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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 159 recipients of our first GNI Innovation Challenges in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East, Turkey & Africa and North America representing 40 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

North America

United States

2020

Summary: The project will prototype automated digital tools for reporters and newsrooms to view source-diversity proportions in real-time/on-demand for both draft stories and published. A CMS plugin will help reporters visualize source-diversity proportions for quotes. A web monitor application will offer the same visualizations at the site level for up to 7,000 US sites. Unlike one-time manual audits, these tools will offer near real-time/on-demand feedback to ease barriers to assessing stories’ representativeness. An analytical framework will be based on a synthesis of journalism ethics vocabularies and design research findings. Santa Clara College will release the tools to early-adopter newsrooms with training.

Solution: Particularly in 2020, newsrooms across the country have made impassioned declarations about their commitments to DEI. But newsrooms are increasingly resource-constrained, which makes manual diversity audits of sourcing and quoting practices impractical. Human audits are valuable, but time-consuming, expensive, and retrospective, usually done annually. Human audits also do not create an everyday ”nudge” factor (a concept from behavioral economics) to affect behavior change. This solution is to offer real-time/on-demand source-diversity proportions visualizations through a dashboard. It will be released as a CMS plugin and web application; it will work for both draft stories in the CMS and published work.

Summary: Newsrooms can know instantly how many page views or unique users they had at any given time. But they don’t have metrics for how many of their published sources were people of color, women, or LGBTQ. You can’t improve upon what you don’t measure. This new tool will empower newsrooms to track representation in their coverage.

Solution: People of color are left out of news coverage. Although there’s no hard numbers to prove it (because no one is counting), just ask anyone living in a majority-minority neighborhood whether they’re reflected in local media. Too often reports from these places only when someone is robbed or killed. In this way the media stretches and amplifies a place’s worst moments until tragedy and dysfunction cloud the whole picture. Next City's "representation tracker" will enable newsrooms to track the diversity of their published sources so they can hold themselves accountable. The tool tallies the number of named sources in coverage and breaks them down by demographics such as race, gender and sexual orientation.

Summary: For the past four and a half years Overture has held fast to the mission / belief that society has not prioritized technology and innovation to create opportunities that benefit humanity. To set an example and provide a framework as to how the application of technology can be used to create an opportunity for all, Overture will be developing a technology platform that will erase boundaries and create a framework that allows for talent to be recognized and for their efforts and for individuals to receive monetary compensation that will allow them to be judged according to their abilities.

Solution: We know that there are talented people all over the world that typically don't have access to opportunities that match their specific talentsand while we have been able to create amazing platforms that connect consumers with the services that they need on demand such as food, transporation and consumer goods; we still have not utilized technology platforms to create connection points between people whom lack the networks and access to capital. Overture will be launching composer flow to help change by bringing innovation and a new found approach to connectivity that will help reshape the technology landscape.

Summary: Creating a comprehensive, inclusive open-sourced style guide and editing resources designed to deliver lasting change. The Vox Media free editorial style guide serves a dual function: It is both a comprehensive resource that helps drive and responds to public discourse, and a training tool designed to teach staff how to keep DE&I issues at top of mind as they work. Outlets from small or local publications to large or national news organizations will have go-to resources that give regularly and nimbly updated information on how to cover a wide range of complex DE&I topics, and offer guidance on how news organizations can adopt or tailor their content to their audiences as needed.

Solution: When news breaks or stories are being told, too many newsrooms are left scrambling, trying to create standards around complex topics while juggling deadlines and their own staff’s implicit biases. The very language, verbal and visual, can keep people disconnected from the rest of the story. Is it possible to catalyze inclusivity and editorial equity in newsrooms for how they see themselves—not separate from, but directly entwined with the larger editorial process?

Summary: The Educational Video Center has a living archive of award-winning documentary films focusing on systemic inequities and structural racism produced over three decades by youth citizen journalists from historically oppressed communities in NYC. New films are continuously produced through ongoing educational programs. EVC’s GNI Innovation Challenge Project is to distribute and license our incomparable youth-produced archive of documentary films and short clips to mainstream media. This will help EVC achieve sustainability and growth, whilst amplifying important stories reported by low-income youth of color that are not being told in local and national media.

Solution: There has been a sharp decline in local news desks in NYC leaving millions without a vital source of local news. This has disadvantaged communities, particularly historically marginalized youth, of an institution essential for exposing systemic injustices and encouraging civic engagement to meet the demands of living in a healthy democracy. Youth voices are underrepresented in mainstream media and important stories are not being told which makes the news media increasingly less valuable to them. To address this EVC will create the first of its kind B2B video licensing platform for mainstream media to acquire youth-produced documentary shorts and clips.

Summary: To counter the prevailing narrative, and to better ensure meeting new audiences where they are, the Texas Observer will implement a community reporting strategy aimed at identifying community issues. It looks to better understand how communities of color engage with and support journalism by meeting the members of those communities where they are, wherever they are, across the state of Texas.

Solution: Why, if there is significant interest in local news on the part of at least two communities of color -- as was demonstrated by a 2019 Pew study -- are those same communities not, generally speaking, following news closely? Is it perhaps because there isn’t enough engagement centered on communities of color that might serve to strengthen those audiences’ participation in local news ecosystems? Creating a wholesome feedback cycle will demonstrate real commitment to communities of color on the part of a news organization, and encouraging direct support by those communities of said news organization via grassroots efforts to collect and analyze data about different communities' specific interests.

Summary: Word in Black is a news collaborative that also focuses on business transformation for the partners (ten of the nation's leading Black publishers). They are focused on proposing solutions to racial inequities in America. Word in Black will launch the following products: a national website (powered by Newspack); a newsletter aimed at 500,000+ subscribers in year one; a contributions portal that will generate $1MM in revenue and more.

Solution: Proposed solutions to racial inequities in America should be led by the Black press, but that isn't happening. Word in Black is creating a national news collaborative that is powered by ten of the leading Black publishers. A national site will feature local stories from the ten markets, with commentary from a national journalist. The group will host virtual town halls, events and more. They'll sell sponsorships, branded content and seek community contributions on a website powered by Wordpress. A newsletter will be created with a goal of 500K subscribers in year one. The Black press, not mainstream media, will be a leader in this space.

Summary: The Houston Defender Network will increase audience engagement and generate revenue by combining its unique relationship with the Black and Hispanic communities, enhancing rich content/coverage and aligning talented journalists. The transformation is built on virtual events, digital programs in a variety of formats, and targeted newsletters. The project includes: a Newspack -powered website creating a flexible, responsive content hub; tools to expand audience reach and deepen engagement with sponsors/advertisers; resources to encourage community engagement through audience participation; and a marketing campaign promoting digital transformation.

Solution: Confronting the declining print industry, the audience shift in information access to digital, the limitations of systemic racism and the challenges of COVID-19, this project opens the doors of opportunity to create a new business model that addresses all of these issues. Houston Defender Network will tackle these challenges by creating new digital products and services that transform the way it connects and engages with stakeholders (audience and advertisers).

Summary: Bloom Labs will collaborate with six newsrooms as part of the Bay Area News Collective to assess the geographic diversity and density of news in California’s San Jose region. The newsrooms will use Bloom’s geotagging tools and location analytics to leverage insights and formulate experiments for underrepresented communities. The resulting solutions will curate stories from all newsrooms on maps and neighborhood feeds that offer more diverse and equitable experiences for readers and businesses. The project will document how collective newsroom strategies influence the perception and value of engagement, subscriptions, and partnerships.

Solution: Traditionally, local newsrooms have communication strategies exclusive from other businesses in the same region, creating blind spots or overlaps in news coverage and accessibility. Consequently, one news service may not serve areas that other newsrooms cover well, causing readers to have inaccurate or competitive local news perceptions. Bloom Labs and six local newsrooms in the San Francisco Bay Area will collaborate in this project to assess problematic patterns in local communities. The project will guide newsrooms to geotag stories, obtain location-based insights, and implement news solutions that leverage its hyperlocal value for readers and businesses.

Summary: Creating a toolkit to help news organizations find and edit or remove archived stories that cause needless harm to the reputations of members of their communities.

Solution: The project is solving a fairness problem. Readers often ask for stories about old criminal arrests or convictions to be removed. Those stories can prevent them from getting jobs or housing, even if courts have expunged their convictions. This project will create a system to scan archives and identify such stories so that human editors can decide whether to change or remove them. This system will aid even citizens who do not request help, and will help the team review more stories more efficiently. It will be shared with the rest of the industry upon completion.

Summary: The Diversity Dashboard uses geo-location tied to local content to provide reporters and editors with data on which communities they’re covering and how they write about them. The data is displayed in a dashboard which includes a map with neighborhood breakdown ranking different topics covered. Census data is incorporated to provide further context of the diversity in each neighborhood. Users can filter results in the dashboard to see content mapped from the entire newsroom, their team or their own content. The goal of the dashboard is to help local newsrooms avoid gaps in coverage and build trust within diverse communities.

Solution: The challenge local newsrooms face is that data on which communities they are covering and how they are covering them does not exist. Reporters and editors can make a best guess at how diverse their coverage is, but they're unable to make an informed strategy based on an assumption. Because of this, newsrooms often don't have a strategy focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion. Diverse communities as a result have a hard time trusting their local news outlets because they don't see themselves represented in their coverage.

Summary: Save the Black Press will be a data access portal, content discovery platform, and resource support model for generating revenue and innovating content at black news organizations. First, by developing a subscription based data access portal which will make public data more accessible and usable, including functionality for querying the data, generating visualizations and building maps; second, by providing resource support to black news organizations e.g. hiring data/investigative journalists, updating organizational websites, and business planning; and third, by developing a subscription based content discovery platform to surface content from black news organizations that is data-informed and visually appealing.

Solution: Black news organizations need to innovate content to grow audiences, increase engagement, and generate new revenue streams, but rich data sources about Black people at the city, county, state, and national level that can serve as a foundation for bold content innovation strategies and more data-informed reporting, are difficult to access and analyze. Save The Black Press will be a collaborative effort to develop a data access portal, a content discovery platform, and a resource support model that will help to innovate and sustain Black news organizations’ revenue and content development strategies.

Summary: “Our America: Hidden Stories,” from the ABC Owned Television Stations (OTV), will illuminate the hidden histories of our cities through a multiplatform, immersive experience that includes video storytelling, a learning curriculum and a proprietary, data journalism-based “Equity Report” tracking progress around key social equity metrics in areas such as education and policing. The project seeks to better understand the formative “groundwater” that has led to systemic racism in our communities and will leverage data and curriculum resources to inspire local citizens to move forward in a more inclusive and equitable way.

Solution: During this time of unrest and calls for increased diversity across all sectors of our society, high-growth demographic groups report a lack of representation and little accountability to correct systemic inequities. Additionally, educational content often fails to accurately illustrate the stories of underrepresented groups. Through a newly-created Equity Report, the ABC Owned Television Stations will gather raw, detailed data to both look back at the root of racism and track progress towards the future. And, through its multiplatform lessons and curricula, the “Our America: Hidden Stories” project will make consumption of this groundbreaking content both engaging and measurable.

Summary: Pass the Mic is a database of expert sources from underrepresented communities that can serve as sources on subjects you’re already reading about in the news. Experts that come from an underrepresented community such as people of color, LGBTQ+ folks, female identifying or non-binary folks and people with disabilities will nominate another expert they wish they’d see being interviewed in the news more often. Nominated experts can input their qualifications and vouch for the qualifications of their nominees to the database so reporters can easily reference an expert voice from an underrepresented community to interview for their next story.

Solution: With Pass the Mic, reporters can search for sources by expertise, going beyond asking “who did we talk to last time?” by accessing a wide catalogue of new faces and names to choose from, all nominated for their expertise on a variety of topics, which would be vetted, categorized and contextualized for reporters to have at their fingertips. This solves a few problems. First, sources are often not reflective of the communities that journalists serve. Second, reporters often turn to their own social circles when sourcing. Third, underrepresented groups have often found reasons to distrust media institutions, especially legacy organizations.

Summary: The Integration of our Broadcast News Operation with digital platforms would provide for a streamlined “One Kuam” approach in which quality content and journalism shifts from broadcast-led to a limited audience, to digital, cloud-based and accessible across the local, regional and global community. This digital overhaul redefines “mass media” by breaking down barriers and limitations.

Solution: Local broadcast media faces a great challenge with the growing prevalence of digital and social media. Digital platforms provide more access to larger audiences, more convenience with on-demand options, and the opportunity for viewers to customize news and information that is pertinent to them. Creating a seamless digitally-led product expands the amount of news and information and ends an antiquated analog operation.

Summary: Creation of a website which will allow for Low Power FM radio stations to syndicate and exchange programming. This will also aid station funding in mutual fashion through any combination of direct purchase, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding.

Solution: LPFM stations face difficulties in paying bills via securing underwriters, often struggle to find new audiences and rarely share programming of interest. This website will streamline the obvious resolution of all of these problems at once and greatly aid in the diversification of American radio programming.

Summary: NAHP, NNPA and AAN will explore technologies and content opportunities to build a membership network with and between the three national media associations, and with the members within each association, touching more than 500 local media publishers in the U.S. This partnership will endeavour to leverage demonstrated high levels of collaboration and knowledge sharing between members, allowing independent, local publishers to build more direct outreach to their existing audiences and grow readership throughout the United States and globally. Initial goals include: facilitating advancement and learning among publishers, promoting memberships, and elevating specific content verticals that raise audience and improve ad targeting.

Solution: Long-brewing demographic shifts and societal stress (COVID, social justice, workforce development, climate) have brought issues of diversity to a tipping point in the common consciousness, not only reflected in corporate commitments to DEI, but also in public stands for justice. Diverse news consumers demand deeper coverage; majority consumers look to understand diversity better. As local revenue bases are challenging for members, NNPA and NAHP have seen a significant increase in the long growing interest from national brands, opening new opportunities. While print advertising remains a significant source of revenue, new digital offerings from emails and updated websites, to network efforts represent a big growth opportunity.

Summary: The Lenfest Institute’s Lenfest Local Lab, the Brown Institute, and The Philadelphia Inquirer are collaborating to develop a suite of machine learning tools that empower local newsrooms to make data-informed assessments of coverage that strengthen and accelerate DEI best practices. The tools will help newsrooms survey broad sets of content, including analysis of language, imagery, locations and sources mentioned in coverage. These tools will expand the scope and reduce the time it takes to perform content audits, allowing newsrooms to continuously monitor coverage. The tools will also support strategic planning and business modeling for more representative and equitable news organizations.

Solution: News organizations can struggle to offer fair coverage when they don’t have the capacity to assess their coverage of local communities. Existing methods for detecting underrepresentation, misrepresentation, or underreporting are expensive, time-consuming, and rely on small data sets. The collaboration seeks to accelerate DEI best practices through an open-source suite of machine learning tools that allows newsrooms to better understand how communities are portrayed. The tools examine how editorial and product decisions manifest themselves in language, locations covered, and story placement. These tools can shed light on disparities in coverage measured relative to demographic benchmarks, and offer insights into product opportunities.

Summary: Joliet Focus is an app that will function as a locally-driven platform to share content from the underserved Black community of Joliet. With a focus on easy uploading and sharing, we will encourage a user-generated discussion through photos, stories and videos that will amplify previously underserved voices in the community and foster meaningful discussion and viewpoints on what makes Joliet a positive community to live in, what can be improved, and what’s next. Promotion of the app will center around a local pop-up art gallery in downtown Joliet which will showcase photo submissions from the community.

Solution: The Herald-News, serving the greater Joliet market, needs to be essential to the entire community, specifically the Black community, which is underserved. This project will make that happen through strong community engagement with the app and through monthly community meetings with social service agencies, schools, the city and others seeking to better connect with their neighbors.

Summary: A new project from nonprofits Amplify Utah and The Salt Lake Tribune, in collaboration with Salt Lake Community College, adds diverse perspectives to local news through student journalism. A reimagined curriculum focuses on critical issues facing Utah communities and delivers stories to a free repository, providing sources for growing media engagement. This project will model how community college students and journalists can bring multi-dimensional points-of-view to local news organizations and provide a source of growing readership and revenue.

Solution: A challenge facing traditional media organizations is decreasing news literacy and engagement. While all ages consume news in new ways, today's students have grown up on a steady diet of social media and disparagement of the press. The futures of both our democracy and The Tribune depend, in part, on the informed engagement of young people. This project taps into the diverse student body at SLCC and amplifies their voices (and those of their communities) through student reporting and journalism, while also offering new content and revenue opportunities for local media.

Summary: Engagement has become central to newsroom strategy, yet hasn’t been realized as a viable business model. Through applying Machine Learning and classification AI to first party audience engagement data, Hearken can transform insights into editorial value for the public and financial value for newsrooms.

This project will:

  • Incentivize newsrooms to pay more and closer attention to engagement
  • Directly tie coverage decisions to listening to the public
  • Help them be more relevant and worthy of financial support
  • Save time and money through efficiently responding to and providing new content for novel information needs
  • Identify trends and actionable insights that would otherwise go unnoticed

Solution: In this era of compounded uncertainty and complexity, the public's information needs have never been higher. At the same time, newsrooms have never been less able to meet the demand due to shrinking resources and lack of trust and public support. The more people feel heard, the more that they see a newsroom is serving them directly, the more likely they are to trust and pay for that newsrooms’ services. By centering the needs of the public in their content strategy, newsrooms transform editorial staff from the Loss part of the P&L to the Profit side. Hearken’s tech solutions helps newsrooms simultaneously translate audience insight into lead generation for original stories and for new subscribers.

Summary: The 'Simply No Words' project harnesses the power of animation to reach underrepresented audiences without reliance on words. Ripple Effect Images will establish a collaborative model that facilitates the production and distribution of animated campaigns targeting timely public information themes, such as preventing the spread of COVID-19, voter registration, or how to prepare for a hurricane. The project will generate high-quality animated content that can be shared, repurposed and edited to meet the needs of local news organizations committed to inclusion through the provision of accurate and accessible information to underserved audiences.

Solution: Despite unprecedented digital connectivity, vital information frequently does not reach those who need it most. Literacy and language skills remain a barrier for millions of Americans who struggle to access critical advice on themes including health, emergency response, and essential services. Ripple’s animation campaigns communicate across languages and to those unable to read. By scaling up this innovative approach and establishing an animation center of excellence for regional media outlets, this project will bring economies of scale in service journalism, for local news organizations seeking relevant content that reaches a significantly wider audience.

Summary: The Washington Informer and the Center for Public Integrity will develop a sponsored email product that provides updated information about gentrification in Southeast Washington, D.C. The information will be based on a data analysis of public records about property loss due to back taxes in two key predominantly Black wards facing gentrification pressure. The email product will also include news about redevelopment efforts in the area.

Solution: The goal is to bring awareness to an issue that is transforming the face of one of the last historically Black areas of the capital, while also addressing the loss of intergenerational Black wealth as properties are lost to back taxes. The project will be a definitive source of information about gentrification, providing a vital service to longtime residents of the area. It is also a scalable model for building digital products that serve Black residents in cities in which displacement is a significant issue, while producing news about a critical issue in historically Black communities.

Summary: MediaNews Group aims to expand access to essential journalism by offering discounts to enrolled college students and creating a token-based system of access to allow libraries, school districts, universities, philanthropic donors and generous individuals to underwrite access for disadvantaged groups.

Solution: Reversing revenue declines means tightening the paywall with fewer free articles and higher prices, which reduces access to essential journalism. Launching verified student discounts and creating a donation portal for institutions to underwrite tokenized access for disadvantaged groups, creates a long-term, sustainable model that funds journalism and keeps local communities informed.

Summary: Al Día is an SMS system that will allow readers in two of the most densely populated Spanish speaking, Latino, immigrant areas in Louisiana to receive instant messages on local/national breaking news, stories, events, and services in Spanish; with the ability to ask questions and get responses.

Solution: The importance of local news in Spanish often does not align with how easily the Latino Immigrant can find it and understand it. Jambalaya Deportiva Corporation’s audience accesses Facebook at significantly higher rates based on our analytics than any other internet/social platform; thus, it causes local news to gets lost in the user's social Facebook timeline updates. Levelling out the communication field in the state by offering a service for Spanish-speaking Latino immigrants to be well-informed means meeting them where they are.

Summary: People who live in Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta face pervasive health issues, with each area faring far worse than the U.S. average in health indicators and outcomes. Both regions are largely forgotten about in the national conversation, lacking in infrastructure that promotes education and economic growth. Gray plans to create a resource to help people in these geographically connected but demographically diverse regions access health information and resources to improve the quality of life in communities we serve.

Solution: A recent Appalachian Regional Commission study found that region trailed the U.S. average in 33 of 41 health indicators, including 7 of the top 10 that result in death. A CDC study of the Mississippi Delta found similar results, with residents there faring 22% worse than the U.S. average in health outcomes. Gray will develop digitally focused products to provide resources for people who live in those regions to improve their health outlook and will leverage our teams of journalists in both regions to boost the long term outlook for people who live there.

Summary: Today’s Southern LGBTQ communities need a news outlet that celebrates their unique and diverse voices and lived experiences. Qnotescarolinas.org will provide an online platform for LGBTQ Carolinians to amplify the struggles and needs that are often underrepresented in mainstream press. It will be a hub of online engagement with pilot programs in the Charlotte region and Central North Carolina, be community-sourced, community-involved and hyper-local. Focused on digital publication, it will create a place for community forum and reach people where they are despite barriers to news and information, while creating an archived history of LGBTQ people living in the South.

Solution: Many LGBTQ publications have disappeared in the last 20 years due to increasing overhead and decreasing advertising. The niche has not evolved well and few online-based initiatives have focused on the true interests and voices of local communities. There is a need from LGBTQ people to talk about more experiences that cross the lines of sex, race, gender, nationality, and economic identities, and like early queer publications reflect the diversity and urgent needs of marginalized communities. Qnotescarolinas.org will provide an online-first publication and community hub focused on local needs, local voices and a local forum.

Summary: This project marries local data and engagement to better serve the community through the creation of a data vault. Newsday/nextLI will reach underserved audiences, create a renewable revenue stream and create a playbook to share with other news organizations. Newsday/nextLI’s extensive data assets range from Census data to mapping to original surveys, building a high-level schema that allows different datasets to exist in relation to each other. Through a new messaging platform, community members can access the data, experts and tools to advocate for their needs. For clients, Newsday/nextLI will offer tiers of concierge data services for revenue: self-exploration, packaged, total customization.

Solution: Newsday is the primary source of regional and local news for 2.8 million people fragmented across two counties, two cities, 13 towns, 118 villages and 125 school districts. These municipal cutouts undermine traditional efforts to inform readers about the challenges facing their communities, to unearth larger patterns of public policy concerns and to help businesses understand their patrons. The project’s solution is to create a data vault that explores the relationships between datasets affecting communities. The project will free each dataset from its original use in a single news story/investigation to benefit both the audience looking to advocate for policy changes and for business clients.

Summary: Recognizing that legacy local media systems are part of the problem of structural racism in Charlottesville, the Charlottesville Inclusive Media project seeks to build a trusted framework for local news and policy reporting grounded in service to communities that builds trust, transparency, and power in inclusive local media and decision-making systems. The founding partners work together to create community connections, lift up important conversations, empower African American communities and audiences, and build capacity for independent Black media companies and professionals.

Solution: Build shared trust
An extractive mindset treating Black audiences as sources on crime and poverty stories TO a practice that serves communities of color, builds trust, demonstrating solidarity, and increases power through a framework of engagement.

Shape the marketplace
A marketplace where African American-owned media is understaffed, under resourced, and ignored TO one that features strong, sustainable independent Black media companies that influence mainstream media and local decision-making.

Grow civic engagement
A civic system struggling to dismantle structural racism through specific solutions and policies TO one that creates innovative and meaningful policy solutions originating and working with and for the people most impacted.

Summary: The goal of the project is to develop an easy to use database conversion tool that allows journalists to convert data into useful, impactful information without needing an IT department or data scientist

Solution: D.C. Witness gathers data on every homicide in D.C. As the data has grown, the team has looked for ways to integrate the database into the website, providing data visualizations, creating a “data playground” for readers to explore data and find trends themselves. After considerable research the team hasn’t been able to find a database, plugin, or other available method that allows them to do this easily and in a journalist-friendly manner. There are available databases and plugins to create visualizations, but they all suffer the traditional data journalism issue of needing data scientists or high levels of computer knowledge to be leveraged to create journalistic value-added.

2019

Summary: A comprehensive, searchable guide to pre-K through 12 education in North Texas. Education choices are not as limited as they seem, whether within traditional public schools or beyond. This will help parents of all income levels understand what choices they have and empower them to choose what is best for their children.

Solution: We want to help parents of all income levels navigate the increasingly complex landscape of choosing a school and a school district, whether within traditional public school systems or beyond.

Summary: The Salt Lake Tribune will be the first US legacy newspaper to transition to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We are also creating The Utah Journalism Foundation to provide long term support to local journalism. In doing so, we are creating a mechanism to sustain local journalism in perpetuity. Funding from GNI will accelerate our transition by building out a critical and innovative series of tools, policies and procedures. The goal of this project is to create a sustainable business model that can be adapted by other local legacy news organizations in small to mid sized markers.

Solution: Communities across the nation are losing their newspapers, tearing a hole their civic and democratic fabric. We are taking proactive, innovative and swift action to pioneer a new model so that this does not happen in Utah by becoming the first legacy newspaper in the US to transition to a nonprofit organization. By doing so, we are transforming The Salt Lake Tribune to a community institution owned, operated and working for the people of Utah. We are building this model with other communities in mind

Summary: Our goal is to address both the technical and economic challenges of unifying customer and user data for local publishers. The project aims to create a customer data management solution will combine the open source technologies Wordpress and the Apache Unomi CDP. Integrating CDP technology with the Wordpress publishing platform will enable scalable, cost-effective solutions for customer data management for publishers. The integrated Wordpress features and hooks to the CDP will be used to create valuable experiences for readers and new ways for publishers to reach specific audiences.

Solution: Local publishers have poorly integrated sources of customer and user data. Data is often hard to access from proprietary, legacy systems and disconnected databases. Unifying that data is expensive. These costs can compete with our investments in our core product, valued content. At the same time, publishers are challenged to rapidly grow digital subscription revenue through targeted and personalized reader experiences and innovative approaches to marketing. Better managed customer and user data is the key to that growth. This project will address that challenge by leveraging open source technology to build a CDP integration specifically design for local publishers.

Summary: Create a sustainable funding model for community-focused journalism outlets to amplify the needs and stories of historically underserved populations. Detour Detroit will test and quantify the success of hybrid journalist/engager roles to amplify readership, strengthen relationships with readers and grow revenue. We will track how stories, journalists and their engagement work in the community directly impact membership growth and retention. This creates a virtuous cycle of engagement and is a replicable model to reward attentive and responsive reporting. Google’s grant will fund the tech stack and tools to support this program.

Solution: For digital publications, pure audience growth is still the major benchmark of success. These metrics are unsustainable for journalists, toxic for our industry and disruptive for democracy.

We launched Detour because we believed in creating and nurturing direct relationships with readers as a revenue generator for local news producers limited by geography and scale. Now we’re asking, how can local journalists analyze which stories and acts of engagement grow loyalty and revenue? Our project attempts to value local journalists for the distinct and measurable impact they bring to the residents of our city, while giving them a direct financial stake and prioritizing the engagement efforts that are often treated as an afterthought.

Summary: The Medill Spiegel Research Center's Subscriber Engagement Index would be a new tool that would give local news organizations timely, unique, actionable insights about the online behaviors of their digital subscribers. The Index would show participating news organizations what digital subscribers are consuming on local news sites, and what's leading some to churn. This anonymized data would be shared and benchmarked in a wide array of categories so news outlets can measure their performance against their peers. Top-line findings would be shared with the journalism industry and thought leaders globally.

Solution: Many of today's reader metrics support advertising-driven business models. As the industry pivots to an increasing reliance on reader revenue, it's critical that news organizations understand subscriber behaviors. The absence of insight about subscriber behaviors creates an imperfect understanding of what those readers value and what they do. This lack of understanding is compounded by no mechanism to benchmark among peers. The Index will allow news outlets to prioritize strategies around reader retention and address behaviors causing churn.

Summary: We are developing a premium user experience for our most engaged, loyal subscribers that includes an ad-free news website, location-specific content recommendations, improved commenting and engagement tools and exclusive access to live events with our journalists.

Solution: Print circulation and revenue continue to decline a faster rate than digital revenue is growing, even with the addition of a robust digital subscription program. In order to increase our paid digital audience, we must quickly develop a first-class user experience that delivers news and information to our subscribers in creative and innovative ways.

Our solution is to build a premium subscription tier for our most engaged, loyal audiences that doubles down on local news discovery and community building and provides a VIP experience that goes beyond just unlimited online access to our great journalism.

Summary: We propose to build an open source toolkit for conversion and audience tracking that allows news organizations to quickly build an email subscriber base and an effective year-round membership program.

Solution: We aim to solve two problems: 1. Readers who have already subscribed or donated are annoyed by promotions. The Conversion Toolkit will suppress popups for readers who are current members or subscribers. 2. Small, local newsrooms don't have access to free or low-cost tools for evaluating the effectiveness of popup and email subject line messaging. We will create dashboards that enable news organizations to make data-driven, real-time decisions about what messages, tailored to local markets, most effectively convert readers to members and subscribers.

Project 1:

Summary: The GeoReporter project will develop a system to help editors easily source contributors of community content, make assignments and electronically pay those contributors in a streamlined digital experience, helping to cover more events in the local community.

Solution: The platform will enable us to broaden our coverage of community events, providing an easy way for trusted contributors to acquire, submit and be paid for their effort.

Project 2:

Summary: Our project addresses the three major issues facing local newsrooms looking to publish great audio: collection, distribution and monetization. Our toolkit includes a reporter-friendly interface that demystifies when, where and how to collect audio. It allows for quick uploading to a CMS, where the audio is tagged and conditioned to maximize discoverability and make embedding easy.

Solution: Knowing where and when to collect audio is a significant challenge for local newsrooms. Our project creates a front-end, reporter-facing interface that guides the user through the audio collection process and sends to a CMS. Most audio collected today does not include metadata, making it difficult to organize and distribute. Our system will allow for the easy addition of tags and will use semantic analysis to create rich metadata. Monetization is another significant challenge. Local businesses have a high barrier to entry for audio — our system pairs local ads with national programmatic and fills dynamically to meet impression counts.

Summary: The Interactive Story Wall is a way to visualize and explain data-driven stories on broadcast and digital platforms using a touch-screen that helps audiences better understand complex issues.

Solution: Civic health is strongly correlated with informed communities, but the rise of newspaper 'deserts' and loss of newspaper jobs puts many communities at 'information risk.' The Interactive Story Wall will enable local broadcasters to fill that void by making it possible to visualize important but complex stories.

Summary: We aim to expand data journalism from a primarily project-based and text-based activity to a mainstream, daily core of our newsrooms. To do so, we will pilot a systematic and holistic orientation around public data starting with the state of California. Evaluating the full public data ecosystem across the state will give our newsrooms unprecedented ability to extract the most important data points to deliver information in ways that can make a real difference in the lives of local consumers in hundreds of under-covered communities. We will bring the content to life on video through an innovative new “Data Studio and support the creation of hyperlocal digital news products, beginning in California.

Solution: With an increasing amount of publicly available data in our “smart cities,” it is the duty of local journalists to mine that data to discover, investigate and communicate relevant findings. Yet as the amount of public data explodes and becomes more accessible, local news deserts are becoming more prevalent. Through this project, and in service to democracy, we hope to discover and nurture a new business approach to covering community news at scale by identifying and reporting on important, need-to-know information hiding in public data.

Summary: The Membership for Broadcast Project will demonstrate that local broadcasters can develop their relationship with their digital audience into a sustainable business model that offsets expected declines in retransmission and advertising dollars. It’s a crucial lesson for local broadcasters who need to act now while they still have the resources, audience and clout to build new businesses. Local newspaper- companies waited too long and now face steep declines not only in revenue, but influence and impact. Broadcasters have time to build an audience-based revenue model through user funnels, which will allow them to maintain their leading role in local news.

Solution: Local broadcasters need to act now to secure our future as a critical news source in our communities. Retransmission fees have propped up our business model, but with forecasted declines ahead, and shifting ad dollars, we need to diversify revenue while we still have the opportunity.

With that in mind, we intend to build “Freemium-to-paid” membership programs for our local TV stations to diversify revenue and deepen audience engagement. Membership programs will move to the center of television’s strategy and become the driving force to build revenue and grow audiences everywhere.

Summary: #ThisIsTucson — a digital vertical of the Arizona Daily Star that serves more than 200,000 engaged local residents a month — will test, launch and manage a membership program to demonstrate a new, sustainable revenue stream for local news.

Solution: Local journalism needs a diversified revenue strategy to support the important work of covering our communities. With disruption in print and digital advertising and shrinking subscriptions, local news is caught in the middle of massive changes in the way people get and pay for information.

This grant will allow the Arizona Daily Star to test, launch and manage a local membership program for #ThisIsTucson, proving that a membership revenue model, more often seen in the non-profit news world, is viable in a midsize news market at a legacy newspaper.

Summary: BackerTap gives news organizations' most passionate readers the inside story by letting them sign up for exclusive documents, analysis, and other bonus materials that go beyond the headlines. It will also harness the enthusiasm for journalism that makes a difference, making it a more rewarding experience to donate, subscribe, or help share the stories that matter knowing that support is going directly towards original reporting.

Solution: Paywalls and advertising are generally a one-size-fits-all solution, when the reality is some readers won't be able to get enough of some stories — and are interested in ways to directly offer their support above and beyond a normal subscription or the ad revenue from a single pageview. Meanwhile, local news organizations often have the fewest resources to manage membership programs or invest in technology. BackerTap will make it easy and rewarding for both publications and readers to participate in topic specific membership programs.

Summary: Lookout Local Community Partners Plan employs state-of-the-art tech to connect two big dots in the development of local news media for the 2020s: reader revenue through membership and authentic digital and physical connection with those most involved in civic life. We empower a new level of community connection with our readers and create a flywheel effect, generating journalism-building dollars membership more quickly.

Solution: Membership sales are fundamental to new local news growth. Sold individually, they can work well with considerable effort on the part of the publisher. Augmenting single sales with group sales — through earned, ongoing relationships with civic groups -- will accelerate membership adoption and improve retention.

Summary: We’re going to simplify the development of podcast advertising creative assets to accelerate revenue growth in podcasting. We’ll do this by building a platform for purchasing podcast ad impressions and utilizing Google’s natural language processing & AI to automate the production of advertising creative for podcasts. Local, regional, and national businesses and their agencies will be able to easily create podcast specific creative and place targeted ad buys to local podcast audiences.

Solution: Most advertisers have radio creative though research shows that announcer read podcast ads are preferred by listeners and more effective for advertisers. At the same time, it's difficult for local advertisers to buy podcast advertising with scale. We'll build the tools to enable advertisers, business owners, and agencies, to easily upload copy points to instantly create an announcer read ad using natural language processing then place a targeted ad to reach podcast listeners in local and national podcasts.

Summary: WBUR, Boston’s NPR News Station, will embark on a project aimed at enabling public radio listeners to interact and transact with live local news content, using their voice, while driving their car. By partnering with emerging tech mobile developers, WBUR’s BizLab – an innovation lab developing and testing new models of support for public radio – will extend the listening experience of its existing WBUR Listen app to enable donations, transactions, and paid sponsorship within the context of listening to the station’s live broadcast.

Solution: The convergence of on-demand audio, voice-enabled speakers, and connected cars poses a significant disruption to the current public radio revenue models, which rely upon on-air pledge drives and corporate underwriting. WBUR will create voice-enabled mobile experiences that support transactions within a connected car, for the first time connecting the experience of listening in your car to interacting and transacting directly with your public radio station. To do this, WBUR will extend its mobile app to include prompts to take action related to the live audio content, laying the groundwork for frictionless donations and purchases as well as alternative sponsorship models.

Summary: The Voice Brief Tool streamlines the creation of a human curated and read news brief for use on audio assistants and streaming platforms.

Solution: Many medium to small newsrooms don’t have the staff, expertise or equipment to create and record news scripts that are suited for audio.

The Voice Brief Tool makes it easy to summarize stories for voice delivery and with built in recording capabilities a human read audio news brief can quickly be created and distributed.

Summary: NABUR will establish a responsible, curated neighborhood social media platform for communities served by Wick newspapers that encourages geographic connections through healthy discourse, cultivating relevant story ideas, and periodically bringing members together in real life (IRL) for events and discussions.

Through our Arizona (Tucson, Ariz.) and Midwestern (Fergus Falls, Minn.) pilot program bureaus, four journalism product managers will coordinate discussions, conduct experiments in news coverage, and organize events across six communities. The neighborhood platform will provide support for our journalism and community outreach efforts, not serve as a replacement for them.

Solution: As documented through recent research and news coverage - as well as our own pilot usability testing - social media platforms are generating more questions than answers, and the technology companies behind them have not been successful in generating trusting relationships.

By allowing trained journalists to lead the platform and technology decisions, we will ensure the values of trust, accountability, and accuracy are leading the conversation, and not being limited by the platform features.

Social media focuses purely on the “who,” “what,” “where,” and “when” of journalism. We intend to demonstrate the value of addressing the “why” and the “how.”

Summary: Community News Connect is a collaborative local news platform that allows residents to partner with newsrooms to strengthen news coverage and amplify diverse voices. Community members would request coverage. Participating newsrooms would accept those requests, choosing to report on them individually or collaborate with other newsrooms. If newsrooms have interest in a topic but not the capacity to cover it, they could request micro-funding assistance from residents or community organizations. The platform would give local newsrooms a much-needed tool for tracking how well they are addressing the needs of segments of the community.

Solution: People of color and other underserved communities have long felt ignored or misportrayed by the media. The crisis in local news (as many newsrooms shut down or cut back staffing) has only exacerbated this problem. Dwindling resources and struggling business models have widened the gap between local news needs and media companies’ ability to address them. The project will give residents access to journalists and the reporting process, helping them drive coverage and building trust. It also will provide journalists with access to sources and ideas beyond their normal reach, thus improving their reporting and having more impact on issues.

Summary: Three nonprofit news organizations will join forces to use innovative technology and research techniques to discover the information needs of residents of the poorest neighborhoods in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, investigate their most pressing issues and deliver accountability journalism to the residents, as well as the broader public and policymakers across the nation.

News414 will draw upon the expertise of Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, based at Marquette University with deep roots in the city’s underserved neighborhoods; Outlier Media, which aims to fill information gaps and increase accountability; and Wisconsin Watch, which holds power to account and distributes its content for free to hundreds of news organizations nationwide.

Solution: News414 seeks to engage residents of underserved Milwaukee neighborhoods in interactive public service journalism. It will equip residents with information they need to advocate for a better quality of life from their government and elected officials, and to better navigate the existing system. The information — both “news you can use” and in-depth pieces exploring the causes of problems plaguing these neighborhoods — will be texted directly to residents' cell phones for free. Subscribers to the texting service will become crucial sources of news tips and on-the-ground information. It is expected that easy access to relevant news through text messaging will create a better informed and more engaged community.

Summary: ITVS will help local public media stations use a new feedback platform to better serve, engage, and gain support from communities of color. Starting with five stations that are collaborating with ITVS on local content and civic participation strategies centered on criminal justice issues. ITVS will test and develop a model with the potential for national scale, serving public media’s diversity mission and local stations’ need to expand their revenue bases through increased membership.

Solution: Communities of color struggle to connect to local public media stations for varying reasons: lack of newsroom representation; lack of compelling, resonant, unbiased content; outsider engagement and marketing strategies. As a result, stations miss opportunities to serve viewers, win audiences, or/and earn financial support through new memberships.

Summary: La Noticia Audience Portal, is a pay-for-service model celebrations portal for user-generated content. This portal will allow Latino families to share with the broader community, beautiful pictures and descriptions of family life celebrations such as: Births, Baptism, Weddings, Quinceañeras and Community celebrations.

Solution: Challenge:

  • Due to revenue decline, local newspapers no longer can give Latino families an opportunity to share family celebrations and community events for free.
  • Our readers love to share family celebrations with the broader community. However, they now have fewer local options to do this.

Solution: La Noticia, with its avid, statewide audience of 30,000 unique readers a month is well-positioned to offer the solution to these families by providing them with La Noticia Audience Portal, where they can now continue to share their family celebrations for a small fee.

Summary: In the past few years, thousands of big cities, small towns and counties across America have started streaming video of public meetings online. But for the average citizen, keeping track of these meetings remains time-consuming and difficult. The Michigan Radio Public Meeting Tracker will make the content of these meetings easier to access. We’ll pull audio from meetings and make it available on podcast feeds and smart speakers, and we’ll use speech-to-text transcription to create a new database of meeting transcripts that newsrooms can use to track issues across communities.

Solution: According to Pew Research, 87% of local news consumers believe government issues are important or interesting. But only 30% say it’s easy to stay informed. As local newsrooms continue to face financial pressures, tracking local government issues will become even more of a challenge.

Our tool will automate the process of generating audio and transcripts from meeting videos posted online. Audiences will be able to access meeting content more conveniently, through podcast feeds and smart speakers. Journalists will have a more efficient way to track what happens in meetings, through a database of transcripts that’s constantly updated.

Summary: Using machine learning, this project will build a predictive analytics tool to help editors determine which of hundreds of staff-written stories are best suited for homepage positions on local news sites. Essentially, it will help us focus our homepage presentation based on the reading habits of our homepage users.

Solution: Homepage audiences have different reading patterns than search engine and social media audiences. The audience is comparatively small but it tends to be made up of local, loyal readers who make the best subscribers. We want to produce better sites for homepage readers by using more powerful tech for analysis and predictions.

Summary: Okayplayer began 20 years ago as a community of messageboard users bonding over similar interests in music, culture and politics. For two decades, we’ve been a publication serving the needs and interests of that community. Okayplayer's Investigative Reporting Platform is the next step in that tradition, a new way of funding quality reporting in places underserved by traditional media. Our model will empower local communities to direct their limited resources at journalism designed to shine light on opaque issues and bring accountability to local institutions.

Solution: Local newspapers across America are closing and rigorous local journalism is being replaced by streams of unverified information spread rapidly via social media. Using crowdfunding and digital tipping technology, Okayplayer's Investigative Reporting Platform will harness the power of online movements for justice and accountability into a funding model that will support a network of investigative journalists embedded in the communities that they cover. We see it as a model that other digital publications can adopt to connect paying audiences to content that matters to them.

Summary: We will design and build a technology platform, with related services, that effectively matches the right journalism-funding entity with the right news organization and project, and ensure successful program execution. Accelerate Local will become the premier source and enabler of journalism funding in North America, and possibly the world in the longer term. This will produce more and better local reporting, which in turn will enable local media organizations to better meet the information needs of the communities they serve.

Solution: Local news organization reporting resources are diminishing, rapidly in some markets. Yet, market research shows that consumers are highly interested and engaged in enterprise reporting, especially investigative reporting.

There is no common platform today that provides an easy-to-use, open process for news organizations to identify potential journalism funding organizations and efficiently apply for them, while also providing funders/grantors with direct, easy access to credentialed news organizations that are top candidates to execute on grants that they are funding.

The Solution: LMA’s News Grant Match-Making Platform, combining our listings databases, matching algorithms, workflow communication and advisory services.

Summary: The Lenfest Local Lab and The Philadelphia Inquirer will create partially-automated newsletters serving targeted Philadelphia-area neighborhoods. The newsletters will include a mix of editorial content, public data, and other automated information that will empower residents to stay informed and connect with their neighbors. The project will also explore new forms of community collaboration and revenue on a neighborhood level. Targeted community newsletters will give local businesses the opportunity to connect with more residents, and also amplify the services and information that community groups already offer on a hyperlocal level.

Solution: It’s challenging for residents to find reliable, consistent and trustworthy sources of community news and information outside of the noisy stream of social media. Our project will leverage automation and partnerships with existing hyperlocal publications and community groups to give neighborhood residents one place to find the information they care about. The newsletters will feature nearby things to do with family and friends, news stories and analysis about the area, local data that ties to neighborhood lifestyle, safety and health, as well as be a place for community members to ask questions and get honest answers about pressing issues.

Summary: Local news is broken. Crosstown is trying to fix it -- through data. We deliver community-level data to the people of Los Angeles who want to make their neighborhoods and city safer, healthier and more connected. Our GNI project will create a specialized news product -- such as a newsletter -- targeted to each neighborhood in Los Angeles.

Solution: We are trying to prove that there is a financially sustainable model for local news that helps residents stay more connected and engaged.

Summary: The Beacon, based in Kansas City, plans to launch in 2020, focusing on in-depth journalism in both Kansas and Missouri. It will be the first of its kind in the region to focus on a nonprofit news membership model outside of public radio/TV. This project will focus on the necessary steps to define and engage our unique audience for long-term sustainability, identify and build relationships with other civic engagement players, and create a forum for discussion of news and engagement with our audience.

Solution: Like local news ecosystems across the U.S., the Midwest has suffered massive cutbacks. Robust audience development around membership is sorely needed to ensure growth and sustainability.

One nonprofit model is a free core product subsidized by membership. Who are members? What makes them engaged? And what is the tipping point for them to pay for journalism?

In addition to identifying audiences and measuring their engagement, we will survey the civic engagement infrastructure in Kansas and Missouri. We will also research a “hub and spoke” model (central news organization based in a larger metro, with correspondents in more rural areas).

Canada

2020

Summary: The Journalism Representation Index (JeRI) uses AI to analyze news stories by weighing power, in-story placement and frequency of the sources in text to deliver an index score to newsrooms and readers. Ryerson University researchers, working with FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership (FPLP), publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press, are developing this journalistic-source-based accountability tool to help FPLP newspapers build trust with their readers and engage new, traditionally underrepresented audiences.

Solution: Trust in journalism is eroding and historically, news reporting favours institutions of power. How do we ensure journalism effectively reflects the voices of citizens and change makers? JeRI underlines structural inequity and generates actionable data to improve news coverage of traditionally marginalized communities. In the face of increasing revenue challenges, JeRI aims to help FPLP grow audiences by engaging new readers. It will shine a light on reporting that is well-sourced and equitably represents marginalized people, re-establishing trust and improving coverage of Indigenous communities and other underrepresented groups.

Summary: The IIJ Data Hub is a secure, user-friendly repository of documents, data, maps, responses to access to information requests and other materials acquired over the course of award-winning national investigations. The hub will serve as a knowledge base for hundreds of member journalists, sharing document catalogues, at-a-glance data visualizations, and other tools, training and best practices. It will also connect to resources provided by industry associations and innovation hubs at universities and colleges nationwide. The public-facing platform will offer researchers, students, and members of the public access to archives from previous investigations.

Solution: The IIJ Data Hub will help us to support local and national news organizations, particularly those serving small markets and minority audiences. These outlets are essential to a functioning democracy, sharing the work of journalists who have deep roots in their communities, yet many don’t have the means to carry out investigative work. This hub will empower reporters to join our regional and national communities of journalists and access our resources.

Summary: The Reader Bridge is designed to help diversify, engage, build and sustain our readership, in large part by delivering stories and potential readers from underserved racialized communities. The Reader Bridge will provide the opportunity for readers to participate in Winnipeg Free Press’ journalism in a direct way; to ask specific questions they need answering, to flag both problems and success in their communities we should be reporting on, to offer perspectives and expertise otherwise lacking in our coverage; and to build a relationship with our organization built on mutual respect so we can be trusted to tell more diverse stories.

Solution: The future depends on growing a more diverse subscriber base that better reflects the increasingly diverse population of Manitoba. The Winnipeg Free Press Reader Bridge is the path to build to get the stories that connect with new audiences to deliver the understanding and the connections that will enable continuation of funding for the independent journalism the city and province demands. The deeper the connection developed with the readership, the more loyal they will be, and the more willing they will be to sustain the digital future.

2019

Summary: The Canadian Press aims to build out a Digital Data Desk to take advantage of two emerging trends in journalism: access to data and the use of AI to create content from that data. D3 will change CP in fundamental, necessary ways. It will update our culture to become fully digital. It will introduce new storytelling tools and a new breed of journalist. It will expand our market beyond the troubled traditional news industry. And it will allow us to operate at scale, generating bespoke solutions for customers that can range from hyperlocal to global.

Solution: The D3 will have a significant impact on the depth and breadth of local news generated in Canada. This comes at a time when smaller newsrooms -- short on both resources and time -- are struggling just to report the basics. A key focus of our data gathering will be public data sets from all levels of government as well as national-level NGOs, research institutes and academia. Using both human and algorithmic analysis, we will find patterns in those data sets, determine what news stories can be told about them, and generate content as a result.

Summary: Earbank News Exchange is helping news broadcasters and journalists to turn their audio assignments and archives into a new source of revenue.

Earbank is creating a marketplace for remote news audio assignments. We’re building tools to help journalists automatically organize their news audio clips and make them searchable on the Internet. We’re also making it possible for broadcasters to earn money by selling licenses for the news soundbites in their archives to audio buyers such as documentary producers, podcasters, and educational publishers.

Solution: Local news broadcasters record hours of valuable news clips and soundbites each day; however, not all of this content is saved for future use, because the broadcasters do not have the resources to archive their audio or the tools to monetize this content.

Earbank is developing a platform that makes it easier for broadcasters and journalists to archive their news audio clips and soundbites, make the content searchable on the Internet, and earn money by selling licenses for these clips to audio buyers such as documentary producers, podcasters, and educational publishers.

Summary: Village Media seeks to trigger a network effect within our community news platform by enabling and encouraging both Readers and Advertisers to connect on a one-to-one and a one-to-many basis with other members of their geographical community of interest.

These User connections enable Village Media to distinguish Readers and Advertisers by status, creating a community network in which members can wear many hats (i.e. concerned citizen, ambitious business owner, passionate volunteer, bargain hunter, local expert, etc.).

Solution: Today, most readers take a predominantly vertical path into and out of a local news site. They come in for a certain type of content, they consume that content, and they share it, comment on it, and/or leave. A tremendous amount of engagement takes place outside the local news sites, in particular, within social networks.

Village Media will create a platform for social interaction between community members within our local news environment. The presence of local businesses within that environment ensures that any growth in User activity will directly impact the local economic base.

Each type of interaction positively impacts revenue and engagement (traffic), and also makes the site more useful, relevant and interesting to the User.

Summary: Project Local Pulse is a digital-only product that combines quality local news with a community hub. In a world in which print news products are in decline, Torstar is looking to develop a sustainable new platform to maximize reader engagement through combining Torstar’s powerful news brands with deep community content. Critical to success is that this be truly local – strengthening the role of the local newspaper as the community's digital gathering place.

Solution: One of the unsolved problems of journalism in 2019 concerns providing quality service for local news in an economically sustainable and scalable manner. While larger, national news sources are seeing success with subscription models, the community news model remains challenging. Project Local Pulse aims to re-invigorate community discourse and showcase the full range of diverse voices and interests in each community. Project Local Pulse will be driven by local people, feature local content and help local businesses reach relevant audiences.