Google has announced it has agreed to provide grants to more than 100 UK newsrooms as the first stage of its fund created to support the media during the Covid-19 crisis.
Throughout the world, Google says it is supporting more than 5,000 small and medium-sized media organisations through the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund.
The digital giant said that in just two weeks it had received more than 12,000 applications from 140 eligible countries, with 90 percent of those applications from newsrooms of less than 26 journalists.
The fund was created by the Google News Initiative with staff volunteering to help out and some 300 people working on it worldwide.
“We reviewed each application against a set of criteria: publications operating locally, serving a specific geographic community and using the money to continue doing so. More than 300 Googlers joined forces to check the submissions and across the world we held dozens of webinars and office hours to answer questions and guide people through the process,” said Google.
“About 50 percent of the applications didn’t meet the publicly established criteria. Reasons varied from not producing core news (i.e., lifestyle or sports news) to employing less than 2 journalists. The goal was to be as inclusive as possible while sticking to the eligibility rules. We still have a small percentage of projects to review but below our teams have provided a snapshot of some of the recipients and how they plan to spend the funding.”
In the UK grants of between £4,000 and £24,000 have been made to newsrooms with hyperlocal publishers Altrincham Today and Rochdale Online being confirmed as the first UK titles to benefit. Jersey radio station Channel 103, which employs three journalists, has also won funding from the initiative which will contribute to the immediate future of news teams, enabling them to preserve staff numbers.
Google says more than 100 publishers across the country have won grants but has not yet revealed the other beneficiaries.
The initiative is aimed at small and medium-sized news organizations producing original news for local communities during the crisis. Applicants must have a digital presence and have been in operation for at least 12 months.
Multiple funding applications from different publications within the same publishing group were permitted.
More information can be found here