The Daily Report is one of the media houses worldwide awarded the Google News Initiative’s Journalism Emergency Relief Fund (JERF). In a mail communicating the news to our newsroom, the tech giant says: “it has been humbling and gratifying to help support local news organizations like you”.
On its blog, Google disclosed more specific details about the project. “In just two weeks we received more than 12,000 applications from 140 eligible countries, with 90 percent of those applications from newsrooms of less than 26 journalists.”
For Europe, Middle East and Africa, Google revealed that it “received applications from 88 countries, and so far we’ve offered funding to more than 1550 publishers, each demonstrating the diversity and strength of local communities and the journalists that continue to serve them through the crisis.”
Gratifying, heartwarming news
The Daily Report is a mobile-driven multi-platform newsroom, deploying its personnel and resources to cover news for its radio, online and social media outlets.
“This award by Google comes to me and my colleagues as a surprise and it’s indeed gratifying and heartwarming, because it shows that the little effort being made by The Daily Report to highlight the problems and challenges faced by our communities and neighbourhoods, especially with the advent of Covid19 has received worldwide recognition,” Executive Producer Charles Kalu said in his reaction to the news.
“We shall not rest on our oars to ensure that we do more investigations as well as report on issues directly affecting the ‘common man’ and how to help improve his standard of living. The Daily Report team will always be at the forefront of reporting stories that affect the lives, health and well being of our communities.”
The JERF was initiated to support newsrooms worldwide as they cover developments around Covid19, with a view to informing the general public.
“Local news is a vital resource for keeping people and communities connected in the best of times,” Google said when it announced the initiative last April. “Today, it plays an even greater function in reporting on local lockdowns or shelter at home orders, school and park closures, and data about how COVID-19 is affecting daily life.
“But that role is being challenged as the news industry deals with job cuts, furloughs and cutbacks as a result of the economic downturn prompted by COVID-19. The Google News Initiative wants to help by launching a Journalism Emergency Relief Fund to deliver urgent aid to thousands of small, medium and local news publishers globally.”
Covid-19 on our radar
At the height of the pandemic, and as the Nigerian government announced and enforced a nationwide lockdown, The Daily Report team devoted regular and dedicated broadcasts (radio arm) to covering news of the pandemic and its wide-ranging effects on the local communities that we focus on.
We complemented these radio broadcasts with online reporting as well, visiting several communities spread across Lagos. In reporting the outbreak of the disease, it dawned on us that the public always needs reliable sources of useful information, especially in a world battling with rising incidences of disinformation and misinformation.
“I am excited that The Daily Report got this funding. It will go a long way to help the team churn out reports that call attention to the issues that affect citizens in the rural areas, which is one of our key objectives – reporting real issues about real people,” says Ify Onyegbule, who host of The Daily Report programme on radio (Star FM 101.5, Lagos) on weeknights.
Reporting the pulse of our communities
More than anything else, focusing on these assignments strengthened our belief in the fact that the media is critical to the well being of a society and is responsible to its audience, while keeping public officials on their toes and making them accountable to their electoral promises.
Our news agenda and reportorial duties have been – and will continue to be – a reflection of the pulse of our communities. As such, we put the people first in every reporting consideration.
“With the Google JERF, The Daily Report will be able to extend its digital reach and imprint even further, producing more online and video-based content, and creating a series of podcasts as we continue to report news about everyday people,” Online Editor, Pelu Awofeso says. “This support couldn’t have come at a better time, and we look forward to making the most of it.”