Global search engine, Google, has awarded a US$1.93 million in funding for media related projects across Africa, Middle East and Turkey. Among the beneficiaries is Ghana’s first and most popular news portal, GhanaWeb, which has won the first Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge for its novel GhanaWeb Reporter project which will inject new ideas into the global news ecosystem. Collectively, GhanaWeb is the only company from Ghana to receive the highly sought-after award along with eight African countries including Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Morocco.
The GhanaWeb Reporter is an application for both Android and iOS devices that enables GhanaWeb’s 4 million monthly unique visitors to (re)publish their user-generated content (UGC) directly on www.ghanaweb.com. The content will be screened and published on a personal or topic page on the website or as a news or opinion article when it meets the required editorial guidelines. This novelty will amplify the voices of Ghanaians on the issues that matter to them.
“GhanaWeb’s technology innovation will be shared with other publishers through our AfricaWeb Solutions services for publishers,” said Marc Stubbé, Chief Executive Officer of AfricaWeb Holding, publishers of GhanaWeb. “Technology is key in online publishing and the GhanaWeb Reporter makes it possible to create and engage a big Ghanaian community that will interact on our platforms rather than to attract visitors that passively absorb news items. “We will invite influencers, bloggers and journalists to become part of the community of GhanaWeb – the basic thought is that we share the benefit,” said Mr Stubbé.
The Middle East, Turkey and Africa Innovation Challenge was launched in June 2019 and it received 527 applications from 35 countries. The 21 projects were selected after a rigorous review, a round of interviews and a final jury selection process. The four criteria for selection included: impact, feasibility, innovation and inspiration, and the successful projects clearly demonstrated all four, Google announced in a blog post. The GNI Innovation Challenges are part of Google’s US$300 million commitment to help journalism thrive in the digital age and to see news innovators step forward with new thinking.
“This funding will enable our partners to develop sustainable business models by diversifying revenue streams and/or increasing audience engagement,” Google said.
GhanaWeb is the first vertical portal in Ghana and the first news website for the country relaunched in 1999 to offer news, background information, classifieds, radio stations and a social network for Ghanaians and the Diaspora among others. The privately-owned independent and objective portal operates under the laws of the Netherlands, a legal setup that has allowed Ghanaians to express themselves freely through opinion articles and comments in over two decades. Made for and by Ghanaians, GhanaWeb is updated by a team of editors and journalists who write original content and aggregate articles from a wide range of Ghanaian print and online media ensuring a balanced coverage of the news in Ghana.
GhanaWeb has evolved over the years to include video content and social media components to its news feed for smooth web navigation. Its team of web developers and web designers regularly improve the technology and design of the portal which has been built to meet the requirements of its 4 million unique visitors each month.
According to the Alexa website traffic statistics, GhanaWeb is very popular among Ghanaian migrants in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Italy, South Africa, Netherlands, France and many other countries. These loyal visitors and the millions of readers in Ghana have made GhanaWeb the most popular news website in Ghana and ranked the third most visited website in the country after Google and YouTube.
GhanaWeb’s success necessitated the founding of AfricaWeb Holding which has birthed CamerounWeb.com, TanzaniaWeb.com, MyNigeria.com and other country-specific portals to help develop viable independent news portals in Africa.