AAN Publishers Have Received Over $1 Million from the GNI Transformation Tech Program

We are halfway into the 18-month GNI Transformation Tech program, and 52 Association of Alternative Newsmedia members have already completed their three-month training. For their efforts, each publisher received a $20,000 grant funded by the Google News Initiative, bringing the total impact of the program so far to over $1 million for AAN members.

“This is—by far—the most investment AAN has ever received as an organization,” said Jimmy Boegle, president of the AAN Board of Directors and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent and the Reno News & Review. “Both of my publications have been through the program, and we’re already seeing the benefits..”

While in the Transformation Tech program, publishers and staff members develop a Revenue Transformation Plan to generate new digital revenues for their publication. Revenue Transformation Plans in the program have ranged from SEO improvements and content and newsletter programs to more out-of-the-box solutions, such as offering digital agency services to local businesses.

Participants take part in required training sessions on tech stack auditing, digital revenue generation, change management and project management. The program also offers optional “Ask Me Anything” presentations with vendors in the journalism ecosystem and Q&A calls hosted by the coaches, each with unique expertise in digital revenue for news outlets.

The Fund for Equity in Local News (FELN) produces Transformation Tech. FELN is a collaborative partnership formed by AAN, the National Association of Hispanic Publishers (NAHP) and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), aka “The Black Press.”

FELN and Transformation Tech, in turn, rely on the fiscal sponsorship of the Alternative Newsweekly Foundation (ANF), which manages the program and grant funds.

“This is an amazing partnership and program, ultimately reaching 240 local, independent and diverse publishers with focused training, grant funds and a plan to grow digital revenues,” said Ashley Woods Branch, executive director of FELN and program manager for Transformation Tech. “And the best part is, the ideas and interaction between members of the three associations is feeding a culture of collaboration and partnership.”

Transformation Tech continues for three more cohorts, and AAN members have signed up alongside members of NAHP and NNPA to participate in Cohort 4, which launched this month. 

Slots are still available in Cohorts 5 and 6, so members of AAN who still need to apply to Transformation Tech should do so immediately. If you’re a publisher considering AAN membership, now is an excellent time to explore that, too!