As the Coronavirus continues to take its toll on the media industry, Google News Initiative has announced the creation of a Journalism Emergency Relief Fund to support thousands of small, medium and local news publishers globally.
The funding is open to news organisations 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 Tuesday 14 April, publishers everywhere can apply for funds via a simple application form available at https://newsinitiative.withgoogle.com/journalism-emergency-relief-fund/apply. Applications will close on Wednesday, April 29, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.
“We’ve made this as streamlined as possible to ensure we get help to eligible publishers all over the world. At the end of the process, we’ll announce who has received funding and how publishers are spending the money,” says Richard Gingras, VP, News, Google.
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.
Google did not, however, announce the size of the fund, but it follows the creation of a similar program by Facebook, which pledged $100 million.
Recognising that covering the coronavirus pandemic can take its toll on reporters on the front line, Google.org is giving $1 million collectively to the International Centre for Journalists, which plans to provide immediate resources to support reporters globally, and the Columbia Journalism School’s Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma, which is helping journalists exposed to traumatic events experienced during the crisis.
This news builds on other efforts Google has 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,” Gingras says.