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Google launches Global Emergency Fund for local newsrooms

Google yesterday launched a Global Emergency Fund to provide financial assistance to small and medium-sized news organisations producing original reporting on Covid-19.

Google launches Global Emergency Fund for local newsrooms
Richard Gingras: “Local news is a vital resource for keeping people and communities connected.” Photograph: Mitchell Luo on Unsplash

As reported by Mariella Brown on the Society of Editors website:

The fund plans to support thousands of news publishers globally with a specific emphasis on the crucial role of local journalism in keeping communities informed and connected.

The scheme, part of the Google News Initiative, will aim to assist organisations with funding in the “low thousands of dollars” for small hyperlocals to “low tens of thousands” of dollars for larger newsrooms hit by the pandemic.

Google also announced a collective donation of $1M by Google.org to the International Center for Journalists, which provides resources to support reporters worldwide, and Columbia Journalism School’s Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, helping journalists exposed to traumatic events during the crisis.

Announcing the fund, Google’s VP of News Richard Gingras said: “Local news is a vital resource for keeping people and communities connected in the best of times. Today, it plays an even greater function in reporting on local lockdowns or shelter at home orders, school and park closures, and data about how COVID-19 is affecting daily life.

“But that role is being challenged as the news industry deals with job cuts, furloughs and cutbacks as a result of the economic downturn prompted by COVID-19. The Google News Initiative wants to help by launching a Journalism Emergency Relief Fund to deliver urgent aid to thousands of small, medium and local news publishers globally. The funding is open to news organizations producing original news for local communities during this time of crisis, and will range from the low thousands of dollars for small hyper-local newsrooms to low tens of thousands for larger newsrooms, with variations per region.

“Starting today, publishers everywhere can apply for funds via a simple application form. We’ve made this as streamlined as possible to ensure we get help to eligible publishers all over the world. Applications will close on Wednesday April 29, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. At the end of the process, we’ll announce who has received funding and how publishers are spending the money.

“Additionally, we recognize that covering the coronavirus pandemic can take its toll on reporters on the front line. That’s why Google.org is giving $1 million collectively to the International Center for Journalists, which plans to provide immediate resources to support reporters globally, and the Columbia Journalism School’s Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma which is helping journalists exposed to traumatic events experienced during the crisis.

“Today’s news builds on other efforts we’ve made to support the industry and connect people to quality information at this time of need. We believe it is important to do what we can to alleviate the financial pressures on newsrooms, and will continue to look at other ways to help with more to announce soon.”

Applications are open from today (15 April) and will close on 29 April at 11.59pm, Pacific Time.

To find out more about eligibility and how to apply, visit the Google News Initiative website.