Twenty one media outlets from nine countries in Latin America will benefit from US $2 million as part of the Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge to improve operations, strengthen business models, create new products and more.
“Innovating, essentially, is developing creative and transformative processes and exploring new approaches to change the way an organization and even an entire industry is tackling challenges they are facing,” Ludovic Blecher, Head of Innovation at the Google News Initiative, told LatAm Journalism Review (LJR). “Through the Innovation Challenge in Latin America, we seek to support projects that contribute to a stronger, sustainable, diverse and inclusive future for journalism in the region.”
The media selected for the second edition of the Innovation Challenge are from Argentina (5), Bolivia (1), Brazil (8), Colombia (1), Costa Rica (1), El Salvador (1), Guatemala (1), Mexico (1) and Peru (2). They were chosen from more than 300 proposals, according to Google.
The Innovation Challenge launched in 2019 and seeks “to promote the creation of new business models and new news products, and foster the consolidation of a sustainable and diverse ecosystem, encouraging the development of innovative mechanisms that allow us to overcome the challenges of a changing reality,” the technology giant said.
With help from the Innovation Challenge, Peruvian outlet Salud con Lupa plans to build the Vital Data Hub, which will include clean and up-to-date datasets, data analysis reports and data visualizations on public health issues.
“The Vital Data Hub Project is the first of its kind in Latin America aimed at journalists, newsrooms (large and small), academic researchers, think tanks, NGOs and universities,” Salud con Lupa founder Fabiola Torres told LJR. “It is designed to become a great tool for a community that can look at all the possibilities of putting health data to good use and that currently does not access them because there is no service according to their needs and payment possibilities.”
The project also adds another revenue stream for the media outlet, which focuses on health journalism, she added. The pilot of the program will be in Peru, but then expand to other Latin American countries.
In Mexico, the team at Verificado MX will create the fact-checking model Temoa “based on a trend analysis tool of social media and search engines to detect false or misleading content.”
“The other part of the project is the verification methodology that is adapted to the circumstances of each newsroom with the aim of creating verification units in the media outlets of our country and Latin America,” Daniela Mendoza, general director of Verificado MX, told LJR.
Mendoza said she feels excitement, but also the weight of responsibility as Verificado MX, less than five years old, is the only Mexican outlet to be chosen.
“They have trusted that we can make this innovation to make the fact-checking process more efficient and improve the quality of news production in media,” she said.
Other projects focus on subscriptions and AI, chatbots and false information, machine learning and business intelligence, online payments, oversight platforms, tagging automation, and more.
The complete list of Latin American winners for the GNI Innovation Challenge, and their projects, is below: