The Google News Initiative (GNI) has launched a relief fund to help newsrooms deal with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative, which works with the news industry to help journalism thrive in the digital age, said local newsrooms were a vital resource for keeping people and communities connected in the best of times.

They play an even greater function in reporting on local lockdowns, and how COVID-19 was affecting daily life.

"But that role is being challenged as the news industry deals with job cuts, furloughs and cutbacks as a result of the economic downturn prompted by COVID-19," GNI's Vice President News Richard Gingras said in a statement.

"The Google News Initiative wants to help by launching a Journalism Emergency Relief Fund to deliver urgent aid to thousands of small, medium and local news publishers globally."

He said that the funding was for organizations producing original news for local communities during this time of crisis, and "will range from the low thousands of dollars for small hyper-local newsrooms to low tens of thousands for larger newsrooms, with variations per region."

Additionally, released $1 million for the International Center for Journalists "which plans to provide immediate resources to support reporters globally," and the Columbia Journalism School's Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma "which is helping journalists exposed to traumatic events experienced during the crisis."

The applications are open until April 29, and can be submitted here.