Empowering Journalism Through Technology

The Digital News Initiative (DNI) is a partnership between Google and news publishers in Europe to support high-quality journalism through technology and innovation.

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The DNI Fund Team

Meet the members of the DNI team.
Ludovic Blecher
Head of DNI Innovation Fund, Google
Before joining Google, Ludovic Blecher was the director of the FINP: a digital press fund for French publishers backed by Google. Ludovic is a journalist who has spent the past 15 years working in news. His career began as a reporter at Liberation.fr, rising to Editor in Chief then Executive Director. He's a 2012 fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, and was a member of the French Digital Council independent advisory commission for the French Government.
Sarah Hartley
DNI Innovation Fund Applicants Manager
A journalism innovator and experienced media trainer, Sarah Hartley is the editorial director of Publish.org and co-founder of Dim Sum Digital Ltd. Before joining Google, Sarah worked at The Guardian Media Group for over a decade. There, she oversaw many digital innovations and product launches including ManchesterEveningNews.co.uk, the community news initiative, Guardian Local, and the crowdfunding platform, Contributoria.com.
Christian Heise
DNI Innovation Fund Operations Manager
Before joining Google, Christian was a Lecturer, Doctoral Candidate, and Research Associate at the Leuphana University Centre for Digital Cultures (CDC). As well as working on the DNI Innovation Fund, Christian continues teaching at Leuphana University and Hamburg Media School, is Chairman of the German Chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation, and is Co-Founder/Member of Board of freifunk.net. He previously worked as a Manager for ZEIT ONLINE/DIE ZEIT and the German Press Agency (DPA).
Rebecca Young
DNI Innovation Fund Operations Analyst
Rebecca is an Operations Analyst with experience across the financial services sector. Before joining Google, Rebecca was an analyst at an international business development agency and the New Zealand stock exchange. Rebecca has assisted many innovative and internationally-focused companies seeking capital for expansion. She holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) from the University of Otago.
Kristen Davis
DNI Innovation Fund External Assessor
Kristen loves using new technologies and techniques to resolve problems or turn great ideas into reality. She has more than 20 years media experience including with Ziff-Davis APN in Australia and Future Publishing in the UK. Until recently, she was IT Director at the New York Times International, where she also led their Innovation & Development Lab. She recently created CinqC.co, offering the experience, insight and resilience the disruption in the media industry has provided her as a service to start-ups, large organisations and innovation labs needing to evolve and adapt in our ever-changing world.
Liliana Ashton
DNI Innovation Fund External Assessor
Liliana offers the DNI fund her extensive experience working in the global digital business industry for over 15 years, including with the Guardian Media Group and with her own company, helping businesses succeed through digital transformation. She has worked and studied in Europe, USA and South America, putting her in a key position to assess entries with an international point of view. She holds postgraduate qualifications from Harvard and Oxford Business Schools and has a BEng (Hons) in Software Engineering.
Danielle Batist
DNI Innovation Fund External Assessor
Danielle Batist is a freelance journalist, founder of Journopreneur and co-founder of the Constructive Journalism Project. She lived and worked around the world and covered global and local stories of poverty, exclusion and injustice. As a consultant she regularly advises independent media organisations on innovation and sustainability. She loves bringing stories to the world and finding the appropriate platforms to do so. While both the medium and the message are changing, she believes the need for good storytelling remains.



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What is the DNI?

The Digital News Initiative (DNI) is a partnership between Google and news publishers in Europe to support high quality journalism through technology and innovation. Our goal is to encourage a more sustainable news ecosystem while promoting innovation in digital journalism through ongoing collaboration and dialogue between the tech and news sectors.


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What does the DNI do?
The Digital News Initiative is focused on three key pillars:
  • Product Development: Google and news publishers are establishing a ‘product working group’ to enable a close, ongoing dialogue exploring product developments to increase revenue, traffic, and audience engagement. Find out more here.
  • Supporting Innovation: Google is supporting and stimulating innovation in digital news journalism over the next three years by creating an innovation fund. Find out more here.
  • Training & Research: Google is investing in new training and development resources for journalists and newsrooms across Europe, and funding research into the changing media landscape. Find out more here.


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I’m interested in the Product Development pillar, tell me more.
If you’re interested in learning more about Product Development, please sign up for our newsletter here. We’ll be in touch!


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I’m interested in the Training & Research pillar, tell me more.

Research: We are working closely with the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University to fund their Digital News Report. The report, now in its fifth year, has expanded to cover 26 countries worldwide. The 2017 report will be released in the summer. 

Training: The Google News Lab team collaborates with journalists worldwide to help build the future of media. As well as providing training online on Google Tools, the team run in-person training sessions for journalists on Google Tools in newsrooms worldwide. For more information, see Google News Lab.


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How do I organise a Google News Lab training session?

To register your interest in receiving a Google News Lab training session, please visit the dedicated News Lab website here.


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I’m interested in the DNI Innovation Fund, tell me more.

Google has established a €150m innovation fund to support and stimulate innovation in digital news journalism over the next three years. Applications are welcome on the DNI Innovation Fund page, which also contains further information on the fund’s processes and governance.


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Who can join the DNI?

Anyone involved in Europe’s digital news industry is welcome to take part in any or all of the DNI programmes. You can register your interest here.


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Who are the current participants of the DNI?

Current participants are listed here.


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How can I get involved?

As a member of the DNI, it’s up to you to decide which of the three pillars (Product Development, Training & Research, or Innovation) you are interested in exploring. To join, simply submit the form found on our website here.


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If I chose to join the DNI, will I be listed on the website?

You are invited to participate with, or without, public acknowledgement. No individual or organisation will be listed on the website without their direct consent.


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I’m from a tech/sports/similar publisher. Is the DNI open to me?

Yes. We want to support the news ecosystem as a whole.