Google, together with six co-sponsors, has launched a new $1-million African News Innovation Challenge to help African journalism flourish in the digital age.

The project will provide grants from $12 500 to $100 000 for projects aimed at strengthening and transforming African news media. The challenge welcomes proposals that improve data-based investigative journalism, mobile news distribution and new revenue models. Grantees will receive technical advice in carrying out their projects.

The African Media Initiative, Africa’s largest association of media owners and operators, is running the contest.

“African media have a tremendous opportunity to leapfrog the business disruption faced by media in Europe and the US,” says AMI chief executive Amadou Mahtar Ba. “The growing reach of mobile networks and improving Internet access is beginning to reshape the media landscape in Africa. We believe this competition will help African news organisations stay ahead of the curve.”

Julie Taylor, Google’s head of communications: sub-Saharan Africa, comments: “We’re committed to working with journalists across Africa to help them use technologies to gather and tell important stories. Google is keen to help because we think the future is digital, and we want to see journalism flourish in the digital age.”

Other partners include the Omidyar Network, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the John S and James L Knight Foundation, the US State Department, the Konrad Adenheur Stiftung, and the World Association of Newspapers & News Producers.

Entries must be submitted to the ANIC website by midnight Central African Time on 10 July 2012. While news pioneers from anywhere in the world are welcome, all entries must have an African partner that will help develop and test the innovation.