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Selected Projects

In November 2018, we announced the steps we’re taking as part of the Google News Initiative to fund projects that inject new ideas into the news industry. We are excited to share the 181 recipients of our first GNI Innovation Challenges in Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Middle East, Turkey & Africa and North America representing 45 countries around the regions. This funding will enable our partners to develop sustainable business models by diversifying revenue streams and/or increasing audience engagement. You can read more about selected projects below.

See the winners from each region

Middle East, Turkey & Africa

Congo

2021

Summary: Mobile application offering videos and podcasts accessible by subscription.

Solution: Habari RDC to diversify its sources of income by providing paid content (videos and podcasts) to its users. However, the technological environment of the country is not conducive to such a project. There is no single local streaming player. This project for a tool to offer paid content will focus on the user experience of subscribers, many of which do not have bank cards.

Côte d’Ivoire

2020

Summary: AKWABA leverages messaging apps to build paid readership for news outlets in Cote d'Ivoire and emerging markets.

Solution: 84% of internet users in Africa have an instant messaging account. AKWABA help news providers increase readership and monetize through messaging platforms.

Egypt

2021

Summary: An online platform that enables local journalists across the Middle East and Africa to pitch stories in any format or language to the editors of regional and international media outlets. The pitches available through the platform will be original and distinct, allowing media outlets to discover authentic stories to be produced by locals at a lower cost and to reach areas, where they have no presence. The platform specialises in solutions journalism; a genre focused on reporting how people are responding to problems in their own communities. Solutions journalism has been shown to significantly engage audiences, especially younger ones.

Solution: Globally, news organisations are struggling to engage audiences (especially younger ones) and to find original stories. At the same time, up-and-coming local journalists are struggling to connect with international media outlets. Our solution is a platform connecting local journalists to news outlets to produce and sell original, engaging and inspiring stories at a lower cost.

Ghana

2020

Summary: The GhanaWeb reporter is an app (Android+IOS) which enables 4 million monthly visitors to (re-)publish their user-generated content directly on ghanaweb.com. The content will be published- after screening - on a personal micro page on the website or even as a news or opinion article should it meet their editorial guidelines.

GhanaWeb wants to change online publishing from only 'push' into a balance of 'push and pull' and generate more content in that way. The content may be also be more relevant to a specific part of the community.

Easily publish special interest content – local news – special topics

Easily publish content from social media on GhanaWeb

Earn money with the pageviews of the GhanaWeb reporter URL – content

Solution: Online publishers face severe competition from online parties that do not produce content. The production of content is expensive. GhanaWeb will significantly increase the community that produces content, decrease the cost of producing content and get more people to the platform to share their news and opinions with other people. Online publishing becomes more social, more relevant to certain niches and easy to access and operate. More people can earn money with news and content. They will partly distribute the advertising proceeds to the part of the community that produce content.

Iraq

2020

Summary: NAS News will prototype a platform for interactive video debates dealing with local challenges whereby the general public form the heart of the news generation process, by providing informed opinions, key facts and assessment of local challenges. The easy to set up debates are part of a mobile first access, built on an already developed Mushtarek group ideation platform. The tagged video debates would form a knowledge container as part of an overall well-tagged news content mix. The debates will be facilitated by a network of local correspondents, journalists and activists who have good social media followership and community reputation.

Solution: NAS News addresses how to increase user engagement with local news content and giving the people a voice. Leveraging a mobile first, news social platform that puts local communities at the heart of the news content generation process, providing informed local opinions, key facts and assessment of local socio-economic challenges. The platform supports easy to set up and produce interactive video debates, that will be facilitated by news correspondents, investigative journalists and community activists. They fill a gap in the market to provide a much-needed service that allows local communities a voice in a democratic society.

Israel

2021

Summary: An in-app interactive audio platform meant to allow journalist to engage with readers through live chats

Solution: Keeping our users "home" with their increasing audio content consumption, letting them engage with us without moving to social platforms e.g. Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces

Summary: Using a set of rule-based algorithms we will automate the creation of easy-to-transfer one-liner text notifications based on data from several internal data systems. Tailored to specific roles in the organization, the insights will be sent via ubiquitous messaging apps. In some cases, follow-up actions will be included directly in the message.

Solution: In many news outlets organizational data is available only to a limited set of people, and accessed most often during work hours on desktop computers. The result: relevant data is hardly used by most employees when making granular decisions, and news organizations lag in adopting a data-driven culture. The solution: make data more relevant by tailoring it to specific roles, and increase visibility and actionability by sending short text insights in real-time to employees across the organization via messaging apps.

2020

Summary: Israel Hayom, Israel's most widely circulated newspaper, aims to increase its digital footprint. To do so, it plans to implement a user loyalty program and offer e-commerce benefits to highly engaged users by partnering with third-party vendors. An algorithm-based system would give users points for engagement with our content, both on its website and apps, and on third-party platforms. The more points a user earns, the more and bigger rewards she or he can redeem.

Solution: Attaining user loyalty has become both a major necessity and a major challenge: repeating engaged users drive more page views, increase advertising revenues, and consume better-quality content. As part of a vision to make the news site better differentiated, Israel Hayom has developed a loyalty program to create a graduated incentive for users according to their level of engagement.

Summary: Finding the right mix for the right audience is the magic trick of the editorial work. ML models can amplify accuracy in creating a new, personalized mix, and keeping our products up to date for the digital era.

Solution: One of our many challenges as publishers is to keep our readers constantly interested and curious. Interested in the story they are reading and curious to read more like it. With many other content providers around, this is what will make-or-break readers’ willingness to return to the brand, engage with the content and ensure the ‘next click’ on the site. Without any kind of personalization, keeping a single reader both interested and curious would be impossible, yet finding the right blend of personalization is not an easy task.

Summary: The project is a combination of two separate main components: automation and distribution. With automation of texts and infographics, yNet aims to produce and publish a mass amount of articles from one structured data-set (election results, public schools ranking, socio-economical characteristics etc.) – each article summarizing the data available on a specific city. Then the distribution component kicks in – by sending each user on mobile apps (and in the near future, also users on their WPA mobile site) the article most relevant via push notification.

Solution: With this project yNet wishes to face a major challenge in the digital news landscape: the current inability to produce such large amounts of content from data available to us. Without automation and with limited resources, they were previously forced to take each data-set and produce one article summarizing its findings. The user then has to comb through long and tedious articles - instead of getting the data they were looking for, the most relevant data.

Summary: As the video content universe grows and audience attention scatters, manually-managed methods for operating an online video business underperform. AnyClip’s Luminous Watch disrupts this tradition with a data-supported solution, simplifying workflows and improving business results.

Luminous Watch is an OTT-style video streaming experience that is easily added to any website. Ingesting owned and licensed video into a back-end platform, Luminous Watch uses AI technology to analyze and organize this content into a hub of browsable, monetizable channels and playlists. As viewers engage with this content, the platform automatically understands their content interests and organizes playlists and channels of related content.

Solution: The goal of Luminous Watch is to simplify the workflow of any publisher’s video business strategy: to give publishers the tools they need to source, manage, stream and monetize video content to users in ways that attract advertisers with as little human effort as possible.

The industry-wide impact of Luminous Watch is to democratize how people get their news, shifting from push to pull experiences that embrace personalization versus editorialization, facilitated by technology.

Jordan

2021

Summary: Rabet is creating a visual map of key decision-makers in Jordan through collecting data on them, and illustrating the connection between them, based on their family, work, business, or other connections.

Rabet will be a tool to increase transparency in decision making in Jordanian society and public sphere

Solution: Jordan is a relatively small country with a small group of people having a large role in public and private decision making powers. Connectivity therefore is an important tool that can reflect on individuals seeking a loan or getting a high appointment.

In the absence of any form of credit scores of individuals and because society is very much interconnected, it is very helpful and useful to understand personal family, work, and communal connections in order to be able to have due diligence and at the same time to avoid cases of conflict of interest.

2020

Summary: Zamakan from Sowt is a curated network of high-quality podcasts. It aims to promote podcast discoverability and monetization by helping audiences in the region discover great audio content and podcast producers access revenue opportunities.

Solution: While podcasting in the MENA region and the world is growing rapidly, the podcast ecosystem struggles with two main obstacles: discoverability and monetization. By curating high-quality podcasts from the region and cross-promoting them, the Zamakan network from Sowt will help regional audiences discover new content. In doing so, the network’s aim is to increase total podcast listening time, both by attracting new podcast listeners, and by increasing the listenership of existing audiences. As the audience grows, revenue generation opportunities will increase as well. As such, the Zamakan network will work with existing podcasts to develop revenue opportunities through regional membership, live events and ad sales.

Summary: One of the reasons Google Search, Google Home and applications like SIRI are so advanced is because machines can read English. Over the past five years, the Al Bawaba team has worked with IBM Watson, Open Calais from Thomson Reuters and Rosette to create a granular, vast digital archive from over 19 years of original and syndicated Arabic news content for a platform called ‘DISCO Content Marketplace.’ The problem? Al Bawaba's digital archive is in Arabic. Linguistic complexity and significant variations in the quality of content mean that machines don’t always know what they are looking at. Working with the Google Cloud and Convz Analytics Advisory, this project applies the latest machine-learning techniques to improve semantic search in Arabic.

Solution: Machines still can't read Arabic very well at scale. For publishers with terabytes of Arabic language content, this makes curating, packaging and selling that content to clients really difficult. Al Bawaba's solution is to leverage the Google Cloud and build a ‘trained AI’ capable of semantically understanding and tagging Arabic content with much higher accuracy. This solution won’t simply help transform Al Bawaba's business. It will contribute towards capacity building Arabic language publishing on the Internet itself.

Kenya

2021

Summary: The Messenger Reader Revenue project integrates bots and AI onto a WhatsApp number as well as a USSD platform that the audience can prompt and interact with to access news and other content categories of interest. The product will be on a subscription basis where the audience can select their content category then pay for the content of choice via mobile money, MPESA. The content offering will be uniquely curated content across different content categories such as on farming, investigative content etc that will be conveyed through text, audio and videos.

Solution: We are solving two challenges being faced by the media:

  1. Declining revenue from legacy products. The audience has shifted to digital platforms where they consume content hence in attempt to recover declining revenue we will curate and monetize content on the messenger platforms.
  2. Audience changing consumption habits. The audience in Kenya consumes content via digital and messaging platforms where fake news thrives, hence as through the solution we are able to offer verified news and curated content for the audience.

2020

Summary: Aggregating news from members of the public to produce news at scale.

Solution: In conversations with members of the public drawn from informal settlements in Nairobi, some of the region's largest, an air of under and misrepresentation of the issues that affect them the most arises. This project will provide them with a channel to directly air their issues while providing us with an opportunity to map the issues and better cover them.

Lebanon

2021

Summary: A pioneering Arabic language digital native celebrating eight years online, Raseef22 is clearly biased towards the most vulnerable members of our societies. Raseef22 needs to clearly target a core reader base spread around the 22 Arab states and beyond - readers looking for a better future for themselves and their children. Innovation will enable Raseef22 to be much closer to readers, identify their interests, seek a dialogue with them as well as their support.

Solution: Improve news dissemination in terms of presentation and speed, develop a membership model and develop a deeper relationship with readers.

Summary: LIFT-im is an innovation lab to integrate solutions that will leverage new technologies to enhance Daraj’s journalism while addressing the most pressing challenges it is facing starting with audience growth, retention and monetisation.

Solution: With most of the newsroom’s energy and resources being focused on the production of high-quality journalism, little attention has been given to audiences that in the absence of a strategy have been growing organically.

Daraj targets Arabic speakers belonging to 22 different nationalities scattered in a wide range of geographies around the world and including human rights and freedom of speech defenders, political reformers, minorities supporters, social disruptors, taboo breakers, philosophers, academics, researchers, young and old, men and women.

The mission of LIFT-im is to iterate and integrate solutions that will help us better understand, engage and monetize our audience.

Summary: ReadWard will enhance readership by creating a user-centric experience to improve engagement with readers by letting them monetize their time spent on the website and earn on both levels: Intellectual and material.

Read more | Earn more. Users will collect points every time she/he is reading an article, or engaging online. Points will be redeemed as discounts and promo-codes provided by partners in different categories, all under basic needs and necessities (food, transportation, retail, and telecom) in addition to discounted newspaper subscriptions.

Solution: NAW Readward is based on implementing an innovative technology and algorithm to one of the oldest industries: the press. The target is to improve engagement on qualified content by providing a new type of reading experience coupled with a loyalty program. Readership becomes more valuable by implementing consumer lifecycle management to online news.This type of engagement is frequently adapted with commercial apps but not in the news and publishing industry in the Middle East.

2020

Summary: Subscription models are being increasingly adopted by the publishing industry in a step in the right direction for recovering from diminishing revenues. Publishers are struggling to attract readers who used to consume their content for free. With dynamic pricing and/or a dynamically metered paywall, manual marketing efforts can be refocused, and smart automation is brought in to make subscriptions more attractive to readers based on their behavior, interests, and purchasing power.

Solution: Pricing a news subscription is a constant task. Publishers sometimes use the $1 entry point to attract readers, but overall revenue becomes too low. This is also not a permanent pricing as it changes back to the full price and risks churn. For metered paywalls, a limit of 3 articles per month, for example, might not be lucrative enough for entertainment readers. Whitebeard will be creating a tool aimed at any publisher with a subscription service, allowing them to choose their price flexibility, and let the system chase readers by presenting offers (price or metering changes) at critical decision moments.

Summary: Because reader’s loyalty should be rewarded, L’Orient-Le Jour will turn the news consumption to benefits. L’OLJ Club is a unique loyalty program that gives benefits for L’Orient-Le Jour subscribers whenever they engage with its content. When the reader subscribes, consumes the news and interacts with the content they will be rewarded. Whether they subscribe to the paper newspaper, digital version, shares the newsletters or the articles on social media they will be automatically eligible for special offers. They will be able to connect to L’OLJ Club platform and can learn about personalized benefits, select preferences from a large catalog and interact with the journalists.

Solution: How to improve subscriber’s loyalty and reduce the churn rates? How to build a strong sense of belonging to a community? L’OLJ Club is the solution! It aims to bring together, readers and writers, in order to create and maintain a healthy symbiotic relationship of content creation and consumption. In a region where loyalty programs are limited to some malls and supermarkets, L’Orient-Le Jour is going to step forward and give the privilege to its subscribers to become members of “L’OLJ Club”.

Summary: Jawla Inc (tour in Arabic). is tech-enabled media start-up on a mission to re-engineer the Arabic web and create more informed societies in the MENA region.

Solution: In the Arabic-speaking world, 58% of its 185 million internet users struggle to find relevant information in Arabic online (Wamda, 2015). Our research shows that most Arabic digital publishers have limited capacity, know-how, and budgets to reach targeted critical niche audiences through digital marketing. As a result, they miss out on serving and monetizing their content to more than half of their potential digital audience. Jawla is an AI/ML-enabled Arabic media web platform that classifies, curates, and distributes thoughtful news information in a relevant, smart, and personalised manner to Arabic internet users.

Morocco

2021

Summary: Medias24 Morocco Data Hub Economy: After concentrating our efforts on writing articles and video, we will introduce economic information in the form of data in a massive and permanent way in our daily work.

We have assembled a team of journalists, data scientists, data analysts, developers and marketing, who will devote themselves full time to data.

These data, which will be stored and used through APIs, will be available in the form of dashboards to:

  • editorial staff for understanding as well as integration into articles.
  • general public.
  • decision-makers.
  • those who wish to launch collaborative projects.

Solution: Moroccan economic data is spread all over the web: we struggle to find what we are exactly looking for, there is no platform for accessing all economic data.

The user does not find an intelligent, automated, daily updated economic aggregated data. our solution is Morocco's economic data hub. This aggregates all Moroccan data and enables users to access them easily and quickly through an intuitive and interactive dashboard: statistical data, correlation, news events, historical analysis, insights, etc..

Provide users with advanced analytical tools to gather quick insights and hints.Leverage AI & machine learning to drive and leverage fact-based decision making.

2020

Summary: TelQuel project aims to empower the voice of Moroccan diaspora through a dedicated platform, offering news from a trusted media brand, services, interactivity and networking. They will develop technological features and implement already existing open source solutions to build a platform offering a large range of tools. Members of the diaspora can share their stories or precious memories, access hyper localized content and be a part of the debate with voting/commenting tool. Articles, videos and podcasts will help share the information easily and create links between a diversified, multilingual community.

Solution: Members of the diaspora represent 13% of the total population of Morocco. In 2019, 3 million Moroccan living abroad visited their home country. Despite these facts, little is done to engage and empower this community. The project intends to achieve that. It is also an opportunity for advertisers to communicate with this community using innovative tools, brand content and classic ads.

Nigeria

2021

Summary: Eco-Nai+ is Nigeria’s first digital geo-journalism platform providing access to interactive geo-data through web and mobile applications. It will host environmental data such as on drought, rainfall and erosion, while carefully tracking and marking changes to environmental phenomena to establish the incidence of climate change.

Eco-Nai+ will rely on a range of data sources including: verified user-generated data (from members of impacted communities), data from official sources, own-generated data and from reliable open source geo-data platforms like Google Earth.

The project has a broad range of targets including journalists, environmentalists, farmers, researchers, public policy formulators and at-risk residents.

Solution: Project Eco-Nai+ is seeking to solve two major related problems. The first being the shared global challenge of climate change, and the second being inadequate local response to climate change due to disparities in knowledge of the crisis and capacity to contribute to solutions.

In Nigeria, we are on the negative end of the disparities. There is very limited appreciation of the crisis of climate change in communities, and a wide-ranging lack of capacity to aggregate, interpret and deploy data on the environment. Eco-Nai+ is designed to solve these problems through broadening access to environmental data for both residents and workers as well as professionals such as journalists, environmentalists, researchers and policy formulators.

Summary: ReCo improves user experience by making content recommendations based on the users' preferences on the home page and within articles. ReCo shows highly relevant content and, as a result, metrics like page views and session duration will increase. In the long run, readers' loyalty will also boost with demand for certain topics being met.

Solution: Digital publishers are competing for users’ attention with social media, news aggregators and streaming services that have advanced personalization features.

Knowing the audience and suggesting content of their interest, gives a competitive advantage and grows their interest in news content overall.

It's a number one task to put readers first and inform them about matters they care about. ReCo increases metrics including time on page, session duration, depth, page views, etc. and grows a loyal audience.

Summary: If the future of sustainable media is direct reader revenue, then African publishers are still poorly equipped with the billing infrastructure required to collect regular payments from readers. This product is a subscription management service offering for the media industry, which allows publishers, bloggers and creatives to open up new revenue streams for themselves. As media pivots towards direct reader revenue, we are building a plug-and-play subscription platform that makes revenue collection easy. The project is crucial for the publishing industry to take charge of its own technology needs, by ensuring solutions are built by publishers, for publishers.

Solution: A primary pain point for African publishers is the lack of technology infrastructure that makes it easy, fast and efficient to enable recurring revenue from readers, contributors or members. Off the shelf billing solutions, widely available in international markets, are not built with African users or publishers in mind.

Building an easy to use subscription management service that enables African publishers to monetise their audiences without technical expertise. At its core, it will integrate recurring payment workflows for publishers to manage, track and organise readers using multiple payment providers.

2020

Summary: At the core of this project is personalization. Ringier wants to better understand the type of content each reader consumes and ensure they serve them the content that is most relevant to them (personalized) as well as improving delivery. They will also implement changes to the delivery of the newsletter to further drive traffic to the site (which will also help contribute off-site data points) to further develop these user profiles.

Solution: The overall aim of the project is to increase user engagement on the news site. As more and more users bypass editorial platforms in favour of social media networks, the publisher is tasked with finding ways to get them back on the site and engage them once there. While theoretically having ‘something for everyone’ means all readers should have interesting relevant content to consume, the reality is they do not always find those pieces before exiting the site. This project will drive content relevancy through personalisation and to drive engagement (time spent on page & pages viewed per session) on our platform.

Rwanda

2020

Summary: Readers' Call on the News offers readers of The New Times the possibility to submit story ideas on any topic they are interested in. The idea with the most votes is then assigned to a journalist who develops the story alongside the reader. This provides more openness to the newspaper in addition to covering new story ideas from their audience. They want readers to feel part of the same community as the journalists. The goal is also to increase reader engagement in Rwanda, by having readers see themselves and their ideas in the stories.

Solution: : Readers' Call on the News wants to address a general challenge in the media: a distant relationship between journalists and their readers. This creates distrust on one side, an assumption about the audience's need on the other. Readers' Call on the News, will create a bond again to make sure readers' ideas are heard, covered and in the end, that better news is produced about Rwanda.

South Africa

2021

Summary: Scrolla.Africa's DataLite platform makes essential and entertaining news available to the millions of people across southern Africa currently excluded from news due to unaffordable data costs. The DataLite site automatically repackages content from Scrolla's core news site - featuring an exciting mix of breaking news, politics, sport, celebrities, music and religion. The ultra-lean DataLite platform is designed to be accessible even on the smallest smartphone screens, maximising the ability of underrepresented audiences to access high quality, popular content.

Solution: Data costs in South Africa, and the other African markets which Scrolla.Africa will expand to, are generally very high - especially for pay-as-you-go users, who represent the vast majority. This means that accessing independent, accurate, and fun news is often an unaffordable luxury. Scrolla DataLite will provide a clean, easy-to-navigate platform - with all of Scrolla.Africa's content in English and Zulu, but without the burden of normal data costs.

2020

Summary: Food For Mzansi’s new citizen journalism project will this year empower at least 50 small-scale farmers and farm workers. Targeting three agricultural communities, the citizen journalists will be trained and mentored in basic news reporting, filming and video-editing to tell often overlooked yet compelling stories from their own lives and villages. The content will be published on Food For Mzansi, who is making waves across Africa after winning the best digital news start-up category in the 2019 African Digital Media Awards presented by WAN-IFRA. All 50 new citizen journalists will be remunerated for their services.

Solution: The Food For Mzansi Citizen Journalism Project is aimed at South Africans youth and young small-scale farmers who live in rural communities with limited internet access. Whilst internet penetration around the country’s big cities are quite impressive, research shows that rural provinces have fallen far behind. Most of the people living in these rural provinces are unemployed, whilst those who are employed mostly work in the agricultural sector. They have particularly low literacy rates, and are also being held back by exorbitant mobile data prices which currently excludes them from the news agenda and access to news media.

Summary: Unlocking the power of data is a key element of sustainability and producing more relevant content experiences for readers. Small and medium sized publishers struggle with siloed data stored in disparate systems. The Rev Engine will bring key data from these commonly used systems, like email services providers, CRM, CMS and browsing activities into one central place. This unified version of the reader will help the newsroom create and package more relevant content to individuals, assist in membership/subscriber conversion and offer insights to aid editorial decision-making.

Solution: Small and medium publishers have access to a lot of data but few insights. This is mainly due to the disparate systems that publishers rely on. Structuring that data and housing in a single location to create a unified view of the reader will allow publishers to unlock the power of data previously only available to large corporates.

Syria

2021

Summary: Bringing the frontlines to your screen, by using the latest trends and tools of technology to shed light on the real life of people and children who live in conflict zones, covering the suffering and the impact that war leaves on all of them.

These powerful tools were the reasons behind establishing the digital platforms, “frontline in focus'' and'' Tiny hand” in Arabic and English.Coverage in war zones decreased because of travel restrictions and high expenses, outbreak of Covid-19 and other difficulties related to access to war zones. On the other hand, the traditional methods of coverage are not enough to reflect the reality there.

Solution: Placing the audience inside the war and conflict zones, shift the newsrooms to open areas and all the places which are hard to reach and difficult to visualise. All this could be achieved by using VR.

Join us in our trips, Live VR Trips, Private VR Trips and be introduced to the most beautiful places in war zones. These Virtual Reality tours allow users to interact in ways that feel as if they are in the middle of the war, creating an unforgettable experience.

Tunisia

2021

Summary: An innovative approach to monetizing Nawaat’s audience base underlined by robust privacy protections for paid subscribers. Nawaat’s business model would constitute the first online loyalty payment system for digital media in Tunisia. This project constitutes 1) setting up a Nawaat Patreon account targeting the Tunisian diaspora community; 2) offering select online paid services for other specific audiences; and 3) upgrading Nawaat’s existing web services to increase reader engagement. The project further aspires to transform regional digital news consumption behaviors by fostering a culture of paying for quality journalism, starting in Tunisia.

Solution: Nawaat is heavily reliant on institutional donor funding and donor-funded commercial clients. Nawaat’s fairly undiversified revenue sources makes Nawaat vulnerable to shifts in donor priorities (ex: decreased focus on Tunisia, freedom of expression, etc), or decreased funding availability more broadly. Furthermore, Nawaat’s position is increasingly precarious as foreign aid budgets are being reduced in response to COVID-19-induced economic fallout. Diversifying Nawaat’s revenue sources is fundamental to maintaining Nawaat’s editorial independence, especially as increased numbers of donors are granting funds for thematic based projects rather than supporting journalism for the sake of journalism.

Turkey

2021

Summary: Project Phantom targets personalized content at the right time, while it enables teams to work in a more efficient and smart operation structıre. The system creates smart, locally-targeted, personalized push notifications with the sub-systems including detection of hyperlocal agendas, content based segmentation with Auto-ML and Customer micro segmentation with Auto-ML systems.

Solution: Push notifications on mobile devices are an important way for users to stay up to date with news. However, push notifications can also be a major source of annoyance for users; being interrupted at the wrong time for something you do not care about is frustrating. So, users are frustrated, less engaged; retention rates, CLTV and revenue is lower. Thanks to the Phantom's smart, locally-targeted personalize push system; user segments and content segments can be determined and user engagement level can be improved.

Summary: Aposto! Dreamcatcher is a blockchain-based link tracking system integrated with a micro-payment infrastructure, enabling independent newsletter writers and curators to license paywalled articles from major news outlets piece by piece. Using Dreamcatcher, newsletter writers and curators can provide their audiences unhindered access to select articles featuring quality journalism from trusted sources, and offer a frictionless reading experience. For news publishers, Dreamcatcher unlocks a new way to monetize original content beyond already existing ad-based and subscription models.

Solution: As paywalled subscription models become the go-to method of monetizing news content, audiences are increasingly experiencing subscription fatigue. Independent newsletters are emerging as an alternative source, yet they often feature links to major news outlets to establish trust and credibility. Readers still come across paywalls, and they either disengage with the content or resort to different methods of bypassing. This causes a discrepancy in compensation of intellectual property owners, drives down reader engagement and depreciates curators’ value proposition. Dreamcatcher offers a way to overcome these challenges by creating an ad hoc licensing mechanism supported by a blockchain-based secure tracking and payment infrastructure.

2020

Summary: With the digital transformation of publishing sector, understanding the reader & content at a fine-grained level became possible. Now, Demirören Teknoloji can measure readers’ interests at the article level. The next step is to detect the meaning of the contents automatically. By implementing an AI system they will be able to seamlessly categorise all their contents, and offer personalized news to readers on the topics that they are interested in.

Solution: Demirören Teknoloji wants to categorise content, at a microsegment level in order to increase readers’ engagement on its platforms. To do this effortlessly, they need an automated system that does not rely on content creators. Named entity recognition is a method that enables extracting entities from a content. Currently, Turkish language processing resources are limited and they are not efficient enough for large scale applications. To address these issues, Demirören Teknoloji decided to develop their own entity recognition tool. By providing the tool as a SAAS on cloud, they hope to offer a Turkish language processing resource.

United Arab Emirates

2021

Summary: Scientific Arab is a platform dedicated to communicating scientific topics (Science, Health, Technology, Environment) to the Arab. Aimed mainly at the 15 to 30 year age group it creates simple, engaging, and interactive content from multiple accurate and prestigious resources. The platform brings together high-quality content from science journalists, professors, scientists, and international science magazines to make it available in Arabic.

Scientific Arab aims to build a newsletter tool created by Arabs for Arabs to be integrated with our platform to send daily exclusive digest newsletter to our premium subscribers.

Solution:

  1. As the content subscription model is being developed and adapted by many media organizations worldwide, the model is still in its infancy in Arab countries
  2. Subscribers usually get access to premium content + exclusive daily offers including digest newsletters that are delivered directly to their inbox
  3. Most tools that offer content newsletter subscriptions are not compatible with Arabic and don’t support Arab journalists or Arabic Media
  4. Many Arab media outlets are studying implementing subscription models and offering daily digests, but the successful case studies are rare, and there are no tools to support newsletters in Arabic for Arab audiences

Summary: Arageek.com, a leading Arabic magazine for youths, launches a digital membership platform. Extending the current model as an online magazine to include a User Generated Content (UGC) element to the business via providing self publishing tools for users and Arab bloggers. The platform will be available on mobile ( Android & IOS ) and web applications (PWA).

Solution: Arageek will generate UGC from its users and bloggers. It will increase revenue from higher engagements and more pageviews and provide data and insights for editors for continuous content improvement.

2020

Summary: The National identified a unique opportunity to develop a new service within the rapidly expanding voice market. The aim is to create a text to speech offering with the help of Google that converts its award-winning content into both English and Arabic in real-time. The new service is designed to support its mission of increasing access to high-quality news across the Middle East.

Solution: Listening to news is becoming more important to consumers and news organisations as device proliferation drives demand for voice offerings. The Middle East is currently underserved by news organisations and big tech companies. High-quality content in Arabic remains quite limited compared to the size of the Arabic-speaking market. The National sees an opportunity to bridge that gap by launching a text to speech service in both English and Arabic, giving the wider audiences access to The National’s high-quality news.

Summary: Aloloom Lil Omoom (Popular Science Arabia) is a leading source that empowers Arab youth with reliable, well-written, science and tech stories. We are expanding our current platform to empower readers across the region with knowledge from researchers and academic sources. Their objective is two-fold: help readers become informed and inspired by reliable science content and empower new voices from the science and academic community in the region. They will provide new, credible, and up to date sources of information and topics relevant to the needs of the region by helping the academic community share stories about their work in science and technology in a simple, engaging and journalistic way.

Solution: There’s a gap between the academic community and the public. Although the academic community is considered as a credible and accurate source of knowledge, there is a shortage in Arabic tools and platforms that can help them share their research and breakthroughs in a language accessible to the public can consume. This project intends to lower the barrier to entry and expand the reach of the academic community and build a highway between the science readers and producers. They are filling the gap by building a platform that will become the destination for the academic community share science and tech stories with the Arabic-speaking world. This platform will allow authors to follow a simple, hassle-free process where they collaborate with editors.

Zimbabwe

2021

Summary: An open-source WhatsApp bot for news distribution and audience engagement. By leveraging WhatsApp Business API, small and medium sized newsrooms will be able to legally use the messaging application to distribute their content en masse while they engage new and existing users without violating the platform’s terms and privacy policies.

Solution: As the usage of social media platforms increases, local newsrooms are beginning to see the need to meet readers where they already are. In many developing media markets, including Zimbabwe, WhatsApp is one of the most important platforms for news distribution. However, to use the platform for engagement, news outlets can begetting banned for violating WhatsApp user terms and policies. To use the platform for engagement, a newsroom needs to get access to the WhatsApp Business API, a legally permissible and scalable way to engage with audiences on the platform.

Summary: Provide an alternative to radio with the establishment of a podcast network.

Solution: Zimbabwe is a highly polarised country with few independent media outlets. Radio is the easiest media to access for most Zimbabweans.