As global economy and populace reel under coronavirus, media has an important role to play in these times. More than a 3rd of the global population is under a lockdown, thus making newsrooms even more quintessential in this fight.
And further substantiating the importance of news and media, Google is now announcing the launch of a special fund, targeted at investing in local newsrooms. The tech giant has announced this fund for newsrooms that have been badly hit by the current economic drawdown. The announcement came via a blog post by Google’s VP of News Richard Gingras.
The fund, called Journalism Emergency Relief Fund, will 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. The initiative is covered under the Google News Initiative.
The applications for the fund are now open. Potential beneficiaries will be required to provide details regarding basic information about the firm, overall organization, and how the funds will be spent. The newsrooms need to be at least a year old, with a staff of 2-100 people. Applications will close on Wednesday April 29, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.
The approvals will be handled by “teams of Google staff who have knowledge and experience in digital publishing and journalism” and will be done on a rolling basis. The funding will be exclusively available for newsrooms in the Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and Africa, North America, and Latin America.
Additionally, the tech giant will also be contributing $1 Million towards International Centre for Journalism, which provides resources to support reporters globally, and The Columbia Journalism School’s Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. Google had also earlier committed $6.5 Million to “fact-checking efforts” related to COVID-19.
A similar initiative was also undertaken by Facebook a while back, granting a $100 Million funding for local newsrooms covering the pandemic out of which “$25 million in emergency grant funding for local news through the Facebook Journalism Project, and $75 million in additional marketing spend to move money over to news organizations around the world.” This built on the initial $1 Million grant for 50 local newsrooms across the US and Canada.