TechInAfrica – Google News Initiative (abbreviated as GNI) is Google’s take at collaborating with publishers and journalists alike. Connecting conventional news-writing with cutting-edge technology, it is a modest digital medium that balances the needs of writers and consumers. Presenting new opportunities regarding consumption habits for each individual, GNI has announced their very own Innovation Challenge to help journalism thrive in the digital age.
The initiative was first announced last year, and now is launched in Middle East, Africa, and Turkey. GNI Innovation Challenge serves as a framework for everyone to focus on creative projects and novel ideas. This, in return, would bring out a whole new level for readers and potentially support the development of fresh business concepts.
The application period is now open for those who are interested. Applicants can submit their proposals (in English) until Monday, September 2 at 23:59 GMT—the time Google scheduled that they would close the submission window. Certainly, applicants would have to consent to the terms and conditions.
Additionally, applicants are advised to consult, research and prepare their respective proposals so that it will provide clear indicators showing the project’s prospect and probability to attract potential readers or to fashion various benefits for the business.
Regarding the eligible concepts to be applied within GNI Innovation Challenge, Google does not restrict nor limit any types of ideas. In other words, all ideas are welcome as long as they provide clear indicators and parameters regarding their significance from different points of view, namely user perspective and business perspective. Furthermore, projects can be as experimental as it is innovative. However, referred projects’ goals must be made distinct and understandable by presenting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that’s aligned with appropriate digital components.
After a project has been submitted, Google then assesses them in four main measures.
- Impact on news ecosystem, defines how substantial will the project contribute to the way readers enjoy digital updates and news, as well as the creation of new revenue streams.
- Innovation, defines how innovative the project engages the target users (e.g. virtual reality news, news in audiobooks, etc).
- Feasibility, defines how clear the project foresees its strengths, weaknesses, and risks to concept prevention and mitigation steps.
- Inspiration, defines how the project benefits news organizations to learn from each other, as well as the openness of the project which could potentially be of help for others.
Up to USD $150,000 of selected projects will be funded by Google, and up to 70% of the project cost will also be covered by the search engine giant. Freelancers, sole traders, and even large-scale organizations are welcome to participate in the GNI Innovation Challenge. In addition, their goal is to provide innovative, original, and reliable journalism for citizens, while making a more sustainable news ecosystem in general.
Applications are reviewed and assessed by a combination of the Google Project Team and a Jury. Jury itself might be composed of Google executives—both global and regional—or even experts from the news industry.