Apply for Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge in North America


Deadline: 15 July 2019

Applicants are invited to apply for the Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenges to support projects that drive digital innovation and develop new business models. The GNI will fund a set of projects from around the world that meet specified criteria, with the intent of producing learnings and thought leadership that can be shared with the wider industry.

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Challenge will focus on creative projects that generate revenue and/or increase audience engagement for local journalism.

Funding Information

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Google will fund selected projects up to USD $300,000 and will finance up to 70% of the total project cost. Special discretion on the total project cap may be considered by The Jury depending on the scale and impact of a very large collaborative application.

Eligible Regions

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Incorporated organizations must be incorporated in one of the eligible countries (see below). Unincorporated organizations must be registered in the North America region (or, if unregistered, have their principal place of business there).

Eligible Countries

Eligibility Criteria

  • The North America GNI Innovation Challenge is open to organizations of every size – digital natives, startups, NGOs, industry organizations, broadcasters, traditional news organizations, freelancers, and sole proprietors – that aim to produce innovative, original journalism and to enlighten citizens with trustworthy journalistic content, and whose projects focus on encouraging a more sustainable news ecosystem.
  • Organizations must be incorporated or based in one of the eligible countries in North America as mentioned above.

Eligible Projects

  • The first North America GNI Innovation Challenge will focus on projects that help build a more sustainable ecosystem for local news in North America through supporting creative projects that generate revenue and/or increase audience engagement for local news. All ideas are welcome, but we are requiring all projects to have clear indicators showing the impact of the project from a user perspective and/or for a business perspective (e.g. audience indicators, business plan when relevant, etc.) Successful projects will also need to be delivered within one year.
  • Projects can be experimental but must be for sites that are already in operation at the time of application and must have measurable, well-defined goals. We encourage you to clearly underline the opportunities of the project by providing clear key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs should have a significant digital component.
  • Projects will be evaluated against four main criteria:
    • Impact on the news ecosystem: Projects should demonstrate potential for significant positive impact on the creation of new revenue streams and/or change the way people consume digital news.
    • Innovation: Preferred projects will be innovative (use of technology, business model, new reader engagement approaches, etc.) and transformative for the applicant and for users.
    • Feasibility: Project should demonstrate clear indicators and metrics or even a business plan, when relevant, and set out key risks and mitigation steps.
    • Inspiration: How can the project help news organizations learn from each other? Willingness to share knowledge, open source code and/or contribute to the improvement of the ecosystem overall.

Ineligible Projects

Projects that would NOT qualify for Innovation Challenge funding include:

  • Projects relating to news coverage only or projects merely translating news content into other languages
  • Upgrades of legacy publishing systems
  • Projects that relate to simply collating or listing data (for example, the publication of job listings or stock exchange data, or the re-publication of newswires articles);
  • Projects on training or education only
  • Projects which do not have any monetization component
  • Projects which do not impact a news organization
  • Projects which reflect research without implementation

How to Apply

Interested applicants can apply online via the given website.

For more information, please visit https://newsinitiative.withgoogle.com/innovation-challenges/how-to-apply/NA

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