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Google News Initiative

Pre-launch Startups Lab Argentina

The GNI Pre-Launch Startups Lab Argentina is a 14-week virtual training program designed by Google, in collaboration with SembraMedia and FOPEA, to promote the creation of innovative media in Argentina with a focus on local and hyperlocal communities or audiences.

20 people will be selected. Resident journalists and entrepreneurs from all over the country may apply, but news desert and semi-desert regions will be prioritized: La Rioja, Santiago del Estero, Formosa, Tucumán, Misiones, San Juan, Jujuy, Salta, La Pampa, Santa Cruz, Catamarca, Chubut, Corrientes and Neuquén.

Selections will be made between February 21 and March 20.

Lab content

The GNI Startups Lab is a program developed by Google that has been carried out in various regions of the world. This new edition is complemented by the training experiences of SembraMedia and the federal presence of FOPEA.

The incubator includes training, mentoring and exchanges with specialists in which knowledge about quality content, audience development, business models and other fundamental topics for the sustainability of a medium will be deepened, in addition to the fulfillment of the journalistic mission within a framework of ethical responsibility.

At the end of the program, participants will have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) ready to be launched.

Since the first edition of the program, more than 50 new media or journalistic startups have emerged. Its founders come from different backgrounds: they are professional journalists, socially committed citizens or entrepreneurs, and since the completion of the training they have begun to change the narrative of reality in their countries.

Information deserts

This new edition focuses on Argentine journalism and is based on the research carried out between 2020 and 2021 by FOPEA and GNI on "news deserts," the name given to areas where there are no media outlets or where those that do exist exhibit extreme dependence on power and there are no conditions to practice local journalism. According to this research, 47.9% of the 560 regions that make up Argentina are news deserts.

Timeline

Call for applications: February 21 - March 20
Selection: March 21 - April 30
Announcement of winners: May 2024
Program: May - August 2024

Topics covered

  • Idea, mission and journalistic ethics
  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
  • Branding
  • Audience
  • Quality journalistic content
  • Finance
  • Leadership
  • Lightning presentation (Pitch)

Selection Criteria

The application is free and open. Submitted projects must focus on local and hyperlocal communities or audiences. Priority will be given to journalists or entrepreneurs from desert or information semi-desert areas.

To apply, it is not a requirement to have previous experience as a journalist. All you have to do is demonstrate a passion for the role of journalism in civic life.

A jury of specialists appointed by the program management will analyze the applications. Applicants may be invited to deepen their ideas in personalized interviews.

FAQ

  • The selection will be carried out by a team of representatives from Google, FOPEA and SembraMedia. All applications will be reviewed with the goal of consolidating a group that can work and learn collectively to achieve the program's objectives.

    SembraMedia, FOPEA and/or Google may request additional information by email regarding the applications. Pre-selected people may be called for personal interviews to add information about their project.

    All people who apply will be notified of the selection decisions by email and those who are selected must sign a participation agreement with SembraMedia, FOPEA and Google.

  • You may apply until Wednesday, March 20 at 11:59 p.m., Argentina time, and you must do so by completing the application form on this page. You must provide relevant information about your idea or project and accept Google's privacy policy. Completing the form could take you 20 to 30 minutes.

    • Projects focused on the dissemination of local, hyperlocal news and civic information.
    • Projects focused on a single topic not limited geographically.
    • Projects that have not yet been released or have been published for less than six months.
    • Content projects in podcast format, newsletter, event series, application, videos or a website.
    • Projects whose main users are journalists, traditional publications seeking to make the transition to digital, or applications that are based on existing content will not be accepted.
  • Journalists and entrepreneurs from all over the country may apply.

    The jury will prioritize the regions with the largest news deserts and semi-deserts identified by the research carried out in 2021 by FOPEA and Google: La Rioja, Santiago del Estero, Formosa, Tucumán, Misiones, San Juan, Jujuy, Salta, La Pampa, Santa Cruz, Catamarca, Chubut, Corrientes and Neuquén.

  • They are areas where there are almost no conditions for the practice of professional journalism, This is restricted or has not managed to develop in a stable way. There may be media and journalists, but they tend to tell what is happening in other areas or are limited to official discourse. These are places where verified local news is lacking or very difficult to access.

    A news semi-desert is an area where there are poor conditions for the practice of professional journalism. There are media and journalists, but the production of local news presents serious difficulties, especially when it comes to the dissemination of information that is sensitive to the quality of local public life.

  • A minimum viable product (MVP) is the version of a product that will only have the features necessary to receive returns that will guide its future development. An MVP serves to corroborate the value of the product for users or help refocus its concept, if necessary. At the end of the program you will have an MVP to test with a real audience.

  • Please write to startupslab-arg@google.com if you have any questions or want more information.

  • You will receive an email from the program management within six weeks of the application deadline (March 20).

  • The Google News Initiative provides tools and resources to help digital news thrive. The GNI works with publishers and journalists to fight misinformation, share resources and build a diverse and innovative news ecosystem.

    Learn more at https://newsinitiative.withgoogle.com/es-mx/

    Sembramedia is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote the success of digital media entrepreneurs so that they can sustain their independence, journalistic quality and positive impact on their communities. Formed by a team of journalists, entrepreneurs, professors and consultants from Latin America, Spain, the United States and Canada, it represents a community of more than 1,000 digital media entrepreneurs.

    Learn more at https://www.sembramedia.org

    FOPEA is a civil society organization dedicated to reflection, dialogue, the promotion of quality journalism and the defense of freedom of expression. He has an unwavering commitment to press freedom in Argentina. Its primary mission is to safeguard and promote an environment in which the media and journalists have the autonomy and protection necessary to report with integrity and without censorship.

    Learn more in https://fopea.org/que-hacemos/

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