Google has selected 22 media innovators to receive $2.1 million in funding through the second Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge for Africa, the Middle East, and Turkey.
Ludovic Blecher, head, GNI said in a statement that GNI is Google’s effort to help news players in their transition to a digital future.
Blecher said that it focuses on three pillars: elevating and strengthening quality journalism, evolving business models to drive sustainable growth and empowering news organisations through technological innovation.
He said that a total of 329 established publishers, online-only players, news startups, publisher consortia and local industry associations applied, from 35 countries across the regions.
Blecher said that it showed the diversity and the appetite for innovation of the news-ecosystem.
The head, GNI said that a rigorous review process, a round of interviews and a jury selection process followed for the final selection of successful recipients.
According to him, the vibrancy of the markets in the 14 countries where the projects were selected could clearly be seen in the vast range of news players, topics and technologies considered.
‘’The applicants’ innovations addressed issues ranging from audience development to virtual reality storytelling and recipients were able to clearly demonstrate their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
“We are excited about the 2021 GNI Innovation Challenge projects and we will be following their progress alongside that of previous recipients.
‘’They are already impacting in the news ecosystem with initiatives that increase reader engagement and make for a more sustainable future for news,’’ he said.
Blecher said that the benefactors included In South Africa Olduvai Pty., an online-only publisher, Naij.com Media Limited owner Legit.ng in Nigeria, Standard Group PLC in Kenya.
Others include were Standard Group PLC in Kenya, the Citizen Bulletin: Zimbabwe Centre for Media and Information, Habari RDC: Habari Streaming is a mobile application in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He said that it also includes 263Chat, Eco-Nai+: Nigeria’s first digital geo-journalism.
The full list of the selected projects for the 2021 GNI Innovation Challenge can be found on the GNI website.