Google has announced a new funding pot for journalists and publishers in Asia-Pacific that will support "fresh approaches to reporting" and "new business models". Selected projects will receive up to $300,000 in funding, and Google will finance up to 70% of the total project cost.
The Asia-Pacific GNI Innovation Challenge is part of the Google News Initiative (GNI), a program Google launched in March this year to support quality journalism around the world by both helping publishers source sustainable income streams and combatting the spread of 'fake news'.
The GNI sees Google work with news organisations in three main ways: training journalists to use products like Google Trends and Fact Check; collaborating with media companies to solve business challenges (the GNI helped the South China Morning Post build a VR project telling the history of Hong Kong, for example); and allowing media outlets to apply for funding for innovative projects.
In the newly launched scheme for Asia, regional publishers will be able to submit proposals for any projects involving ideas that aim to increase revenue from readers, "such as subscriptions, membership programs, contributions and/or new digital products and services", according to Google's release.
These will be assessed by a panel of Google employees and other tech-industry executives, who will look for certain specific criteria that includes "a sharing component" to proposed projects, such as the publishing of any findings.