It is that time of the century when thousands of local newsrooms have been badly hit. Given that they are the most vital source of information broadcasting and journalism, Google News has an initiative in its mind. The company has decided to extend the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund for the aid of local newsrooms.
The economic fallout of this global pandemic is far from being measurable. Yet, big companies and charity organizations are gladly lending their helping hands through several initiatives. One of the hard-hit businesses is that of the news, that too the small and local news publishing agencies. Earlier, Facebook, too, had donated a sum of $ 100 million to support journalism globally.
Under the News wing of Google, the aim is to fund thousands of small, medium and local news publishers globally. The aid shall be reached to these needy publishing houses through donations that may range from a few thousands of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars for bigger newsrooms. As per the losses incurred, the small hyper-local newsrooms will be paid less as compared to their larger counterparts.
Without any doubt, there are going to be variations in this grant sum, which is poised to vary as per region. The applications are now open. Newsrooms and local publishing houses can apply for the sum for immediate help. The scope of this aid is global. The Google VP of News, Richard Gingras, said in a blog post. The application will be open for two weeks and will end at 11:59 pm Pacific time on April 29, 2020.
In the past few weeks, the news industry had to see some of the worst days in its history with job losses, furloughs and economic setbacks as a result of the menace caused by COVID 19. There is a dearth of quality newsrooms that could report the ground reality of the prevailing situations as most are too downtrodden to be operational. It should not be so. After all, journalism is considered the mirror of society!
It only fits that these ailing local publishers get economic help at the earliest. The nature and quantity of these grants have not been disclosed in detail by Google, though.
The Google News Initiative has been an important effort towards supporting journalism. Under this initiative, there was an initial $300 million disbursed in funds. Also, coronavirus related misinformation seems to have gotten the better of people’s wits. It was to this problem that the company had agreed on spending $ 6.5 million previously.
This sum was decided to be granted to support non-profit firms that are operating to fight a disease that is as disastrous to the body as to the mind. Misinformation creates a sense of panic and looming fear. Thus, it is high time that fact-checkers are supported in their endeavours.
In addition to monetary aids, the company has also been supplying tools to these local journalists and publishing houses. Previously, Google announced a tool that helped local journalists to embed customized and current maps of the updated cases of corona affected people in the United States.
A sum of $1 million in total has also been decided to be extended to two organizations helping journalism: the International Center for Journalists and the Columbia Journalism School’s Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.