Prothom Alo, the largest media outlet of Bangladesh, has been at the top of readership in Bengali language in nearly 200 countries and regions across the globe, through its print and online versions.
A large portion of its readership is urban-centric. Hence, Prothom Alo has taken a special project, styled ‘Kankhito Khobor Apnar Kachhe (Desired News With You)’, to address the needs of an untapped yet large rural population in villages and small towns.
This project has been selected for Google News Initiative’s (GNI) Innovation Challenge 2022. Google will now fund and support this project of Prothom Alo. The project will work to serve the interest and necessary news contents to its readers in a more convenient way.
Under the news initiative since 2019, Google has been supporting creative and innovative projects to bring new ideas, new ways of sustainable development and media outlets closer to readers. This is the first time that a Bangladeshi media outlet has been selected in the Google competition over creativity in news and technology.
About the news technology project, Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman said, “We are always publishing local news in Prothom Alo with special importance. Local news is most useful and necessary for the respective regions. We have been publishing regional editions of the print version for over a decade, as part of the responsibility of delivering useful and necessary news, information, analysis, and opinion to our readers.
“In continuation of this, we have a separate initiative to serve local news online. We regularly circulate division, district and even upazila-based news contents in Prothom Alo online. But this project is to deliver the news contents in a more convenient way as per the location and preferences of the readers,” he said.
Thanking Google, Matiur Rahman said, “This project got a new dimension with the help of Google News Initiative. I believe, this type of news technology initiative will pave the way to the future for the media.”
The names of the selected projects were published on the website of Google News Initiative on Tuesday morning. The Innovation Challenge competition was held under five regions – Asia and the Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, and the Middle East-Africa.
Some 19 projects from 10 countries in Asia and the Pacific region have been selected for GNI Innovation Challenge this year. There are 37 countries, including Bangladesh, under Asia and the Pacific region.
In the region, India got the highest three media outlets listed for Google support.
As a GNI member, Prothom Alo has been receiving assistance from Google on various issues since 2020.
In 2020, Prothom Alo’s two digital projects received awards under two categories at the South Asian Digital Media Award organized by WAN-IFRA, an international media organization. Google was the sponsor of the event.
Author: Jabed Sultan Pias