- The Journalism Emergency Fund was launched through the Google News Initiative in April to support local core media outlets.
- The company anticipates spending tens of millions of dollars to ensure the success of the fund in response to media pressures generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The announcement is the latest in previous tech company support of news journalism.
Google recently announced that over 5,300 newsrooms across the world will receive grants from its Journalism Emergency Relief Fund. Outlets chosen are eligible for funding ranging from $5,000 to $30,000, with applications from multi-publication organizations capped at $85,000. Ludovic Blecher, Head of Google News Initiative Innovation, detailed the scheme in a company blog post dated May 28.
Blecher wrote that Google received “more than 12,000 applications from 140 eligible countries, with 90 percent of those applications from newsrooms of less than 26 journalists.” The applications were reviewed against a previously established set of criteria and checked by “more than 300 Googlers”. The aim was to be as inclusive as possible within Google’s own eligibility rules. Blecher noted that 50 percent of the applications didn’t meet the criteria for reasons such as employing less than 2 journalists or not producing core news journalism.
Google recently launched its News Initiative to develop journalism digitally. It developed the fund through it to aid local news publishers worldwide who have been the hardest hit by the pandemic. The company acknowledged the importance of local news as a community service and noted that the very pandemic the media is key to reporting on was hampering its efforts due to the resultant cutbacks, job losses and furloughs the industry has experienced.
By the numbers
Google released an infographic (shown above), tallying the recipients by region. They include North America (1800+ newsrooms funded), Latin America (1050+), Europe, the Middle East and Africa (1550+), and Asia Pacific (800+).
Earlier, both Google and Facebook committed to investing $300M over three years to support journalism. Facebook previously announced that it had committed $100M to support local news publishers and marketers during the pandemic. Twitter, meanwhile, revealed in March that it was distributing $1M evenly between the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Women’s Media Foundation
This year, U.S. news ad revenues have continued to drop, making support from the tech industry majors even more welcome for local news outlets as the industry faces mounting pressures. As noted in our Guardian story this week, digital subscriptions have seen a rise, due in part to rolling coronavirus coverage.