Google’s New Algorithm Change Rightly Recognizes Original Reporting and Local Journalism

09/19/2019

Google recently announced that its search results for news articles will now highlight those that it identifies as "original reporting" and keep them in a "highly visible position" for longer — as well as enlist more than 10,000 human raters to identify and reward such articles. 

Traditionally, when someone searches for a news story on Google, too often its algorithm surfaces aggregated stories above the original breaking news story, which rewards outlets for reposting news instead of breaking it.

This hasn’t been just Google’s problem — major news algorithms have been long challenged to recognize original reporting especially from smaller local outlets. Business Insider reports that 80 percent of the articles on Apple News come from just 20 sources, and those sources are almost entirely large national outlets.

This reality means that larger publishers get more traffic, more ad revenue and possibly more subscriber revenue.

Google’s announcement promises to be great news for local media companies. They deserve to have their original reporting recognized rather than get lost in the shuffle as their proprietary journalistic efforts get hijacked by other news outlets.

You can read more about Google’s decision in Business Insider and in The New York Times. And note that the announcement has been part of the buzz at The Local Media Association and Local Media Consortium’s Elevate conference this week as evidenced by this tweet:

@LocalMediaAssoc: Regarding the recent announcement that local news will be surfaced in Google search, @jdubbtib says, “In due time all of you should see some degree of lift in articles that in the past might have been missed. We realize there’s a lot riding on it.” #ElevateLocal

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