Ben Monnie of the Google News Initiative
Ben Monnie of the Google News Initiative

440. Google News Initiative wants newsrooms to thrive

Google’s biggest overarching goal isn’t just to help settle debates and track down last-minute holiday gifts. 

“Google’s mission overall is to organize the world’s information and make it accessible and useful,” says Ben Monnie, director of global partnership solutions for news at the Google News Initiative. “People come to Google looking for news and information they can trust. We’re making sure we’re supporting the long-term health of that ecosystem. We’re building on our commitment to journalism and helping publishers grow and thrive in today’s digital age. The Google News Initiative is focused on creating healthy business models and healthy ecosystems so those organizations can succeed.” 

Google launched its Google News Initiative in 2018 and built its organization on three pillars: Supporting and ensuring organizations that provide “good quality journalism; evolving business models so news organizations don’t just survive but thrive; and leveraging emerging technology so we can help the news industry overall transition to digital,” Monnie says. Google has invested around $190 million so far and has worked with some 6,000 recipients and partners since launching the initiative, offering training and workshops to more than 1.7 million journalists online, plus hundreds of thousands more via in-person training. 

The newest effort, the Digital Growth Program, continues Google’s investment in trustworthy and accurate news organizations, especially those that are trying to make inroads into the online world. 

“It’s an umbrella program to capture all the playbooks, workshops, how-tos, tools, and best practices about business topics important to news organizations, including consumer revenue,” Monnie says. “We launched this with a fully built-out reader revenue playbook and workshops. The playbook itself is a document created based on some of our work with more than 50 publishers over the last few years, as well as industry experts. … The idea was, let’s create a canonical playbook that will help organizations who don’t have the resources of places like, where I came from, the New York Times, be successful in membership contribution revenue or subscription revenue. Let’s give practical recommendations. We built a series of tools as well as live workshops.” 

It’s All Journalism host Michael O’Connell talks with Ben Monnie, director of global partnership solutions for news at the Google News Initiative. They discuss Google’s new Digital Growth Program, the latest effort from the Google News Initiative, and other tools to help news organizations thrive in the digital age. 

Allison Taylor-Levine

625. Community collaboration key to evolving local journalism

Allison Taylor Levine, CEO of Local Journalism Initiative, discusses how LJI’s Delaware Journalism Collaborative, which has brought more than 25 partners throughout the state together to report on polarization and possible solutions, strengthens local journalism in Delaware and our democracy.

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