22 Media Innovators from Nigeria, Others to Get $2.1m from Google

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By Dipo Olowookere

A total of 22 media innovators from Nigeria and other countries from Africa, the Middle East and Turkey have been picked to receive $2.1 million in funding through the second Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge.

Three media organisations in Nigeria were chosen for the challenge, with Naij.com Media Limited, publishers of the online news platform, Legit.ng, selected for ReCo, a solution that improves Internet user experience by making content recommendations based on user preferences on their home page and within articles.

The second media firm from Nigeria was Richmond Hill Media Limited, owners of Ripples Nigeria, which was taken for Eco-Nai+, Nigeria’s first digital geo-journalism platform providing access to interactive geo-data through web and mobile applications, while the third was Stears News Limited.

In South Africa, Olduvai Pty., an online-only publisher, developed Scrolla.Africa, a data-light platform that makes news available to millions of people in southern Africa, who would otherwise be unable to afford data costs.

Standard Group PLC in Kenya is solving the challenges of declining revenue from legacy products and changing media consumption habits of audiences with The Messenger Reading Revenue Project.

Business Post learned that applications for the second GNI Innovation Challenge opened in February and closed on April 12, 2021, and during this period a total of 329 established publishers, online-only players, news startups, publisher consortia and local industry associations applied from 35 countries across the regions, showing the diversity and the appetite for innovation of the news-ecosystem.

It was gathered that a rigorous review process, a round of interviews and a jury selection process followed for the final selection of successful recipients.

The 22 media innovators were chosen because their ideas addressed issues ranging from audience development to virtual reality storytelling and recipients were able to clearly demonstrate their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

“The vibrancy of the markets in the 14 countries, projects were selected from could clearly be seen in the vast range of news players, topics and technologies considered,” the head of innovation at GNI, Ludovic Blecher, stated in a statement.

“We are excited about the 2021 GNI Innovation Challenge projects and we will be following their progress alongside that of previous recipients, who are already impacting the news ecosystem with initiatives that increase reader engagement and make for a more sustainable future for news,” Blecher added.

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