Meet the Canadian projects improving diversity in local news

The Google News Initiative (GNI) is our global effort to work with the news industry to help journalism thrive in the digital age. In November 2018, we announced the steps we’re taking as part of the Google News Initiative to fund projects that inject new ideas into the news industry.

Today, we’re announcing an important list of projects selected for the second round of the Google News Initiative’s North American Innovation Challenge. The challenges are meant to encourage a spirit of experimenting, innovating and, quite simply, trying new things. It is especially important this year to tackle new and innovative ideas, and the projects we’re funding look at diversity, equity and inclusion through many different lenses, all focused around the communities they serve.

We’re proud to support three Canadian projects this year, tackling diversity at the local level. 

  • Ryerson University’s JeRI: The Journalism Representation Index. JeRI is an AI-powered tool that scores the institutional power of sources cited in news stories. “In this time of great change it’s really important as journalists that we ensure the stories we report on reflect a diversity of voices,” says Asmaa Malik, Associate professor at Ryerson University. “With JERI our hope is that we can rebuild trust with readers and offer them transparency into the process.” 
  • Winnipeg Free Press’s Reader Bridge: The Reader Bridge is designed to help diversify, engage, build and sustain our readership, in large part by delivering stories and potential readers from underserved communities. Readers will be able to participate in journalism in a direct way by offering perspectives and expertise. 
  • Concordia’s Institute for Investigative Journalism: The IIJ Data Hub will serve as a knowledge base for students, researchers, journalists and members of the public, providing access to the documents, data, maps, responses to access-to-information requests and other materials acquired over the course of our award-winning national investigations and connecting to innovation hubs nationwide.

The Innovation Challenge received 215 applications from the US and Canada, and will fund 33 projects totaling $5.9 million.

You can read the full list of the successful recipients on our website. We extend our sincerest thanks to everyone who took the time to apply to this challenge.

Posted by Sabrina Geremia, Vice President, Google Canada