Writer : Rashmi Singh
Great journalism requires great resources. Most of the time, revenue generated by a news organization act as a resource. But sometimes, news organizations also need support from patrons to initiate news projects. Google had come forward as a news patron and pledged €150M to support news projects.
Digital News Innovation Fund or DNI Fund was started by Google in 2015. It pledged to give a sum of €150M to various news projects in European countries. So far, the fund has supported more than hundreds of news projects from news organizations of all sizes.
To get the fund, a news organization must be geographically based in Europe. Google has released a list of eligible countries – the organization must be incorporated in one of those countries.
News organizations that are not incorporated can also apply for receiving the fund. To apply, they must at least be registered in the region or their main base of publication must be in that region. The eligibility criteria for applying for the fund are quite flexible. This is why hundreds of news organizations have already received the fund.
At its core, GNI Fund is made to encourage innovation in the news industry through the help of technology. No matter what the idea of a news project is, Google is welcoming every news project. If there is a clear impact on either readers or publishers due to the project, DNI Fund considers funding it.
Here is a list of some areas that are the priority of the DNI fund:
Building new methods to boost reader engagement or revenue
Fighting fake news
Building readers’ trust in Journalism
Improving workflow efficiency with the help of tech
With information coming into the digital space at an enormous rate, it has become hard for journalists to filter out signal from noise and catch the real stories. Misinformation fills the gap when trusted institutions fail to break news right away.
Rheinische Post, a news publisher from Germany, has built a trend Recognition tool. The tool can detect topics in various categories and measure their social impact. It is helping journalists to build stories new stories in a few hours or days with a high probability of getting shared by people.
Creating Sustainable Business Models
Direct engagement between readers and publishers is the future of journalism. Denník N, a news publisher from Slovakia, understands this and hence it has created an open software and subscription platform called REMP with the help of Google’s DNI fund.
REMP (Readers’ Engagement and Monetisation Platform) helps journalists connect with their readers and understand their likes and dislikes in terms of content. This knowledge is crucial for news organizations to determine the type and quality of content that their readers are ready to pay for.
Raising Local Stories To A National Level
Bureau Local calls itself a ‘people-powered network’ as it is an organization with an agenda to build stories from the ground up. To this day, it has worked with thousands of people across the UK to bring out collaborative news.
Not just journalists, Bureau Local is also bringing non-traditional yet important agents such as hyperlocal bloggers and civic-minded citizens to the forefront of national news. Thanks to DNI Fund and other patrons, Bureau Local has got many awards including the British Journalism Awards (2017) and the European Press Prize (2018).
A €150M fund is big enough to make real changes in the news ecosystem. But news organizations can not rely solely on funding to sustain their business. They need to build multiple sources of revenue.
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