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Google News Initiative Innovation challenge invites African applicants

The announcement is seen as key in revolutionalising news distribution.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 5 – Google has announced the launch of the Africa and Middle East Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge, which seeks to fund creative digital projects on news distribution,diversification, and monetization among others.

In a statement, Head of Google News Initiative Innovation Ludovic Blecher says the challenge a key way for news innovators across the world to demonstrate new thinking in the practice of digital journalism and development of new business models.

The Challenge opened on 18 June and is calling on Kenya’s news innovators with ideas around new business models and better ways of reader engagement to send in their applications.

Applications are open until Monday 2 September 2019.

“The challenge gives everyone the opportunity to inject creativity and new ideas and try things they wouldn’t have tried without this approach. We cannot innovate if we stay in silos; we have got to break the silos,” Blecher said.

The GNI is the global umbrella that pulls together everything Google does to help news players in their transition to a digital future.

The company says it is in its effort to help news players in their transition to a digital future, focusing on three pillars – elevating and strengthening quality journalism; evolving business models to drive sustainable growth; and empowering news organizations through technological innovation.

ICT Cabinet Secretary welcomed the move and urged Google and its partners to continue their work in innovating around areas such as future proof, quality journalism,

“I see the news industry in Kenya as an enabler and a benefactor of the digital economy blueprint,” he said.

Mucheru added that mass media can help spur economic development by interrogating and keeping in check public policy, harnessing diverse opinions in governance and funneling public consensus towards progressive change.

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Over the last two years Google has trained more than 4000 journalists across Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa through the Google News Label. So far across Europe, the GNI Innovation Challenge has received over 5,500 applications, and 662 projects selected in 30 countries.


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