Johnston Press bolsters hyper-local social offering with funding from Google-supported initiative

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Johnston Press today announces that it has won a six-figure grant from the Digital News Initiative Innovation Fund (DNI Innovation Fund), which is supported by Google, to drive forward development of a mobile platform that provides location-specific, trending content while combining the authority and reach of established news publishers.

Powered by social media whilst also editorially curated, the project will enable Johnston Press to deliver immediate, engaging and hyper-local content to its audiences across the UK. By detecting the user’s location or destination, the most popular content is consolidated to create a unique and bespoke experience that allows the user to immerse themselves in the most current and trending information, driven by local relevance.

Steven Thomas, director of emerging products at Johnston Press, said: “With the ambition to truly aggregate owned, social and local content into a product that gives broader insight into what is relevant and interesting across the local digital content landscape, today’s funding further bolsters our offering around social content, whilst also furthering our commitment to digital investment across the group.”

The DNI Innovation Fund is supported by a €150m commitment from Google, designed to spark new thinking and give European news organisations of all sizes the ability to experiment and innovate in the digital space. Out of more than 850 project submissions from 25 countries, 124 projects have been awarded funding today.

Johnston Press’ successful bid was inspired by what the project team saw as an unmet need in the UK to deliver local, quality and trending content wherever audiences are.

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