The Google News Initiative is focusing on local news

Here’s why GNI continues to partner with LION.

December 6, 2022 by LION Publishers

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Thank you to the Google News Initiative for sponsoring the 2022 LION Local Journalism Awards.

It’s been a busy few years for the Google News Initiative and its partnership with LION. 

Since 2020, we’ve published a soup-to-nuts guide to launching a digital news business, run three boot camps for aspiring news founders in the U.S. and Canada, and provided coaching, training and direct funding to more than 150 LION members through the GNI Startups Labs and LION-GNI Sustainability Audits and Funding programs.

That’s why we’re excited to continue our partnership into 2023, as part of GNI’s continued investment in local news startups and news business sustainability. 

“LION and the Google News Initiative share the goal of supporting news entrepreneurs and a thriving local news ecosystem,” said Chrissy Towle, Director, News Partnerships, Americas Ecosystem and Associations at Google. “LION represents and gives a voice to small news organizations that may not otherwise get the help available to larger organizations. Working together, LION and the GNI have helped many independent news organizations innovate, work toward financial sustainability, and meet the needs of their communities. We look forward to continuing this partnership in 2023 to help even more new publishers.”

In this Q&A, Chrissy explains why Google is committed to supporting local news – and what LION members can expect in 2023. 

When Google announced its first investments in local news in 2018, it wasn’t clear how long that would last. But here we are nearly five years later  what’s behind GNI’s longevity and its continued commitment to local news?

First, I want to thank Chris Krewson and LION’s staff for their leadership, and LION members for their trust and willingness to innovate. The work you’re doing in your communities is inspiring. 

Across Google, we’re committed to helping local news thrive and connect with readers. We do that by supporting local publishers through our programs like the Google News Initiative, partnerships, and products. Our approach is to work with and listen to publishers and provide products and programs designed to directly address the challenges they face and help build a community where they can learn from each other. 

We launched the LION-GNI Sustainability Audits and Funding program together this year, and it’s been hugely popular with our members. What do you make of the level of interest, and how has our approach to that program shaped your thinking about local news sustainability? 

It’s been so encouraging to see the success of the Sustainability Audits program and the interest there has been around the opportunity. We’re starting to hear directly from those participating, too! It’s been great to see independent newsrooms benefit from combining data and expert analysis about every aspect of their businesses – journalism, operations, finances, etc. – to develop customized recommendations for their organizations. Our hope is that the participating groups will have the knowledge and tools to make their businesses sustainable for their communities for years to come. 

What can LION members look forward to from GNI in 2023?

The GNI will continue to help news organizations working to strengthen digital journalism, develop audiences, and grow revenue models through our trainings, tools, coaching and funding. LION members will continue to have opportunities to participate – more to come!

GNI is offering a News Consumer Insights Shift program next month. What will this entail and how can publishers sign up?

We’re offering a two-month immersive News Consumers Insights Shift program based on the News Consumer Insights’ analytical framework to help publishers grow both their reader engagement and reader revenue.

Some reasons to join the NCI Shift program:

  • The program is free, data-driven, actionable and collaborative
  • Receive personalized reader engagement / reader revenue audits with the latest industry best practices
  • Opportunity to share and learn alongside your industry peers
  • Get access to Google’s plug & play subscription & contribution solutions
  • Fully leverage the latest insights tool: the NCI Demo Site

This form has an area for a program code: please use “LION” there. Registrations close on January 31, 2023.

-> Join now: Go to  <-

To learn more about Google News Initiative, visit

LION offers sponsorships to software and service providers, educational institutions and other businesses that aim to serve independent news publishers like LION’s members. Learn more about our sponsorships policy and sponsorship opportunities at

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