NEW DELHI: India’s East Mojo and Minnambalam are among 5,300 small and medium local newsrooms around the world that will receive emergency funding from Google ranging from $5,000-$30,000 (approximately Rs 3.7 lakh-Rs 22.7 lakh), the search engine giant said on Thursday.
East Mojo, a digital-only news organisation, said it plans to use the fund to allow journalists to go to remote parts of Northern India to shed light on the impact of COVID-19 once the country’s lockdown is lifted.
Minnambalam (India), a Tamil language publication from Chennai, said the funding gave them the confidence and financial support needed to carry on with their work.
COVID-19 has upended the news industry, hitting local news particularly hard with job losses, furloughs, cutbacks and even closure.
To provide some help, the Google News Initiative last month launched the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund.
“Applications covering a number of publications under one organization will be capped at $85,000,” Ludovic Blecher, Head of Google News Initiative Innovation, wrote in a blog post.
“As we await a final funding tally, we expect to spend tens of millions of dollars through the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund,” Blecher said.
Google said in just two weeks it received more than 12,000 applications from 140 eligible countries, with 90 per cent of those applications from newsrooms of less than 26 journalists.
“We reviewed each application against a set of criteria: publications operating locally, serving a specific geographic community and using the money to continue doing so,” Blecher said.