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Kenyan digital media houses win Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge


The news business has changed dynamically since the arrival of social media platforms. Media houses have been forced to become more innovative for them to continue attracting audiences.

Google is at the heart of the success of modern news channels and hopes to inspire and empower them to do better for the well-being of society.

The company started the Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge to reward outlets promoting diversity, quality and inclusion in the journalism industry.

This year, Google awarded 34 recipients drawn from Africa, the Middle East, Israel & Turkey. Among the recipients are 21 journalists and publishers from 10 countries in Africa.

To power the GNI Innovation Challenge, Google has set aside a $300 million (35.6 billion) commitment to helping journalism thrive in the digital era. The initiative has enabled news innovators to build exciting initiatives that bring in a new shift.

“This year, we sought to broaden our criteria to include digital innovation initiatives that promote goals like reader engagement, new reader income, subscriptions, and disinformation among other things Following a thorough assessment, a round of interviews, and a final jury selection, 34 projects from 17 countries were chosen to receive $3.2 million (Sh380 million) in funding,” said Ludovich Blecher, Head of Innovation, Google News Initiative.

In Kenya Wananchi Reporting by Citizen Digital and Nation Media Group were selected after fulfilling all the set criteria requirements which include the impact on the news ecosystem, equity and inclusion, inspiration, innovation, diversity, and feasibility.

Other winners are Nigeria’s Dubawa, South Africa’s Quote This Woman+, RegionWeek from Burundi and Congo Check from DRC.

“Following a thorough assessment, a round of interviews, and a final jury selection, 34 projects from 17 countries were chosen to receive $3.2 million in funding,” said Blecher

According to Google, this year’s challenge attracted 425 submissions from 42 countries, representing a 27pc increase in total applications

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Simon W Nderitu

Simon is a tech enthusiast who keeps a close eye on emerging technologies, startups and the general business environment. You will often catch him totally immersed and drooling over Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, IoT and just about any other tech that promises to revolutionize the way we live. Send tips to snderitu@techtrendske.co.ke

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