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July 24, 2018, 1:42 p.m.
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LINK: www.blog.google  ➚   |   Posted by: Marlee Baldridge   |   July 24, 2018

Google’s Digital News Innovation Fund announced on Tuesday the 98 media projects it will be funding for Round 5 of applications. Those chosen will receive a slice of €21,137,000 (about USD $24.7 million), bringing Google’s DNI outlay to date to €115 million, of the €150 million it has committed. “Larger” projects received 65 percent of this round’s funding, 26 percent went to “medium” projects, and prototype projects received about nine percent.

The Digital News Innovation Fund — previously known as the Digital News Initiative Innovation Fund, until Google rebranded its global journalism efforts under the rubric of the Google News Initiative — was launched in 2015 at a time when Google was facing significant pushback from European publishers and regulators. (It still is — witness last week’s $5 billion EU fine for antitrust violations regarding its Android operating system.)

(Important full disclosure here: One wing of the Google News Initiative funds summer fellows at a number of nonprofit news organizations. I am one of those Google News Initiative Fellows, which means Google is paying me to work at Nieman Lab this summer. Like I said, important full disclosure!)

The media projects chosen in this round of DNI funding hail from 28 European Union countries, including the U.K., Spain, and France, but also Lithuania, Slovenia, and Poland.

Projects can represent a relatively minor chunk of the funding, like in France, where Virtual Newsroom from Play Bac Presse received €49,332 to create a space where teachers could introduce students to newsrooms with better resources about how to teach journalism. Other projects got hundreds of thousands of dollars, like in Belgium, where the Ask Info project from La Presse.be received €400,000 to work on audio news delivery.

Other projects include the Data Stories project, part of As East Meedia in Estonia, which seeks to become an aggregator of data automation tools and a visual exploration and combination of data into meaningful stories.” Another data-aggregation project called Elvato from Switzerland’s We.Publish Association will link data pools from different content management systems into one app in which the publisher will see its content alongside that of other publishers. This is supposed to encourage publisher cooperation but also “make new technologies more affordable.”

A prototype of a sliding news generator/video creator from LETA in Latvia will create slideshows and automatically generate captions by exploiting various natural language processing methods. A project called Smart Commute from NevaLabs in Ireland is intended to personalize the ways content is delivered. And Smart Commute aims to “create deeper engagement and loyalty with users, and generate new revenue lines through premium podcasts, audio briefings, and newsletters.”

Read more about the projects here.

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