Head of Media Representation, Google News Initiative
The last few years have been challenging for everyone, none more so than marginalized communities.
We recognize this at Google News Initiative. We are committed to equity and push ourselves to include diversity, fairness, and inclusion standards in every program we create and partnership we form.
Given the scale of these challenges and the task ahead, we are announcing our GNI Global News Equity Fund, a multi-million dollar commitment to provide cash awards up to $250,000 to news organizations that are owned by or serve underrepresented communities around the world. These awards are not dilutive, so companies don’t need to give up ownership in exchange for funding. We will provide more details on how to participate in the fund in early 2022.
Without question this is a movement, not a moment. Too often, equity and representation efforts are treated as an afterthought. This funding will allow us to continue the foundational work that we did to create a more representative news industry. We can accelerate the digital transformation of diverse news publishers and drive innovation among underrepresented news organisations. We can also support research that sheds light on key issues facing journalists and communities.
One of our goals at the GNI is to help in the digital transformation of diverse publishers. It’s the reason we partnered with a number of news associations in creating the Ads Transformation Lab to help 28 Black and Latino-owned publications in the U.S. grow their business for a digital future. There are some encouraging early results, with participating publishers experiencing an average of 25% increase in programmatic revenue and a 10% increase in traffic. “The GNI Ad Transformation Lab was an intense education,” says Bethany Lane, Revenue Strategist at QCity Metro in Charlotte, North Carolina. “It has pushed us further down the road toward sustainability.” QCity Metro experienced more than 100% growth in direct sold advertising revenue and average revenue per client, and secured a number of new advertising clients as a result.
Through the GNI’s North America Innovation Challenge, we funded Jambalaya News Lousiana’s project to reach their audiences in a unique and accessible way: creating an SMS alert system that sends parish-specific breaking news, local stories, events and services to the Latino, Spanish-speaking and immigrant community in Louisiana.
We’re also supporting experimental local newsrooms serving communities that have historically gone uncovered. In the U.S, we are coming on board as a financial supporter of Capital B, a Black-led, nonprofit local and national news organization that will launch in Atlanta in early 2022. They aim to publish investigative journalism that is both effective and accurate, as well as combat misinformation.
Understanding the scale of any problem often starts with data. We have partnered up with other organizations to help quantify diversity. A landmark study we supported from Media Diversity Australia looked at broadcast news and found almost 76% of journalists on Australian screens were found to have an Anglo-Celtic background. In Europe, our work with the German NGO Neue Deutsche Medienmacher involved industry-wide research that led to the development of a first of its kind Diversity Guide including best practices and a tool kit on hiring, team culture and reporting for all German newsrooms and broadcasters.
At this moment in time it is important to strengthen leadership across the industry to help address these challenges. In Latin America, we’ve supported the Leadership Incubator, developed by Chicas Poderosas, which provides mentoring that focuses on transformative leadership, redefining collaboration, mental health for leaders, promoting diversity and inclusion in the newsroom, and training to journalists and editors of young local and hyperlocal media founded by women and people who identify as LGBTQI+. To empower a network of women leaders in news organizations across Europe, Middle East and Africa, we created the Women in News Leadership Programme in partnership with INSEAD. Through a carefully planned curriculum, the program will offer a platform to connect, learn and grow.
We recognize that we have a long way to go, and that it starts within our own walls. We are making efforts to be inclusive and make lasting and meaningful changes. Google is a trusted source of information for people who want to find quality information. We will ensure that Google continues to provide a range of trustworthy sources and voices that reflect our diverse world.