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‘Small and medium’ UK publishers urged to bid for Google relief fund

googleGoogle has launched an emergency relief fund to help local newsrooms worldwide – including those in the UK.

The technology firm is offering financial support to “thousands of small, medium and local news publishers globally”.

Interested parties can apply for the funding via Google’s Digital News Initiative for the next two weeks.

The initiative is aimed at small and medium-sized news organizations producing original news for local communities during this time of crisis, and eligible applicants must have a digital presence and have been in operation for at least 12 months.

It is targeted at newsrooms employing between two and 100 full-time employee journalists, although local publishers employing more than 100 FTE journalists can still apply and will be considered subject to Google’s discretion.

Funds will be disbursed in one installment, in US dollars or Euros depending on region.

Funding amounts will range from the low thousands for hyperlocal newsrooms to low tens of thousands for larger newsrooms, with variations per region.

Google vice presdient of news Richard Gingras said: “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.”

You can read all our coronavirus-related stories here.


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  • April 15, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    Expect to see the usual suspects at the front of the queue again.

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  • April 16, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Expect once large regional publishers to declare themselves ‘small to medium sized’ in order to be first in the queue grab the cash.
    Personally I’d rather any financial aid to go to those small and truly independent local publishers who are providing an essential news and information service to those areas deemed no longer worth investing in by groups who’ve pulled out of towns and communities and gone in search of the still elusive digital dollar.
    Some have had more than their fair share of Google’s millions, time now to invest in those who need it and would use it wisely

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  • April 16, 2020 at 10:29 am

    Does Google really think small to medium publishers employ up to 100 in their newsrooms? Surely a cap of say 10-20 would ensure the funding went where its most needed.
    The qualifier that applicants need to have
    “…a digital presence and have been in operation for at least 12 months” precludes many very worthwhile emerging hyper locals who are growing audiences but, at the moment ,can tick neither box.

    A generous and worthy initiative but once again it looks like Google have chosen the wrong companies to partner with.

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  • April 16, 2020 at 11:09 am

    If any publisher can afford to employ anywhere near 100 FTEs in its newsrooms then it’s obviously not a small to medium one.
    I do wonder where Google get their information from before deciding who to give financial support to and how aware they are of the realities of grass roots publishing in the U.K.
    Most hyper local community publishers I’m aware of have 2-3 journalists supported by 1-2 sales people and, if they’re lucky, someone behind the scenes on admin/ office duties.These small businesses are proving invaluable in providing a unique local news service to the communities they work in, relying on local business advertising to keep them afloat.
    All of the large regional groups in the country could slot into any or all of Google’s qualifiers which surely defeats the object of this initiative however the one major aspect they would fail on is to be producing “ original news for local communities “ as much of what is printed in paper or posted online is unoriginal, recycled or copy and pasted public Facebook posts.

    I just hope those small publishers who need the help get the support they need

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  • April 16, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    The T&Cs completely favour what Google calls “ thousands of small, medium and local news publishers globally” but what I’d call “large to very large regional publishers in the United Kingdom”
    Once again it appears those main groups who have mis managed their operations and who always get the hand outs will be receiving even more from this well meaning, but mis directed, relief fund.while those who would benefit from a helping hand to continue providing unique community news are set to lose out yet again.
    It’s all wrong

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  • April 17, 2020 at 9:19 am

    With the news on HTFP today of more privately owned independent weeklies temporarily ceasing production,all of which serve specific areas and communities,surely any available funding should be directed their way.
    These valued publishing businesses need the funding to enable them to carry on their very worthwhile news provision to communities who would otherwise largely be ignored by the big operators, very likely the same operators who gladly grab more funding to prop up publications which are proving to be less essential than they believe them to be.
    In the unlikely event anyone from Google reads these posts and comments I’d urge them to reconsider the qualifying presenters to include the smaller independents, they are and will continue to be the future of regional publishing in this country

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