International Press Institute and Google Announce $2.7 Million Grant for News Innovation Contest

The International Press Institute (IPI) today announced that it has been awarded $2.7 million by Google Inc, to sponsor the IPI News Innovation Contest, a project aimed at advancing the future of digital news by funding new ways to inform communities in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The IPI News Innovation Contest aims to encourage breakthrough ideas with the potential to create lasting impact. Grants will be awarded to non-profit and profit organizations working on digital, including mobile, open-source technology created by journalists and/or for journalists and distributed in the public interest.

All projects should fit into three categories: News Platform, Sustainability and Training.

The group News Platform includes all applications that embrace new ways of ensuring the reliability of news and information sources by journalists, thereby providing regular citizens with access to trustworthy information, which is crucial for democracy.

Under Sustainability are those proposals related to new economic models such as new revenue streams and/or cost optimization, supporting the existence of news and media outlets.

Training attracts projects that show continued investment in journalism excellence by training digital journalists.

With the support of our partner Google Inc, IPI is in fact becoming a driving force supporting innovation in news. This is an important step in furthering press freedom and democracy.

“Journalism is an immensely important part of our societies. In the era of the Internet it’s important that innovation in journalism continues to flourish and we’re keen to help encourage that,” said Peter Barron, Google Director of External Relations, Europe, Middle East and Africa. “We’re very pleased to be working on this project with the IPI, an organization which has a great history of addressing the issues that affect journalism.”

The IPI is a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists dedicated to the furtherance and safeguarding of press freedom, the protection of freedom of opinion and expression, the promotion of the free flow of news and information and the improvement of the practices of journalism. Founded in 1950, at Columbia University in New York, IPI is one of the oldest global human rights organizations in the world.

The role of digital innovation in news has been amply demonstrated by recent events in Tunisia, Egypt and more recently Bahrain. By forging continued cooperation with industry leaders like Google Inc., IPI is working to ensure that people can have access to information they can trust.

“In this time of global change and conflict, free flows of information have never been more important,” said Alison McKenzie, Acting Director of the IPI. “A free press empowers people, and a thriving, independent, innovative news industry is vital to any country’s development. We are proud to play our part in fostering innovation to ensure that the news continues to hold up a mirror to the societies it is meant to serve.”

In September 2010, the IPI launched its successful report “Brave News Worlds” in cooperation with the Poynter Institute. This publication, where 42 contributors around the world shared their perspectives, concerns and vision of the future of the news, set the foundation of our next initiative, the IPI News Innovation Contest.

This ambitious project will be guided by José Otárola-Silesky who brings to the job over 5 years of varied experience as a marketing and communications strategist with some of the world’s biggest corporations.  
IPI encourage journalists from all nationalities to apply and find more information at:  http://www.ipinewscontest.org/. All proposals must be submitted via the online application process by 1 June 2011 to be considered.

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