The Google Digital News Innovation fund has, to date, funded almost 60 digital journalism projects in the U.K. since its 2015 launch. The projects supported include fact-checking websites as well as local news databases. The fund has also pledged money to similar innovations across Europe.
The founding aim of the Digital News Innovation was to “help journalism thrive in the digital age”. According to The Verge, the main goals of the Digital News Initiative are to “highlight accurate journalism while fighting misinformation, particularly during breaking news events; help news sites continue to grow from a business perspective; and create new tools to help journalists do their jobs.”
News outlets and journalists apply for funds, with applications reviewed at periodic intervals. Examples of funding include the Press Association’s “robot written-story” service Radar, which provides content to local newsrooms across (as profiled in the Digital Journal article “Has this article been written by a robot?“). A second example is The Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s network of local journalists, who work on big data and data journalism pieces.
A further example is the Local News Engine, a U. K. service that sets out to help a journalist/reporter look for newsworthy names, companies and places in newsworthy local data to find story leads to follow up.
Commenting on the new round of investment, head of the Digital News Innovation fund Ludovic Blecher told the Press Gazette: “There are few things more important to society than a free and thriving press. As the digital world evolves, journalists and publishers are facing new opportunities, but also new challenges.”
She also added: “Being given the flexibility and the budget to experiment with news innovation projects can help solve some of these challenges.”