News Brief: March updates from the Google News Initiative

Training on disinformation in times of elections

In an election year throughout Latin America, we launched a series of journalist trainings on disinformation, data verification and digital tools. In partnership with First Draft, LatamChequea and local partners, we’ll provide training in seven countries: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru and Mexico. Registrations are free and open online.

Evaluating the health of local news ecosystems

We know that accurate, fact-based news and information is critical for individual, community and local government health. We, along with other funders of news in local communities, share a common challenge: how to assess the health of a given local community’s information ecosystem, and measure change over time.

In collaboration with the Knight Foundation and Democracy Fund, we supported Impact Architects to develop a playbook with a simple set of tools to help communities measure their local news industries, and measure them on an ongoing basis. This playbook was put to the test in nine U.S. communities of various sizes, and in March, we released a report with detailed findings from each of these assessments.

Growing news audiences through the Digital Growth Program

As part of the Digital Growth Program, which was designed to help small and medium publishers grow their online business, we launched new audience development resources including short guides, workshops and labs. The resources build on our analytics tool, News Consumer Insights. Workshops are free and available in English in North America and Asia Pacific, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and Indonesian

The program aims to provide news organizations with practical tips and strategies to develop and grow their readers over time by better understanding their readers, using data analytics, establishing clear goals and building an organizational culture centered around audience. So far more than 1300 people have joined our workshops, which will continue throughout April and are also available on-demand. 

Bringing the GNI Startups Lab to North America

We kicked off the North American GNI Startups Lab, a six-month accelerator for 10 early-stage news businesses seeking financial sustainability and growth. The Lab is being run in partnership with LION Publishers, and builds on the work of Startups Lab Brazil, which launched last year. We plan to announce additional regions for future labs over the coming months.

Driving innovation around the world

Building on the €150 million Digital News Innovation Fund, GNI Innovation Challenges have supported more than 150 projects that inject new ideas into the news industry. Last month, we launched the second Innovation Challenge in Latin America in Spanish and Portuguese, focused on building sustainability and diversity. Q&As are available in Spanish and Portuguese, and applications are open until May 3. 

Around the world, we’re learning from former Innovation Challenge recipients who are using their funding to drive innovation in news.