Google is furthering its News Initiative, announced in March. As part of the launch of the Google New initiative (GNI), the company announced funding to support the future of news. Today, it is committing $25 million to a YouTube-specific investment.
With the funding, YouTube is establishing a “working group” with news organizations and experts from around the world to help develop new product features, improve the news experience on YouTube, and tackle what the company is calling emerging challenges. Vox Media, Jovem Pan, and India Today are early members of the new working group, with other new outlets expected to join in the coming months.
YouTube will provide funding across approximately 20 global markets to support news organizations in building sustainable video operations. It will be provided on an application basis to news organizations of all types. YouTube says the grants will enable its partners to build key capabilities, train staff on video best practices, enhance production facilities, and develop formats optimized for online video.
The Google-owned company says it will significantly expand its team focused on supporting news publishers. These specialists will be based around the world and support partners with training and best practices in formats, audience development, day-to-day platform operations, and sophisticated technical integrations.
The company is investing in new product features to prominently surface authoritative sources.
“After a breaking news event, it takes time to verify, produce and publish high-quality videos. Journalists often write articles first to break the news rather than produce videos,” the company explained in a blog announcing the funding. “That’s why in the coming weeks in the U.S. we will start providing a short preview of news articles in search results on YouTube that link to the full article during the initial hours of a major news event, along with a reminder that breaking and developing news can rapidly change.”
Additionally, starting today, users will begin seeing information from third parties, including Wikipedia and Encyclopædia Britannica, alongside videos on a small number of well-established historical and scientific topics that have often been subject to misinformation, like the moon landing and the Oklahoma City Bombing.
The company will also be investing in digital literacy education. Along with the Google News Initiative and Google.org, the company is teaming up with the Poynter Institute, Stanford University, Local Media Association, and the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) to support MediaWise, a U.S.-based initiative designed to equip 1 million teens with digital literacy skills. Six YouTube Creators, including John Green, Ingrid Nilsen, and Mark Watson, will be working with MediaWise to bring awareness to digital literacy and help educate teens.
Aside from YouTube, another social platform trying to make its news content more reliable is Facebook, which recently announced plans to fund eight news-driven shows expected to launch on its video platform, Watch. The social media giant also has plans of creating a separate tab dedicated to news content.