Google has announced the launch of a global Journalism Emergency Relief Fund to support the production of original journalism for local communities.
Local news organizations can apply for the funds online through midnight on April 29. The fund is part of the Google News Initiative. A $300 million effort designed to strengthen quality journalism and empower newsrooms through technological innovation.
Google VP of News, Richard Gingras said the goal is to fund “thousands of small, medium and local news publishers globally.”
“Local news is a vital resource for keeping people and communities connected in the best of times,” Gingras said in a statement. “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.”
To apply for the fund, organizations must be small or medium-sized and produce original content for local communities during the coronavirus outbreak. Eligibility requirements include having a digital presence, being in operation for at least 12 months and having between 2-100 full-time employees.
News organizations outside the U.S. are also eligible for the funds including more than 20 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.
Gingras also said Google.org will be donating $1 million combined to two organizations supporting journalists, the International Center for Journalists and the Columbia Journalism School’s Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.
The initial selection of proposals will be chosen by Google staff who have knowledge and experience in digital publishing and journalism. Applicants will then be contacted by email and offered funding before being asked to sign a funding agreement with Google.
Google has also using location data to help fight the virus and is offering millions of dollars to help small businesses stay afloat during the outbreak.