Google on Monday launched a free training programme for small-to-medium sized news publishers that would be available first in Europe and will roll out to more regions in the coming months.
Called the Digital Growth Programme under the Google News Initiative (GNI), it has been created to help establish and grow the online business of news publishers who have more recently started developing their digital platforms.
The GNI Digital Growth Programme is available in six countries: Spain, the UK, Germany, Italy, Poland and France.
"It's all in local languages, and many more countries to follow in the coming months," the tech giant said in a statement.
As traditional media outlets urge social media giants to give their dues for using their news content especially during the difficult COVID-19 times, Google last month announced a new licensing programme to pay publishers for high-quality content.
To be launched later this year, the programme will help participating publishers monetise their content through an enhanced storytelling experience that lets people go deeper into more complex stories, stay informed and be exposed to a world of different issues and interests.
According to the company, demand for local news has grown as people try to stay up to date in the COVID-19 times.
"COVID-19 has also increased the financial challenges many of these news publishers face. It's now more important than ever to support local news, and that's why we are introducing the Digital Growth Programme," said Google.
In Europe, Google has partnered with FT Strategies and Table Stakes Europe from WAN-IFRA to deliver in-depth labs, which include intensive training sessions and mentoring delivered over a number of weeks and months.
Google recently funded more than 5,300 local news organizations and five months of fee relief on Ad Manager for news publishers globally.