Providing new opportunity for Africa media workers, Google has announced a $2.7 million (R18.8m)fund to promote innovation in digital journalism in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

The grant, which was awarded to the Vienna-based International Press Institute, will be used to sponsor the IPI News Innovation Contest. The contest is designed to find and fund breakthrough ideas that will have a long term impact on the future of digital news in communities across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

From the announcement:

Grants will be awarded to both non-profit and for-profit organisations working on digital journalism initiatives, including open-source and mobile technology projects created by or for journalists and distributed in the public interest. From today until June 1st, the IPI will invite proposals from around the region for projects devoted to online innovation in journalism, new economic models for news and training in digital reporting.

Funds will be awarded in three areas:

  • News – For all applications that ensure the reliability and news;
  • Sustainability – For projects that foster new economic streams and economic models; and
  • Training – For projects that promote learning in digital journalism.

The deadline for funding applications is 1 June 2011.