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American Journalism Project and Google News Initiative launch incubator to seed news startups

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The 18-month incubator will support the development and launch of nonprofit news projects in a bid to help stem the decline of local news across the U.S. Four news startups will be awarded grants totaling $400k per award. Deadline: Feb 15.

The American Journalism Project (AJP), which makes grants to nonprofit news organizations – either to launch new organizations or to help sustain existing newsrooms – has issued a final call to interested startups for its 2023 incubator.

The initiative is being supported by Google News Initiative and will award $400,000 to each startup selected as well as receive personalized, hands-on support to complete a robust research and development process and fundraising campaign. 

The program aims to alleviate the financial burden placed on nonprofit news founders, and instead give aspiring newsroom leaders the opportunity to pursue building startups full-time. According to AJP, applications are welcome from founders at any early phase of their startup work, including those still building newsroom concepts.

Local news — an essential pillar of our democracy — is at a turning point. Ambitious nonprofit news projects are driving an industry shift. We’re excited to support the next generation of local news leaders who are rising to this moment and eager to build ambitious, scalable organizations that meet the information needs of communities.

Sarabeth Berman, CEO, American Journalism Project

These founders will closely reflect the communities they serve while meeting information needs in innovative new ways…we are excited to find and support talent which can lead the nonprofit news industry into the next stage of its development.

Conor Crowley, Head of Startups, Google News Initiative

Since its launch in 2019, AJP has committed almost $40M to a total of 36 organizations at various stages of development including its three latest investments, Enlace Latino NC, Fort Worth Report, and Nebraska Journalism Trust. The new incubator program will draw on lessons learned from the full body of the venture philanthropy’s grantmaking work.

To learn more about the incubator program or view the application, visit

In related news, seven leading journalism, media, and pro-consumer antitrust advocacy organizations yesterday sent a joint letter to President Biden calling on him to highlight, in his upcoming State of the Union address on February 7, the importance of local journalism.

Specifically, the letter urges Biden to call on Congress to advance the bipartisan Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (S. 673 and H.R. 1735). The legislation will give small, local news outlets the ability to join together in negotiations that will level the playing field with Big Tech platforms. Over 24,000 individuals have signed a petition for the bill and almost 1,000 editorials and op-eds in support of the JCPA have been published in newspapers in 48 states across North America.