Google News Initiative – Now for the APAC Journalism Landscape

The initiative comes at a time when the search giant could withdraw its services if the EU’s ‘Link Tax is implemented

Expanding its efforts to ‘build a stronger future for journalism’, Google News launched its new innovation Google News Initiative to help journalists and publishers in Asia-Pacific (APAC), to thrive rather successfully in a day and age—overshadowed by news, packaged in digital formats. The Asia-Pacific Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge will essay fresh new reporting models for the publishers and scribes, will also understanding their challenges faced by Asian newsrooms.

An Initiative to Address ‘Quality Journalism in Digital Age’ Concerns

An initiative that started in Europe in 2015, is designed to help media organization—having the requisite potential—by providing grants in the form of cash without equity. Under the initiative, Google also hopes to work with publishers and media persons to combat fake news—providing news partners with cutting-edge tools.

The Asia-Pacific Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge will grant funds up to $300,000 to selected projects, further aimed at developing new and innovative business models and revenue streams. The initiative will also finance up to 70 percent of the total project cost. As per a statement by Google News, the news search-giant is in the process of accepting proposals for the projects based on the revenue-increasing business models—including, membership programs, subscriptions, contributions, and new-age digital offerings- services and products.

Concerned over questions pertaining to quality journalism thriving in the digital age, successful publishers and media organizations will start receiving the funds in 2019, however, in tranches. Under the Asia-Pacific Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge, successful applicants will receive grants in exchange for sharing their experiences with a larger community. The experience-sharing feature is just one criteria under which funding will be reviewed. The grantees would have to share their experiences with the others in the industry by publishing key finding of their project or by holding seminars.

Google, on December 11, is expected to hold an APAC town hall in Singapore, announcing further details of the Asia-Pacific Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge.

Google News May Withdraw Services from European Union

The APAC initiative comes at a time when media reports of Google News shutting down its services in European Union countries are doing rounds. The search engines is allegedly facing a battle with Brussels, with the former expressing serious concerns over EU’s recent Copyright Directives. The directives, also called the ‘Link Tax’ or Article 11, is the ‘European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market’. Encompassing several technology giants including Facebook, along with Google, the link tax is anticipated to make technology companies pay for work of journalists—which they use. Google News shut its services in Spain, in 2014, after the nation passed a similar link tax law.

Such directives could only hurt the media industry, wherein some of the smaller sites survive on the traffic from Google News and similar services. However, some media companies in the EU are blaming Google for benefiting from ad revenues. Google is known to be lobbying hard, before any such link tax are implemented, with is similar to its sister directive, Article 13.

Abhishek Budholiya

Abhishek Budholiya is a tech blogger, digital marketing pro, and has contributed to numerous tech magazines. Currently, as a technology and digital branding consultant, he offers his analysis on the tech market research landscape. His forte is analysing the commercial viability of a new breakthrough, a trait you can see in his writing. When he is not ruminating about the tech world, he can be found playing table tennis or hanging out with his friends.