Printed publications have had a hard time staying afloat in the digital era but now, not even online press is safe from extinction. The reason? Not a new communication medium but the coronavirus pandemic that’s been throwing everybody off this year.
The layoffs and business closures that happened in the last months, as the “coronavirus effect”, have taken a toll on every business, including media. Last month, dozens of newsrooms closed in the US, no longer able to keep personnel on the payroll.
Globally, thousands of small publications would have faced extinction soon, if help didn’t come in time.
Thankfully, tech titan Google paid attention and came to the rescue with the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund.
As any other type of funding, it did came with conditions and limits so publications had to fight to get their foot in the door. Over a two week period that came to a finish this April, the Fund received 12,000 applications from 140 countries.
Between $5,000 to $30,000 were at stake for one company. As for media trusts, the funds capped at $85,000.
Small and medium-sized news organizations producing original news for local communities during this time of crisis were considered, having been functional for at least 12 months. The newsrooms targeted can have more than 2 full-time employees but less than 100.
“As we read their stories, we were struck by the number of news organizations in the U.S. and Canada keeping their communities informed with fewer than 10 full-time employees. As small businesses, many applicants are trying to figure out how to keep the lights on, literally and figuratively. They’re passionate about providing high-quality journalism, and it’s an honor to support them during such a critical point.”
Who survived to see another day? Around 1,800 newsrooms in North America, about 1,050 in Latin America, over 1,550 in Europe, Middles East and Africa and more than 800 in Asia Pacific.
Here you can see a selected few, divided into territories.
Google’s help amounted to tens of millions of dollars, money that ultimately went in support of truth, a need to know and to be informed, courage, opinion, and ethics.