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What is the GNI Innovation Challenge?

As part of this program, the GNI will fund a set of projects from around the world that meet specified criteria, with the intent of producing learning and thought leadership to share with the wider industry.

The second GNI Innovation Challenge in the Middle East, Turkey & Africa region focuses on reader engagement and new business models in any form. It follows the highly successful first round of the Challenge for the region which saw 21 projects from 13 countries receive $1.93 million in funding. As before, Google will fund selected projects up to USD $150,000 and will finance up to 70% of the total project cost. Special discretion on the total project cap may be considered by the Jury depending on the scale and impact of a very large collaborative effort.

Apply Now

申請プロセス

The application window opened on 22 February 2021 at 10 GMT, and closes on Monday, April 12 at 23:59 GMT. Only online applications in English will be considered. Applicants are asked to provide descriptions, detailed project plans and budget information via our online application form. They are also required to accept the Middle East, Turkey & Africa GNI Innovation Challenge Application Terms and Conditions.

応募条件

The Middle East, Turkey & Africa GNI Innovation Challenge is open to organizations of every size, including freelancers and sole traders, that aim to produce innovative, original journalism and to enlighten citizens with trustworthy journalistic content, whose projects focus on encouraging a more sustainable news ecosystem.

対象地域

Incorporated organizations need to be incorporated in one of the eligible countries within (countries listed in Terms & Conditions) in the Middle East, Turkey & Africa. Unincorporated organizations need to be registered in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa or, if unregistered, have their principal place of business based in the region.

Eligible Projects

All ideas are welcome but we require all projects to have clear indicators showing the impact of the project from a user perspective and/or from a business perspective (eg: audience indicators, business plan when relevant). Successful projects will also need to be delivered within one year.

We encourage innovative projects - focused on but not limited to - the areas below:

  • Business Models
  • Distribution
  • Interface
  • Social
  • Workflow

Projects can be experimental but must be measurable with well-defined goals. We encourage applicants to clearly underline the opportunities of the project by providing clear key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs should have a significant digital component.

Projects will be evaluated against five main criteria:

  1. Impact on the news ecosystem: Projects should demonstrate potential for significant positive impact on the creation of new revenue streams and/or change the way people consume digital news.
  2. Innovation: Preferred projects will be innovative (use of technology, business model, new reader engagement approaches etc) and be transformative for the applicant and for users.
  3. Feasibility: Projects should demonstrate clear indicators and metrics, or even a business plan when relevant, and set out key risks and mitigation steps.
  4. Inspiration: How can the project help news organizations learn from each other? Willingness to share knowledge, open source code or/and to contribute to the improvement of the ecosystem overall.
  5. Diversity: Preferred projects will be able to demonstrate their self-defined commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion whether that is within their audience, organisation or content. Google is committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and works to support companies/projects which are inline with such values.

Projects that would NOT qualify for Innovation Challenge funding include:

  1. Projects relating to news coverage only or projects merely translating news content into other languages
  2. Upgrades of legacy publishing systems
  3. Projects that relate to simply collating or listing data (for example, the publication of job listings or stock exchange data, or the re-publication of newswire articles);
  4. Projects on training or education only
  5. Projects which do not have any monetization component
  6. Projects which do not impact a news organization
  7. Projects which reflect research without implementation

Project Funding

Google will fund up to $150,000 for selected projects. Special discretion on the total project cap may be considered by The Jury depending on the scale and impact of a very large collaborative effort. Google will finance up to 70% of the overall costs of the selected projects. The remaining self-funded costs can be operational costs. Eligible expenses include personnel costs, engineering costs and the purchase or licensing of any equipment, tools, hardware, software and other assets or materials needed for the project as well as marketing expenses (capped to 20% of the total amount requested). Editorial expenses are not part of the eligible costs and will not be covered. Funding may not be spent on general and overhead costs.

Governance

Applications to the Middle East, Turkey & Africa GNI Innovation Challenge are reviewed by a combination of the Google Project Team and a Jury. The Project Team will review all applications and interview a selection of applicants and then make a recommendation on funding projects. The Project Team includes, but is not limited to:

  • Joyce Baz - Head of Communications, MENAI
  • Ludovic Blecher - Head of Google News Initiative Innovation
  • Sarah Hartley - Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge
  • Iftach Yair - Strategic Partner Manager, Tel Aviv
  • Amer Alsaleh Strategic Partner Manager, Online Partnerships Group
  • Marwa Morgan - Product Experience Strategist, Google News
  • Harith Mokhlif - Senior Publisher Solutions Consultant
  • Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade - Communications manager, Nigeria

The Jury will vote on projects and is responsible for oversight of the GNI Challenge.

質問と回答

誰が申請できますか? 答え

The Middle East, Turkey & Africa GNI Innovation Challenge is open to organizations of every size, including freelancers and sole traders, that aim to produce innovative, original journalism and to enlighten citizens with trustworthy journalistic content, whose projects focus on encouraging a more sustainable news ecosystem.

Established publishers, online-only players, news startups, publisher consortia and local industry associations are all eligible to apply. Incorporated organizations must be from the Middle East, Turkey & Africa region. Unincorporated organizations must be registered in the region (or, if unregistered, have their principal place of business there).

What is the theme of this call for projects? 答え

The Middle East, Turkey & Africa GNI Innovation Challenge focuses on projects which increase reader engagement and/or explore new business models to build a stronger future for journalism.

What do we mean by reader engagement?

Engaged users are more likely to return more often to a news website, visit more pages during a session, spend more time and are more inclined to sign up for an email newsletter. They are also more likely to convert to paid subscribers. We were interested in hearing big ideas and projects to make users become more interested or more actively engaged with your offer.

The range of projects could be varied - everything from analytics to understand the audience better, to using AI to generate story leads or the use of technology to improve the workflow. It could result in a new type of interface, or look at different methods of distribution, or mean audiences can be more social. Please look hereto see examples of previous recipients in the region.

A few examples of reader engagement projects:

  • Food for Mzansi in South Africa engaged rural formers with reporting working via a simple, yet effective game format to recruit and motivate participants to share important information.
  • Haaretz in Isreal introduced reader recommendation elements to their website to increase the number of articles read by its users.
  • Whitebeard in Lebanon is building smart automation tools for publishers to make subscriptions more attractive to readers based on their behavior, interests, and purchasing power.

What do we mean by new business models?

We welcome innovative business models - these are moves which go beyond the traditional means to generate revenues and can create customer loyalty, make value in unusual ways, and define new products or services. Efforts in the area of subscriptions, membership schemes and other ways to focus on reader revenues are encouraged.

Examples of business model projects:

  • Association 3535 in the Ivory Coast launched a micropayment system using WhatsApp accounts for a WhatsApp-based news delivery platform for multiplepartner publishers.
  • Nas News in Iraq has a platform for interactive video debates dealing with local challenges where the general public form the heart of the news generation process.
  • Daily Maverick in South Africa is building a Revenue Engine to bring key data from commonly used newsroom systems, like email services providers, CRM, CMS and browsing activities into one central place.

All ideas are welcome but we require all projects to have a monetization component and to provide explicit plans for monetization with clear indicators showing the potential of the project to create economic value added for the business.

How are projects evaluated? 答え

Projects will be evaluated against five main criteria:

  1. Impact on the news ecosystem: Projects should demonstrate potential for significant positive impact on the creation of new revenue streams and/or change the way people consume digital news.
  2. Innovation: Preferred projects in innovative (use of technology, business model, new reader engagement approaches etc) ways and be transformative for the applicant and for users.
  3. Feasibility: Project should demonstrate a clear indicators and metrics or even a business plan when relevant, and set out key risks and mitigation steps.
  4. Inspiration: How can the project help news organizations learn from each other? Willingness to share knowledge, open source code or/and to contribute to the improvement of the ecosystem overall.
  5. Diversity: Preferred projects will be able to demonstrate their self-defined commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion whether that is within their audience, organisation or content. Google is committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and works to support companies/projects which are inline with such values.
どのような選考プロセスですか? 答え

Initial selection of projects will be done by a Project Team, composed of a select team of Google staff who have knowledge and/or experience in the digital publishing and journalism. They will review all applications for eligibility, innovation and impact. They’ll compose a shortlist, conduct interviews with a selection of applicants and make recommendations to the Middle East, Turkey & Africa GNI Innovation Challenge Jury.

いつ申し込めばいいですか? 答え

The application window opened on 22 February 2021 at 10 GMT, and closes on Monday, April 12 at 23:59 GMT.

どのように申請しますか? 答え

We will consider applications written in English only. You will be asked to provide descriptions, detailed project plans and budget information in our online application form as well as accept the Middle East, Turkey & Africa GNI Innovation Challenge Application Terms and Conditions.

How can I best prepare my submission? 答え

The application window lasts for nearly 7 weeks. Take advantage of this time to document your application as thoroughly as possible and please download the list of questions in advance. All eligible applications submitted by the deadline will be reviewed, so there’s no need to rush into filling in the online form.

Please take the time to consult and do research on opportunities and investment requirements, brainstorm with your team and prepare the draft responses. Your team will also need to provide clear indicators showing the potential of the project to create specific value for the reader and/or economic value added for the business.

When you are ready, please go to the online form and submit the application. If you need additional information, please contact us at meagnichallenge@google.com.

応募にはどのような情報が必要ですか? 答え

In order to assess the projects, the Project Team will need information including:

  1. Company/individual information
  2. Location, URL, number of employees, number of journalists
  3. Project description
  4. Project budget and amount of funding requested
  5. Key indicators to measure the impact of the project
  6. If relevant for your project, provide monetization details showing the potential of the project to create economic value added for the business
  7. A slideshow of, ideally, 10 slides or fewer which should address at least the following:
    1. Introduction
    2. Team
    3. Problem
    4. Solution
    5. Product
    6. Target Market
    7. Competition
    8. Business Model or key added value & opportunities
    9. Appendix
    10. Contact

As set out in the Middle East, Turkey & Africa GNI Innovation Challenge Terms & Conditions, we require that applicants do not submit any Business Sensitive Information (as defined in the Application Terms and Conditions). Google intends to publicise its activities relating to the GNI Innovation Challenges. As outlined in the Application Terms and Conditions, it is a condition of the application that Google may publicise aggregated data showing how funds have been offered in the GNI Innovation Challenges and certain project-specific information.

What if I want to work in collaboration with others? 答え

Collaborative applications with other industry players are very welcome. You can find more information on how to make a collaborative application in the Middle East, Turkey & Africa GNI Innovation Challenge Terms & Conditions.

申請規約の全文はどこで読めますか? 答え

You can find the Middle East, Turkey & Africa GNI Innovation Challenge Terms & Conditions here.

すべての申請は審査されますか? 答え

Yes, we will review all eligible applications received by the application deadline.

How can I contact the GNI Project Team? 答え

If you would like to contact the team please email meagnichallenge@google.com. We will also be holding an online town hall on March 3 at 1pm GMT with a live presentation and the opportunity to ask questions.

During the assessment process, applicants may be asked to provide additional details about their project, including through interviews and/or the submission of further supporting documents.

How many applications can I submit per round? 答え

Each applicant may only submit one application per round and we will not consider multiple applications in respect of the same project. For organizations that are part of a larger group or holding structure, we are unlikely to fund more than 3 projects per group or holding per application round. Organizations and groups are therefore encouraged to focus their applications on top priority projects.

私が提出した情報はどうなりますか? 答え

A limited number of people from the Project Team and Jury will have access to the responses that applicants provide. They will use the responses to assess the projects.

Application information received by Project Team and Jury will be exclusively used for GNI Challenge operations and processes. Google will only share detailed application information outside the Project Team and Jury with the applicant's permission. Additionally, as described in the Application Terms and Conditions, certain information may be used by Google for publicity purposes.

Please see the Application Terms and Conditions for further details on how we will treat the information that you provide to us. As set out in the Application Terms and Conditions, we require that applicants do not submit to us any Business Sensitive Information. If the applicant has indicated that they wish to be connected to other applicants or industry groups, the Project Team may contact the applicant to offer knowledge sharing opportunities (featuring projects at events, case studies, etc).

Are there spending limitations? 答え

Funding may not be spent on:

Editorial costs and general and overhead costs such as office rental, furniture and travel expenses, costs and expenses connected with registering, protecting, defending or monetising any intellectual property rights you may have (or that you may obtain through registration). This includes payments to any personnel engaged in such activities, or expenses or liabilities incurred before the date on which the parties enter into a Funding Agreement.

Which expenses are eligible? 答え

Eligible expenses include engineering and operations costs (e.g. product development, project management, user experience design, database build and maintenance, and hosting) and marketing expenses. Please note marketing expenses will only be covered up to 20% of the total funding offered. Editorial costs are not eligible. Funding may not be spent on general and overhead costs (eg: office rental, travel costs etc).

Please note that the effective date for the project will be the date that Google countersigns the funding agreement. No expenses incurred before this date can be covered by the funding.

ビジネス上の機密情報や秘密情報とは何ですか? 答え

Business Sensitive Information is confidential information which, if disclosed, would provide your competitors with a competitive advantage over you or would otherwise cause substantial harm to you.

Please see the Application Terms and Conditions for further information on this.

As the owner of your project, you are the best judge on what information is Business Sensitive. However, if you are in any doubt about this then we recommend you seek independent legal advice.

申請への回答はいつありますか? 答え

If your application is shortlisted, you will hear from us about two months after the closure of the application window with any follow up questions we have before communicating our final decision to selected applicants. At that time we will contact you by email and arrange a video meeting to discuss the funding process in greater detail. Unsuccessful applications will be notified, but we can’t provide specific feedback to applicants who have not been selected.

If the project is not selected, can I learn more about why? 答え

Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applications expected, the Project Team is unable to provide personalised feedback on each proposal. That said, we will make ourselves available for general advice in the future and to answer questions about the application process. The email for contact is meagnichallenge@google.com

What is the role of the Project Team? 答え

Initial selection of projects will be done by a Project Team, composed of experienced Google staff, who will review all applications for eligibility, innovation and impact. They’ll pre-select projects and make recommendations for final selection to the Challenge’s Jury.

What is the role of the Jury? 答え

Challenge oversight and final approval will be decided by a Jury comprised of Google staff. They might be joined by experts from the industry.

This group will include Google’s regional and global executives and may be open to experts from the news industry.

Who is part of the Project Team? 答え

The Project Team will consist of internal stakeholders responsible for ensuring and communicating the success of the GNI Innovation Challenge. Team includes, but is not be limited to:

  • Joyce Baz - Head of Communications, MENA
  • Ludovic Blecher - Head of Google News Initiative Innovation
  • Sarah Hartley - Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge
  • Iftach Yair - Strategic Partner Manager, Tel Aviv
  • Amer Alsaleh Strategic Partner Manager, Online Partnerships Group
  • Marwa Morgan - Product Experience Strategist, Google News
  • Harith Mokhlif - Senior Publisher Solutions Consultant
  • Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade - Communications manager, Nigeria
Who is part of the Jury? 答え

Jury is composed of regional and global Google executives. They may be joined by experts from the industry.