Google News Initiative offering publishers funding for local news projects

Letter to KPA from Ben Shaw, GNI Innovation ChallengesGreetings

I hope that this email finds you well.

I have an update that I hope will be of interest to your members. Applications are still open for the GNI North America Innovation Challenge for funding of up to $200,000 on projects from local news publishers. If you’re already familiar with the Innovation Challenges I wanted to flag from the outset that we’re taking a different approach this time.

We’re looking to support news organisations who want to assess the needs of their diverse communities online and understand how best to communicate the beneficial services they provide. The application window is open until August 26th.

Many publishers see the importance of conducting audience research about their communities, but oftentimes these budgets are reallocated to other pressing concerns. But how can local news publishers create the next generation of news products without knowing what their readers need? We want to encourage local news organizations to further develop and share learnings about their audiences through rigorous research.

Since 2019, Google News Initiative Innovation Challenges have supported 67 projects in Canada and the US with over USD $11 million in funding. We are building on our previous two rounds, which focused on both Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, as well as generating revenue and increasing audience engagement to inspire publishers to better understand their local audiences in order to rethink product and overall strategy.

If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, here are some resources that can help:

If you think that this Innovation Challenge might be interesting to your members, would you help us alert them to the opportunity by including the GNI Innovation Challenge in an upcoming email newsletter or sending a social posting out on our behalf? If so, here is some sample text that may assist:

  • Local news publishers: Here’s a unique opportunity to think about new ways to understand, enhance and serve the needs of your communities. The 3rd North America GNI Innovation Challenge is open until Monday, August 26th at 23:59 Pacific. Visit for more.

Additionally, since we feel like your members are in a great position to benefit from this specific initiative, we are willing to offer a specific, personalized webinar with a member of the project team to talk more in depth about the program and to answer any questions.

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