Summary:

Until lately, Google’s somewhat shaky retort to claims it’s destroying journalism was fourfold – First Click Free, Fast Flip, Living Stories…

Until lately, Google’s somewhat shaky retort to claims it’s destroying journalism was fourfold – First Click Free, Fast Flip, Living Stories and four billion monthly clicks to news sites.

But now, a week after it touted its One Pass to publishers, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is actively splashing cash at select journalism projects.

It’s giving a $2.7 million sponsorship to the International Press Institute’s (IPI) News Innovation Contest, a project aimed at advancing the future of digital news by funding new ways to inform communities in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Release.

According to IPI: “Grants will be awarded to non-profit and profit organizations working on digital, including mobile, open-source technology created by journalists and/or for journalists and distributed in the public interest.”

Awards will be made in three categories – platforms that ensure reliability of journalists’ news, those which aid sustainability of news business models, and digital journalism training.

Google started giving the money away in October, when it allocated $5 million , $2 million of which it gave to the Knight Foundation. The IPI award is the remainder, which was allocated toward non-U.S. projects.

Google could scarcely have picked a better fit, if it was trying to align itself to journalism. Google still isn’t strictly a news organisation but, with efforts like this, and with projects like its Twitter voicemail number for Egypt, it certainly wants to be seen in a flattering, pro-information light by journalists.

Google last week took pains to paint its own One Pass system as far more “flexible” than Apple’s equivalent, not just giving publishers a bigger revenue split but also more control and information.

Google is also supporting a $5,000 challenge for developers to visualise U.S. tax data.

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