Google News Initiative searches for news innovators in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa with funding plans of up to $150,000

David Afolayan
The Google News Initiative searches for news innovators in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa with funding plans of up to $150,000.

The Google News Initiative (GNI) today announced the opening of its third Innovation Challenge for innovators in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa. Each of the shortlisted innovative ideas will be eligible for funding of up to $150,000.

The GNI Innovation Challenges give news organisations from all around the world the opportunity to show off new approaches to online journalism, gain a deeper understanding of their audiences, and create new publication business models.

The GNI Innovation Challenge has been ongoing in the region since 2019, with 43 proposals selected from 18 countries in the first two rounds. 

The winners of the Innovation Challenges in 2019 and 2021 responded to a call for ideas that would boost reader engagement and/or explore new business models. Digital membership systems and Arabic language search capabilities were among the suggestions.

“Over the past three years, we’ve seen news providers in the region advance a diverse range of topics from data journalism and new readers revenue models to digital newsroom tools designed to tackle climate change reporting,” said Ludovic Blecher, Head of Google News Initiative Innovation. “The Middle East, Turkey and Africa is a region rich with talent, high potential and opportunities. This year, we’re looking forward to seeing fresh ideas and innovative approaches to big challenges the news ecosystem is facing.”

How to apply

News organisations of all sizes are welcome to apply. The following five criteria will be used to evaluate projects: innovation, influence on the news ecosystem, diversity, equity, and inclusion; inspiration; and practicality. 

Applications must be submitted online through the GNI Innovation Challenge website by Tuesday, April 5 at 23:59 GMT. Applicants must create an explanatory slidedeck as part of the application procedure. 

GNI will be hosting an online town hall on Tuesday, March 8 at 10 a.m. GMT with a live presentation and the opportunity to ask questions.


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