Google Sets Up Emergency Relief Fund to Help Local News Organisations Cope With Economic Fallout of COVID-19

A worker arranges a copy of the Business Daily newspaper, produced by the Nation Media Group, with a picture of Pope Francis on the cover at the printing press plant on the outskirts of Kenya’s capital Nairobi, November 24, 2015. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya – GF20000072438

Google has announced a Journalism emergency relief fund to help local newsrooms across the world to handle the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Google sets up Journalism Emergency Relief Fund

The tech giant did not disclose the size of the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund but said it is part of its Google News Initiative.

This initiative comes after the Google News Initiative announced a $6.5 million fund to support fact-checkers and nonprofits that are working to fight coronavirus-related misinformation.

Google funded the COVID-19 Case Mapper

Newsrooms suffering COVID-19 economic fallout

Local news is a vital resource for keeping people and communities connected especially during this lockdown.

In a blog post, Google explained that news is playing a greater function during this crisis. News organisations report on local lockdowns or shelter at home orders, school and park closures, and data about how COVID-19 is affecting daily life.

Discussions between journalists. Credit: Google News Initiative

However, the crucial role of the news industry is being afflicted with the economic downturn prompted by COVID-19. Many local newsrooms are currently dealing with job cuts, furloughs and cutbacks.

Newsrooms to get thousands of dollars in funds

Speaking on the emergency fund, Google’s VP of News, Richard Gingras said the goal of the programme is to fund thousands of small, medium and local news publishers globally.

The goal is to fund thousands of small, medium and local news publishers globally, through awards ranging from thousands of dollars for small hyper-local newsrooms to tens of thousands for larger newsrooms, with variations per region.

Richard Gingras, Google’s VP of News
Google Sets Up Journalism Emergency Relief Fund to Help Local News Publishers

He added that small newsrooms will receive low thousands of dollars while larger newsrooms will receive tens of thousands of dollars.

Google will also be donating $1 million total to two organizations supporting journalists – the International Center for Journalists and the Columbia Journalism School’s Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.

Social media giant, Facebook has also announced a $100 million fund to support local news organizations in response to the current crisis.

Interested local newsrooms can apply for funding using this link. The application will close at 11:59 pm on April 29, 2020.

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