Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge 2019 for North America (Up to USD $300,000)

Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge 2019 for North America (Up to USD $300,000)

Deadline: July 15, 2019

Applications are open for the Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge 2019 for North America. The Challenge will focus on creative projects that generate revenue and/or increase audience engagement for local journalism.

As a part of the Google News Initiative’s $300M commitment to help journalism thrive in the digital age, they have launched GNI Innovation Challenges to support projects that drive digital innovation and develop new business models. The GNI will fund a set of projects from around the world that meet specified criteria, with the intent of producing learnings and thought leadership that can be shared with the wider industry.


  • Google will fund selected projects up to USD $300,000 and will finance up to 70% of the total project cost.


  • Open to organizations of every size – digital natives, startups, NGOs, industry organizations, broadcasters, traditional news organizations, freelancers, and sole traders – that aim to produce innovative, original journalism and to enlighten citizens with trustworthy journalistic content, and whose projects focus on encouraging a more sustainable news ecosystem. Unincorporated organizations must be registered in North America (or, if unregistered, have their principal place of business there).
  • Eligible countries are Canada (excluding Quebec), United States and United States Overseas Territories.

Eligible Projects

  • The first North America GNI Innovation Challenge will focus on projects that help build a more sustainable ecosystem for local news in North America through supporting creative projects that generate revenue and/or increase audience engagement for local news. All ideas are welcome, but they are requiring all projects to have clear indicators showing the impact of the project from a user perspective and/or for a business perspective (e.g. audience indicators, business plan when relevant, etc.) Successful projects will also need to be delivered within one year.
  • Projects can be experimental but must be for sites that are already in operation at the time of application and must have measurable, well-defined goals. They encourage you to clearly underline the opportunities of the project by providing clear key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs should have a significant digital component.

Evaluation Criteria

Projects will be evaluated against four main criteria:

  • Impact on the news ecosystem: Projects should demonstrate potential for significant positive impact on the creation of new revenue streams and/or change the way people consume digital news.
  • Innovation: Preferred projects will be innovative (use of technology, business model, new reader engagement approaches, etc.) and transformative for the applicant and for users.
  • Feasibility: Project should demonstrate clear indicators and metrics or even a business plan, when relevant, and set out key risks and mitigation steps.
  • Inspiration: How can the project help news organizations learn from each other? Willingness to share knowledge, open source code and/or contribute to the improvement of the ecosystem overall.


Click here to apply

For more information, visit Google News Initiative.