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Regional and hyperlocal publishers win Google cash for news projects

Steven ThomasRegional and hyperlocal publishers have won grants from a multi-million pound fund aimed at creating news-related innovations.

Google has announced the fourth round of funding from its Digital News Initiative, which helps projects from across 26 European countries to get off the ground.

Caerphilly Media Ltd, which publishes the Caerphilly Observer, has won funding to develop a tool which will arrange data from electronic court lists to allow to journalists to cover hearings relevant to their patches more effectively.

The Belfast-based Irish News will use cash it was awarded on a project to maintain a public record of statements made by public figures, allowing readers to explore the relationship between what a politician says and what happens as a result.

Archant will use funding it received for a scheme to make its archived content dating back to 1870 available online to a “broad audience,” while Johnston Press has been awarded a six-figure investment in two schemes.

One is aimed at “mooding” – which aims to gain greater insights into readers’ content preferences, purchasing decisions and brand relevance – while the other will explore a location-based offers service.

Steven Thomas, pictured, director of emerging products at Johnston Press, said: “We’re delighted to receive the support for these projects from Google.

“With it, Johnston Press has the opportunity to take a another positive step forward in making the most of the data, content and product challenges media owners like ourselves face.”

Jeff Henry, Archant chief executive, said: “This is an extremely exciting project for Archant, allowing us to celebrate and realise the value of our rich history, while reinforcing our commitment to innovation and progress.

“Installing the ability to apply natural language understanding to our content and enabling readers to access and query our content via voice promises a very exciting digital future for us.”