India’s digital-only news organisation East Mojo and Tamil language publication Minnambalam are among the small and medium local newsrooms around the world that will receive emergency funding from Google ranging from $5,000-$30,000 (approximately Rs 3.7 lakh-Rs 22.7 lakh), the search engine giant announced in May.
To provide help, the Google News Initiative (GNI) in April launched the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund (JERF). As per Ludovic Blecher, Head of Google News Initiative Innovation, the money provided “is being applied in diverse and creative ways, from ensuring basic reporting needs and giving emergency stipends to allow reporters to cover the crisis, to driving audience engagement and generating subscriptions”. Within two weeks of the announcement, Google received more than 12,000 applications. “The massive response gave us the opportunity to understand what ‘local’ means in different parts of the world, and how dynamics ranging from newsroom size to ownership structure can differ depending on the region and the kinds of communities served,” Google said. For instance, the average newsroom size varied from 20 in APAC to eight in N America.
A survey showed under 30 pc of recipients operate some form of a paywall, while less than 18 pc rely on community contributions or memberships to support their journalism.