Advancing the long-term sustainability of journalism and publishing
Issues that impact our world, like the global struggle with COVID-19, have highlighted the importance of reliable reporting and trustworthiness of news organizations. But news organizations are facing persistent challenges — from the spread of misinformation to shifting audience habits — as they work to stabilize their businesses and map their futures. That’s why, along with other companies and civic institutions, we’re doing our part to help the news industry succeed.
Through our programs, products and partnerships, Google is one of the world’s largest financial supporters of journalism. Over the past 20 years, we’ve collaborated closely with news partners and provided billions of dollars to support the creation of quality journalism. We launched the Google News Initiative to scale our work with journalists, publishers, and industry leaders to help build a resilient future for news around the globe. Because a more informed world has always been core to Google’s mission.
Building on nearly two decades of partnership with the news industry, we launched the Google News Initiative in 2018 to bring together our efforts across the company to help build a stronger future for news.
To date, the Google News Initiative has supported 7000+ news partners in more than 120 countries and territories through more than $300 million in global funding.
Advancing the practice of quality journalism.
Enabling diverse sources of impactful journalism is critical for a healthy society and core to Google’s mission. One of our primary goals for the Google News Initiative is to support journalists with the tools, training and resources to help them find, verify, and tell engaging stories across the web.
Through both in-person and online sessions, we help journalists develop knowledge and skills in digital journalism across a range of topics and tools. The Google News Initiative Training Center provides free editorial training courses and resources for journalists in 14 languages.
Since launching a global journalist training program through the News Lab in 2015:
Tackling misinformation is a complex challenge that requires coordinated action with a broad range of experts and organizations. We’re working with newsrooms, fact-checkers, civil society organizations, and researchers to help curb misinformation, elevate quality journalism, and support media literacy around the world.
In 2020 and 2021, we committed $9.5 million to support the ecosystem fighting COVID-19 misinformation. Among our initiatives, 11 projects were selected through an open fund to support fact-checking organizations debunking misinformation related to vaccines for their attempts to reach underrepresented audiences, explore new formats for fact checks, and rigorous strategies to measure impact.
While navigating the uncertainty and challenges of the pandemic, it has proven more important than ever for people to access accurate information, and sort facts from fiction. Since the launch of the Google News Initiative, we’ve supported 15+ major media literacy projects around the globe. In addition, we've contributed €25m to the launch of the European Media & Information Fund to support media literacy, fact-checking and efforts to combat misinformation.
The GNI Journalism Emergency Relief Fund was created to sustain essential reporting around the world by delivering emergency funding to local newsrooms during times of pressing need.
During the economic downturn prompted by COVID-19, we offered $39.5 million in funding to 5,600+ newsrooms in 115 countries and territories.
Audiences today have more choice than ever before of where to read, watch and listen to news. To help news organizations around the world experiment with new formats, we launched a $25 million program with YouTube, to help newsrooms develop sustainable video operations, and we’ve given more than $5 million in audio innovation grants.
YouTube Innovation Funding supported publishers across the world on projects to strengthen their online video capabilities, try out new formats for video journalism, and experiment with new business models.
Through YouTube Innovation Funding, German-language news site Stern experimented with a new content format to reach a younger demographic.
Growing audio news audiences requires new capabilities and workflows. To help accelerate this innovation, we provided funding to more than 40 news organizations to support building more audio capabilities for the industry.
We created Web Stories, an engaging format for web publishers and creators, which allow readers to tap through mobile-first full screen experiences. We've seen great success with this content experience, with over 20 million Web Stories published to date.
We help partners respond to changing news consumption habits by experimenting with new approaches to gathering information and storytelling.
Through our data visualization project, we’ve worked with designers around the world to tell stories with data — and make the results open source so they can be reused by journalists and data visualization experts everywhere.
We enlisted the expertise of newsrooms to create Journalist Studio, a suite of research-focused tools that puts our AI, machine-learning, and search technology to work for writers and editors.
The Common Knowledge Project helps local journalists more easily explore, visualize, and share data about important issues in their local communities leveraging public data in their reporting.
JournalismAI is a global initiative that aims to inform media organizations about the potential offered by artificial intelligence-powered technologies. It’s managed in partnership with the journalism think-tank Polis, London School of Economics and Political Science.
Strengthening and evolving publisher business models
The business of news is changing rapidly. We’ve developed products and programs to support publishers of all sizes in their ongoing journey to digital sustainability.
Changing media-consumption habits present constant challenges for publishers as they work to produce relevant stories and reach new audiences, all while keeping pace and maintaining business stability. Our tools are designed to help publishers worldwide in boosting readership and revenue. We have also provided free business training, consulting and implementation support to 7K+ participants.
When the Google News Initiative launched in 2018, we introduced Subscribe with Google, a platform to enable publishers to deepen their relationship with readers by making it easier for readers to subscribe and enjoy their subscription content.
The digital ad ecosystem continues to rapidly evolve, which can present challenges for news publishers - particularly small, local organizations. Our efforts aim to help publishers grow digital ad revenue, whether they’re transitioning from print to digital or experimenting with sophisticated programmatic strategies. In addition to our core advertising products, the GNI helps publishers grow their digital advertising revenue through free online resources, workshops and cohort-based labs focused on strategy and implementation. Other revenue-based GNI labs cover topics such as sponsorships, subscriptions and more.
We’ve teamed up with experts in the industry to provide publishers and entrepreneurs with access to helpful topics around making the business of news more efficient and effective. And with a host of free data tools, we’re helping news orgs make more informed business and editorial decisions, while reaching new and loyal audiences.
We developed News Consumer Insights, Realtime Content Insights and News Tagging Guide to help publishers make data-driven business and editorial decisions.
In Canada, Energetic City participated in the News Consumer Insights Shift Program, a free consultative program where publishers receive actionable recommendations from Google experts to improve their overall performance.
The Google News Initiative Audience Labs bring together small groups of news orgs over several months to address new ways to understand and grow their audiences, leveraging News Consumer Insights tools and support from Google and industry experts.
Partnering with others to create unique, afforable digital systems for small newsrooms.
The Local News Foundry is aimed at increasing digital monetization capabilities of local news publishers in Asia Pacific. We’ve launched programs in 5 countries and engaged over 700 publishers to date. Overall, publishers reported a +86% uplift in their digital ad revenue and +105% increase in monthly traffic year-over-year.
We launched the Google News Initiative Cloud Program in September 2018 to support local, small and medium-sized news organizations globally and help them develop their business and storytelling capabilities through the power of Cloud. Over 200 publishers have used their free G Suite licenses and Google Cloud Program credits to improve security, productivity, cost-savings, and product launches.
We’ve partnered with Automattic and Wordpress to develop Newspack, a fast, secure, low-cost CMS tailor-made to the needs of small newsrooms. So far, we’ve contributed $5.2 million towards the project and platform, which has supported 114 publishers since launch.
Empowering local publications, news startups and digitally-focused publishers explore new ways of doing business.
The Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge is an application-based program open to news organizations of all sizes. Since 2018, we’ve initiated eight regional editions of the Innovation Challenges program, designed to drive innovation in news through over 200 projects in 94 countries. The Innovation Challenge builds on learnings from the DNI Fund in Europe, which awarded over €140.5 million to 660+ digital news projects in 30 countries from 2015 - 2019.
We’ve directly supported 122 news startups through our Startups Labs and Boot Camps. These programs support diverse groups of early-stage journalism entrepreneurs in designing, launching and accelerating sustainable news businesses.
The Local News Experiments Project aims to create sustainable, all-digital news orgs in communities currently underserved by local news. So far, we’ve funded six new digital news outlets with local publishers in the US and UK. We’ve experimented with for profit and non-profit business models across a wide range of different communities and tested product thinking techniques, audience acquisition and monetization strategies, and then shared the findings with the larger industry.
Cultivating a global news community
Bringing others together to tackle the most pressing concerns facing journalism is at the center of the Google News Initiative. That’s why we’re researching and investigating topics critical to the future of the business.
Creating a thriving and representative media for everyone. We champion inclusivity and aim to improve representation in journalism by reflecting diversity, equity, and inclusion principles in Google News Initiative programs. We developed nearly 20 new programs that support underrepresented journalists and advance the digital transformation of diverse news organizations.
We partnered with Chicas Poderosas to launch a leadership program aimed at addressing workplace dynamics in Latin American newsrooms. The program will provide mentoring and training to journalists at local and hyperlocal startups founded by women and people who identify as LGBTTQI+. Participants will work with experts to create a plan to strengthen innovation, collaborative work, diversity and gender perspectives on their teams.
We jointly launched the Diversity Guide for German Media with Neue deutsche Medienmacher*innen (NdM), engaging 80+ newsroom leaders. The 250-page handbook is the first comprehensive handbook for German publishers and broadcasters that aims to provide diversity data, local and international best practices, and resources on team culture, recruiting, and reporting.
We collaborate closely with more than 125 news associations around the world to help drive broad connections and thought leadership across the news industry.
To advance our commitment to news in Argentina, the GNI has partnered with newspaper association ADEPA to launch product and UX improvement programs, collaborate on ADEPA’s Innovation Awards and also sponsor Master in Journalism Innovation scholarships at the Universidad Miguel Hernandez.
We partner with RISJ at Oxford University to co-sponsor the annual Digital News Report, which surfaces insights on digital news consumption in 40+ countries including the US and UK.
We host dozens of live and virtual events each year. From the Google News Initiative Global Summit to our regional and local events, such as working groups and country-level Summits, we provide opportunities for news organizations to connect with each other throughout the year.
With First Draft and the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, we've co-hosted four annual Trusted Media Summits, which bring together industry experts involved in fact-checking and fighting misinformation from across Asia Pacific. In 2021, participants from 33 countries gathered (virtually) in 11 languages to discuss new fact-checking technologies, ways of connecting readers to trustworthy media, and strategies to improve media literacy.
In Europe, we hosted the Fighting Misinformation Online Summit in partnership with the European University Institute and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. The event brought together over 400 academics, policymakers, publishers, and technology companies to find ways to tackle misinformation.
Our engagement with the news industry — via the Google News Initiative and our ongoing product and partnership commitments — has provided enormous insight into the challenges facing journalists and publishers and the needs of the communities they serve. They have also provided direction on where and how we can be most helpful, forging deep relationships with news organizations and civic institutions alike.
We are committed to a long and productive relationship with the global news community as we work together to create a better future for journalism.