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Google spends $5 million on journalism

Perhaps hoping to fund some good press, Google announced on its blog that it will invest $5 million to “encourage innovation in digital journalism.” The search company plans to help media companies with tools like YouTube Direct and Google Maps to make news websites more engaging. It will also try to develop new platforms to help publishers generate more revenue. More interesting, Google plans to invest a good portion of the money in grassroots non-profit initiatives.

$2 million will go to the Knight Foundation, which will split the money between grant-making initiatives and the Knight News Challenge, which will accept Journalistic proposals from anyone through Dec. 1. A video by Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibarguen, explaining the importance of the donation, is below.

“We’re eager to do even more internationally,” said Nikesh Arora of Google, “so we will be investing the remaining $3 million in journalism projects in other countries through a similar partnership. Stay tuned for more details early next year. We hope these grants will help new ideas blossom and encourage experimentation. As Thomas Edison once said, “When there’s no experimenting, there’s no progress. Stop experimenting and you go backward.” We look forward to working with the journalism community to help digital news move forward.”

While Journalism definitely needs help, it is reassuring that Google is funding grassroots and non-profit organizations instead of helping overweight old media companies.