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Google News Initiative announces 3rd  Innovation Challenge

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Google News Initiative announces 3rd  Innovation Challenge

The Google News Initiative (GNI) on Wednesday announced opening of the third Innovation Challenge for Middle East, Turkey and Africa, with each selected innovation projects eligible for $150,000 in funding.

Ludovic Blecher, Head of Google News Initiative Innovation, said in a statement that Google was looking forward to seeing fresh ideas and innovative approaches to big challenges the news ecosystem was facing.

Blecher said that the GNI Innovation Challenge had been running in the region since 2019 and the first two rounds saw 43 projects selected from 18 countries.

He said that recipients of the 2019 and 2021 Innovation Challenges answered a call for projects which would increase reader engagement and/or explore new business models.

According to him, the ideas ranged from digital membership schemes to Arabic language search tools.

“Over the past three years, we’ve seen news providers in the region advance a diverse range of topics from data journalism and new readers revenue models to digital newsroom tools designed to tackle climate change reporting.

“The Middle East, Turkey and Africa is a region rich with talent, high potential and opportunities; this year, we’re looking forward to seeing fresh ideas and innovative approaches to big challenges the news ecosystem is facing,’’ he said.

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According to him, news providers of all sizes are eligible to apply as projects will be evaluated against five criteria: innovation, impact on news ecosystem, diversity, equity and inclusion; inspiration; and feasibility.

He said that applications must be made online via the GNI Innovation Challenge website and are open until Tuesday, April 5 at 23:59 GMT.

Blecher said that as part of the application process, applicants were required to produce an explanatory slidedeck.

He said that there would be an online town hall on Tuesday, March 8 at 10 a.m. GMT. on https://goo.gle/GNItownhall with a live presentation and the opportunity to ask questions.

The Voice Media Trust (VMT NEWS) reports that GNI Innovation Challenges empower news organisations from around the world that demonstrate new thinking in online journalism to better understand their communities, and to develop new publishing business models.

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