Google announces funding for local news, including The Salt Lake Tribune

Tech giant Google is supporting The Tribune’s vision of becoming the first legacy newspaper in the U.S. to become a nonprofit.

On Friday, Google announced The Tribune is one of 34 news organizations across North America to receive support through the Google GNI Innovation Challenge, a program aimed at helping local newsrooms generate revenue and better engage with local audiences.

The Tribune will use the Google funding to support its transition from a for-profit company to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, including improving the website and apps, creating an integrated database as well as writing a playbook to share with other local news organizations. The 148-year-old newspaper applied for a nonprofit ownership change last May and is awaiting approval by the Internal Revenue Service.

In a news release, Google noted that projects were judged on impact, feasibility, innovation and inspiration, and represent a mix from rural and urban areas. “The thing that knits them all together is their passion for local news,” according to the release.

Other challenge winners include The Dallas Morning News, which will develop an online guide to help parents choose a school; ASU Cronkite School of Journalism, which will create an interactive story wall; and La Noticia in Charlotte, North Carolina, which will build an open-source platform for families.

Tribune Owner and Publisher Paul Huntsman applauded Google for recognizing the challenges facing local news and backing innovation.

“The traditional business model for local news organizations is broken and journalism today needs all the allies it can get,” said Huntsman. "We’re extremely grateful to Google for supporting The Tribune’s nonprofit plan and we hope Google funding will inspire others to join our cause.”

Founded in 1871, The Salt Lake Tribune is Utah’s largest daily newspaper.