demand listening.
“Our focus on improving station websites, upskilling personnel and improving online fundraising streams has accelerated the sector's digital transformation at a time when it has never been more important to do so."
Jon Bisset,
CEO, Community Broadcasting Association of Australia

Building Audience Engagement

Projects focused on finding new ways to engage audiences and building loyalty.


Torstar created a digital product to combine quality local news with community hubs in ten new markets where they previously had no presence. The product is driven by local people, features local content and helps local businesses reach relevant audiences. The North Bay Local was the first local news site to launch with this process, testing the strategy before expansion. In the first week of use, the platform was populated with 23 articles, engaged 25 community voices, and promoted 50 events in the events database.

The product is currently in use in North Bay, Kingston, and Belleville, helping to produce an average of 20-25 news articles per week in each market.

“We are learning a lot about the right mix of local news content and the new content formats that we have established in order to help us build a new, relevant, and sustainable local news experience”
Pam Laycock,
SVP Transformation & Strategy, Torstar
Malaysiakini introduced a points and awards-based subscription loyalty scheme to drive subscriptions and incentivize reader engagement. They launched the 'Kini Community,’ a basic subscription which allows users to accrue points to reward certain actions such as bookmarking stories for later reading, connecting with other members, tipping comments and more. This resulted in a 140% rise in subscriptions in the first month after launch.
“This community portal is built for Malaysiakini subscribers to immerse in. Not just a collective discourse, but to generate solutions, seek out expert opinion, for the public to speak to one another to increase understanding, to grow in hope and passion, to have our voices heard so we can eventually make a significant difference to our country”
Lynn D’Cruz,
Chief Membership Officer, Malaysiakini
Aos Fatos
Aos Fatos built Radar, a tool to monitor social media platforms and spot COVID-19 misinformation. After launching the prototype, they received over 540 new subscribers one month after launch and their newsletter achieved an opening rate above 40%.
“Radar Aos Fatos aims to create an unique dataset, that is capable of telling how a misleading narrative is built in different social networks and to know who amplifies this narrative. It's a difficult and ambitious project, but extremely necessary”
Carol Cavaleiro,
Head of Innovation, Aos Fatos

Innovation through technology

Challenges focused on exploring technologies.

Iwate Nippo

Regional newspaper Iwate Nippo wanted to do something to help elderly residents of Iwate (Japan’s second-largest prefecture) access life-saving services and help them feel more of a sense of belonging in their communities. Through the Innovation Challenge, they developed Iwapon, an app created specifically for their older subscribers to stay informed.

The project helped double the number of new online newspaper subscribers, receiving thousands of downloads in the months after launch and doubling the number of daily users of their e-books.

“Monthly new subscribers for the online newspaper increased by more than 50 percent, and local businesses have approached us to become sponsors. Most importantly, the atmosphere within the company has changed. The app has helped increase cooperation within the editorial, advertising and sales departments. It’s also had a huge positive impact on the motivation of younger employees”
Takuya Watanabe,
Digital Media Manager, Iwate Nippo
South Africa
Daily Maverick
Developed an open-source 'relevancy engine' to enable small and medium sized publishers to bring together newsroom data from disparate systems to inform editorial and business decisions.
Croma is using artificial intelligence to build a free, open-source recommendation engine in Spanish for Latin American media. The tool is built with the contribution of up to 10 years of content from 6 publishers from 3 different countries.

The Innovation Challenge builds on learnings from the DNI Fund in Europe, which ran from 2015 to 2019, awarding over €140.5 million to 662 digital news projects in 30 countries.

New Formats for News

Audiences today have more choice than ever before of where to read, watch and listen to news. To help news organizations around the world experiment with new formats, we launched a $25 million program with YouTube, including funding to help newsrooms develop sustainable video operations, and we’ve given more than $5 million in audio innovation grants.

illustration of person looking at mobile device
YouTube Innovation Funding supported 87 publishers across 23 countries on projects to strengthen their online video capabilities, try out new formats for video journalism, and experiment with new business models.

YouTube Innovation Funding

YouTube Innovation Funding supported 87 publishers across 23 countries on projects to strengthen their online video capabilities, try out new formats for video journalism, and experiment with new business models.


Grew audience by experimenting with different digital news content formats, including personality-driven content, debate formats, and explainers. Additionally, launched a channel memberships program to increase user revenue.

  • 16x revenue growth
  • 130% growth in channel subscribers
  • 2x monthly views on the channel
"The long-term impact of Innovation Funding for MyNews is that it has cultivated a culture on our team that helped us to break barriers of production. It has also stimulated our team to try to understand our audience better and how to talk to them, and to test new ways of storytelling. The results show our team that we reached our goals, and gives us the strength to continuously try new formats."
Beatriz Prates,
Director, MyNews

Audio news innovation

Audio journalism provides new storytelling and business opportunities for print publishers, broadcasters, and digital natives. Growing audio news audiences requires new capabilities and workflows, whether it's adding a sound booth or segmenting larger broadcasts into shorter stories. To help accelerate this innovation, we provided funding to more than 40 news organizations globally to support building out more audio capabilities for the industry as a whole.

  • Mexico
    Grupo Expansion
    Funded the hiring of talent and basic studio equipment to begin producing medium and short-form audio new content
  • France
    TF1 SA
    Supported the development of an AI-powered software solution to improve single topic audio news story extraction from content created for live TV
  • United States
    Local public radio: KQED, WBUR, KPCC, WNYC, WBEZ
    Supported development of shared digital audio infrastructure across the local public radio ecosystem to improve standards and best practices in audio processing and to enable distribution of audio content in new formats for smart assistants.

Engaging with the Global News Community: Product Working Groups

GNI Product Working Groups have provided frequent opportunities for news organizations from around the world to collaborate and engage directly with the product and engineering teams who are building new technology to support journalism, and offer meaningful feedback as Google teams build out their product roadmaps.

“The GNI EMEA Product Working Group has been a stimulating forum for discussion to address common challenges from diverse perspectives aiming at building up collective solutions which affect the news ecosystem as a whole. Our ability to directly engage with Google product teams has had a positive impact and is a good model for working collaboratively.”
Noemi Ramírez,
Chief Product and Customer Officer, PRISA News

Emerging Technologies

New technology presents new opportunities. We help partners respond to changing news consumption habits by experimenting with new approaches to gathering information and storytelling.

graph of interconnected web pages

Data journalism resources

Through our data visualization project, we’ve worked with designers around the world to tell stories with data -- and make the results open source so they can be reused by journalists and data visualization experts everywhere.

Using machine learning to identify unreported homicides

Violent organized crime is one of the biggest crises facing Mexico, and it places journalists in harm’s way. Murders are a daily occurrence in many parts of the country, and research shows that Mexico is the most deadly place in the world for reporters outside of active war zones.

Something akin to a code of silence has emerged across the country. We suspected that there were entire regions where journalists were not reporting on the violence, threats, intimidation and murder that were well known to be part of daily life.

We partnered with El Universal to use the power of machine learning to analyze the gaps in coverage across the country, creating a data visualization of the results.

How have searches for COVID-19 evolved as the virus has spread?
Searching COVID-19: Finding patterns in our need for knowledge
A new global COVID-19 map for journalists

As reporters continue to try and make sense of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects around the world, visualizing data can help make reporting clearer for readers.

We partnered with Stanford University’s Big Local News and Pitch Interactive to launch the COVID-19 Global Case Mapper, which makes it possible for journalists anywhere in the world to embed up-to-date visualizations of the pandemic on their sites for readers.

In the first month of publication, the map was seen 625,000+ times and embedded by 6,000 news outlets

Helping journalists understand the power of machine learning


JournalismAI is a global initiative that aims to inform media organizations about the potential offered by artificial intelligence-powered technologies. It’s managed in partnership with Polis, the journalism think-tank at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Through JournalismAI, we surveyed 71 news organizations in 32 countries to develop a report to help journalists apply artificial intelligence (AI) to their work and organizations

Created an Introduction to Machine Learning course for journalists, available in 17 different languages on the GNI Training Center

How Google supports the news industry

Google’s products help news organizations large and small globally grow their businesses online. We invest in technology that supports publishers in increasing readers, advertising revenue and digital subscribers. Alongside our product enhancements, our dedicated news team partners with publishers to uncover new ways to evolve their journalism, expand their audience and grow their businesses.

  • The Google News Initiative builds upon Google’s nearly 20 year commitment toward supporting the news industry.

  • 1998
    Google founded.
  • 2002

    Google News launches as one of the first products outside of core Search, organizing news articles to make it easier to see a range of sources on the same topic.

  • 2008

    Doubleclick acquired, expanding our relationship with web publishers and providing new technology and expertise to support their display advertising businesses.

  • 2013

    Newsstand launches as a platform for publishers to produce and optimize their content into magazine-like editions designed for viewing on mobile devices.

    Launched a global journalist training program through Google for Media.

  • 2015

    Google News Lab launches to empower journalists with new technology.

    Digital News Initiative forms to collaborate with the European news ecosystem around Product, Training & Research and Innovation.

  • 2016

    Launched Accelerated Mobile Pages, (formerly Accelerated Mobile Pages), an open source webcomponents library now hostedunder the OpenJS Foundation thathelps publishers easily create fastloading web pages and otherengaging online experiences likeStories and dynamic email.

    Added Fact Check labels to help readers find fact checking in large news stories.

  • 2017

    Flexible Sampling introduced to help publishers grow subscriptions revenue by controlling whether and how many articles they want to let searchers access before showing a paywall or subscription prompt

    Funding Choices introduced to help publishers recover lost revenue due to ad blockers, inviting users to enable ads or choose another way to fund the content.

  • 2018

    Google News Initiative launched to help centralize and scale our efforts across the company to help build a stronger future for news.

    Google News applies real-time AI and machine learning to organize the news, providing publishers with new audiences, frictionless one-click subscriptions (through Subscribe with Google), and new opportunities to experiment with editorial formats, advertising models, and marketing promotions

  • 2020

    Google News Showcase launches with $1 billion commitment to support creation of quality content.

Sending traffic through our products

Google products send traffic directly to publisher sites, enabling them to access a worldwide audience at no cost while helping consumers access information from diverse voices and perspectives.

24 billion
Through Search and News, we send 24 billion visits for free to news websites globally every month.
Google search icons

Enhancing Search and News

We continue to develop our Search and News features to better serve users and news organizations globally.

We've made changes to our products globally to highlight news articles that we identify as significant original reporting. Such articles may stay in a highly visible position longer. To tune and validate our algorithms and help our systems understand the authoritativeness of individual pages, we have more than 10,000 raters around the world evaluating our work.
Our Full Coverage News feature provides a complete picture of how a story is reported from a variety of sources. In Search, features like knowledge panels that display information from the Google Knowledge Graph help readers get quick access to the facts from sources across the web.
Over the past few years, we’ve improved our systems to automatically recognize breaking news around crisis moments and improved our detection time from up to 40 minutes just a few years ago, to now within just a few minutes of news breaking. To understand how our systems are performing when news breaks, we’ve developed an Intelligence Desk, which actively monitors and identifies potential information threats.
YouTube helps news organizations build viewership at scale by increasing distribution and reach through a suite of news products that elevate diverse and authoritative news publishers.
Breaking News shelf appeared
on the homepage over
2300 times globally.
For example, when a major news event occurs, YouTube shows relevant videos from authoritative news sources in the Breaking News shelf on the homepage for all users in the relevant countries. In 2019, 2300 stories were featured on the Breaking News shelf on the YouTube homepage.
Similarly, YouTube prioritizes authoritative news and information queries in our search results and recommendations.

Growing audiences for audio news

Collaborations with publishers from around the world over nearly three years have helped us imagine the future of audio news, and have reinforced the importance of building a healthy ecosystem for both listeners and publishers.
We’re helping to connect users with audio news through our smart playlist Your News Update, available on Google Podcasts and Google Assistant. By analyzing what’s being said within a given audio file, we can apply our understanding around what text articles are about, how news stories evolve, how topics link together and what might be most relevant to a particular user’s interests.

Supporting revenue through our products

News publishers of all sizes around the world use Google products and services to grow their revenue and manage their digital businesses.

Supporting revenue through our products

Google Ad Manager
Thousands of news companies use Ad Manager to run their digital advertising businesses. Publishers tell us they choose our platform for its performance, controls and ability to integrate with hundreds of third party ad technologies. On average, the top 100 news publishers globally using Ad Manager keep over 95% of the digital advertising revenue they generate when using the product.
Google Ad Manager Fee Waiver
In order to provide direct and immediate financial aid to news organizations producing original journalism during the coronavirus pandemic, we waived ad serving fees on Ad Manager for five months. Our ad serving fee waiver has benefited over 700 news publishers globally during a particularly challenging time period.
Publishers can monetize content through advertising, receiving a majority of the revenue from ads shown on their YouTube videos. In addition, YouTube provides subscription revenues from YouTube Premium and enables direct viewer contributions through features like channel memberships.

Product Partnerships

$1 billion committed to support quality content

We recently announced Google News Showcase -- a new news experience -- with a $1 billion global investment towards paying for quality content.

Google News Showcase

We recently announced we will pay publishers to create and curate high-quality content for a different kind of online news experience. Google News Showcase is a new product that features the editorial curation of award-winning newsrooms to give readers more insight on the stories that matter, and in the process, helps publishers develop deeper relationships with their audiences. And it will give readers more context and perspective on important stories in the news and drive high-value traffic to a publisher’s site. News Showcase builds on our existing news licensing program, which is already paying publishers for efforts like Subscribe with Google, Web Stories and audio news.

Supporting publishers with our marketing

Google has long spent its marketing dollars with news organizations. Not only do news publishers provide an effective platform for advertisers to engage audiences, but we also believe it’s important to support journalism financially with our marketing.

$100 million
We committed to invest over $100 million with news organizations around the world by the end of the year.
  • $100 million commitment
    In the wake of the coronavirus, we set out to think about how we could do even more to help the news industry through this challenging time. One of the commitments our marketing team made was to invest more with news organizations. For the first time, we’re holding ourselves to a marketing spend goal with the news category. Back in March, we committed to invest over $100 million with news organizations around the world by the end of the year. We’re well on our way to hitting this goal.
  • “Support Local News” Campaign
    In partnership with the Local Media Association and Local Media Consortium, we launched a $15 million marketing campaign in June to “Support Local News.” This program delivered funding to thousands of local news outlets in the U.S. and Canada, including Black and Latino-owned publishers, and reached tens of millions of people with our call to action to subscribe, donate and advertise.

What’s Next?

As we continue to learn, we’re consolidating insights from the work we’ve done, and finding ways to scale those learnings to publishers globally through efforts like the Digital Growth Program and The Local News Experiments Project.

The news industry is still in the midst of a difficult transition. But this period of evolution presents opportunities to rethink the role news plays in people’s lives and how it should evolve to meet our changing information needs.

We’ll continue to collaborate with news organizations around the world and serve as a supporting partner through the process, and we’re excited to share more in the coming year.