Google announced on 15th April, the launch of the ‘Journalism Emergency Relief Fund’ as part of ‘Google News Initiative’.
The funding aims to deliver urgent aid to thousands of small, medium and local news publishers globally, that are producing original news for local communities during this time of crisis.
Having recognised that the news industry has seen a cut in jobs and the introduction of mass furloughs due to the economic downturn prompted by COVID-19, Google wanted to help news publishers during this crisis.
Acknowledging that covering the coronavirus pandemic can take a toll on reporters, The Google News Initiative stated that Google.org is giving $1 million collectively to the International Center for Journalists in which their plan is to provide immediate resources to support reporters globally.
Being able to keep people and communities connected is vital during this worldwide crisis.
Publishers can now apply for funds via an application form in which it is to ensure that the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund is eligible to aid all publishers around the world.
“Today’s news builds on other efforts we’ve made to support the industry and connect people to quality information at this time of need. We believe it is important to do what we can to alleviate the financial pressures on newsrooms, and will continue to look at other ways to help with more to announce soon.” The Google News Initiative.
Applications will close on Wednesday April 29, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. You can apply by completing the form here.
Google and Social Media platforms have been widely criticised for their inability to control the dissemination of “Fake News” relating to the Coronavirus crisis. This is why Google had previously announced that it would be banning Google ads using keywords which related to the epidemic.
It is entirely possible that a secondary aim of this initiative is to ensure that all reputable publishers are able to take advantage of it; giving them a better chance of obtaining strong visibility on Search Engine Results Pages than less respected publishers who may be more prone to questionable reporting.
We can therefore expect to see a heavy backlash for smaller blogs and news reporting websites who get turned down for funding by the search engine colossus…