Google launches GNI Startups Lab Program for digital news startups in India

US-based technology giant Google today announced the launch of a new Google News Initiative (GNI) Startups Lab program for ambitious news entrepreneurs in India.

GNI Startups Lab is a four-month program that provides comprehensive coaching, skills training, and other support to help independent local or single-subject journalism organizations discover a route to financial and operational viability.

The program is developed in collaboration with Echos, a global innovation lab, and the DIGIPUB News India Foundation, which intends to encourage high-quality reporting for underserved communities in India. It would also consider submissions from news organizations that publish in all Indian languages.

Speaking on the announcement, Dhanya Rajendran, Chairperson of Digipub News India Foundation, said “Digipub is excited to partner with Google News Initiative Startups Lab to make the digital media ecosystem robust and sustainable. Digital news media is the future of news in India and collaborations like these will ensure that new entrants receive the support they deserve.”

The 16-week programme is designed to the needs of Indian startup newsrooms, and participants will benefit from Echos’ experience in assisting media companies, as well as DIGIPUB’s network and community, which will provide workshops and coaching.

According to Google, applications will be accepted until October 18, 2021, and ten independent digital news publishers will be chosen for the inaugural cohort in India.

In addition, it has also enabled four new Indian languages in Google News Showcase, a licensing initiative to support news organizations and readers to India.

In dedicated News Showcase panels in Google News and on Discover, Google is glad to provide support for four new languages — Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu – in addition to English and Hindi.

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