It’s a conundrum. Most folks agree that access to relevant, unbiased news is important. By the same token, technology, digitized content, changing consumer habits and revenue models have been upended as readers have traded in subscriptions and ad-supported print content for news streams and social media hubs.
The tech we love to use to consume news has been gobbling up the very medium we rely on.
Disruptor as Solution-Seeker
In an apparent “oops we broke it, now let’s try and fix it” move, we are seeing a number of initiatives from the titans of tech, all aimed at supporting the cherished ideal of the first amendment and creating sustainability for the news media.
Google: The Local Experiments Project Launch
One of the newest initiatives is from Google, and is a subset of its Google News Initiative. The Local Experiments Project has launched with a focus on bringing independent, quality, local news back to communities.
McClatchy + Google
In a nutshell, Google has partnered with leading community news publisher McClatchy to deliver viable local news to smaller cities, which have been heavily impacted by diminishing news resources. The partnership will provide three test cities with localized content from the McClatchy team, without editorial or oversight interference from Google. Most of these communities will be host to less than one half million residents. If successful, the model will be exported to other smaller communities domestically and across the globe. All of this will come from the Google News Initiative’s three-year, $300 million budget. Google pledges to allow these news sites complete independence, and the plan is to eventually have reporter boots-on-the-ground at the selected city sites.
While big (ok, let’s say it, enormous) tech has been the fourth estate’s biggest disrupter, I am personally cheered to see the tech titans seeking to ameliorate their impact on independent journalism
Axios’ Sara Fischer breaks down the project in detail here:
Here’s to a great outcome and a proliferation of digital ink in the communities which need it the most.
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