Mandy Jenkins will build McClatchy’s Google-funded new local sites. What’s her plan?


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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The seesaw between platforms and news outlets is culminating in a local news experiment between Google and McClatchy, in which Google has pledged to fund the development of three local news sites over the next three years. It’s the first time the Google News Initiative is actually putting money into building newsrooms that produce journalism, rather than just granting money for one-off projects. This partnership was announced as part of Google’s Local News Experiment back in March (more projects have not yet emerged) and is now gaining steam with its new general manager, Mandy Jenkins. An alumna of Storyful, Digital First Media’s Project Thunderdome, several established and startup local newsrooms, and now the JSK Fellowship at Stanford, Jenkins is now in charge of building these three local news sites — maybe in existing McClatchy markets, maybe not — and devising sustainable business models for them. (To be Continue reading "Mandy Jenkins will build McClatchy’s Google-funded new local sites. What’s her plan?"

News Publishers Go To War With the Internet — and We All Lose


This post is by Jeff Jarvis from BuzzMachine


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Around the world, news industry trade associations are corruptly cashing in their political capital — which they have because their members are newspapers, and politicians are scared of them — in desperate acts of protectionism to attack platform companies. The result is a raft of legislation that will damage the internet and in the end hurt everyone, including journalists and especially citizens.

As I was sitting in the airport leaving Newsgeist Europe, a convening for journalists and publishers [disclosure: Google pays for the venue, food, and considerable drink; participants pay their own travel], my Twitter feed lit up like the Macy’s fireworks as The New York Times reported — or rather, all but photocopied — a press release from the News Media Alliance (née Newspaper Association of America) contending that Google makes $4.7 billion a year from news, at the expense of news publishers.

Bullshit.

The Times story itself is appalling as it swallowed the News

Continue reading "News Publishers Go To War With the Internet — and We All Lose"

Its Not Just You: GMail is Down. YouTube is Down. Snapchat, Discord, Uber, More — All Down. Here’s Why.


This post is by Connor Mannion from Mediaite


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Google was hit with a service outage Saturday afternoon, and services like GMail, YouTube, Snapchat, Discord and more went with it. Why? Google’s Cloud Service, which powers a number of other applications, had an outage. When that cloud service is out, then outages happen all across the web, and particularly, in this case, in parts of Europe and the United States., knocking platforms like GMail, Youtube, and Snapchat out of commission. Google Search was still functioning normally as of 4 p.m. Sunday, but GMail and its associated apps were shown as out of commission on the G Suite Status Dashboard. Google said on a status page that it is investigating the issue and expects and update around 6 p.m. Sunday. The issues appear to be mainly affecting users on the East Coast of the United States, according to The Verge. [Images via screencap]

GOP Senator Muses That Breaking Up Big Tech May Not Be Enough: ‘Should These Platforms Exist?’


This post is by Connor Mannion from Mediaite


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A freshman GOP senator said in an interview with NBC that breaking up tech companies like Facebook or Amazon may not be enough. “Should these platforms exist at all?” asked Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) in an interview with NBC News published Saturday. In his questioning of big tech companies, he shares some common cause with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who has called for the break-up of tech giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon. “Today’s big tech companies have too much power — too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy,” Warren wrote in a Medium post. “They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation.” According to Hawley, Warren’s call to break-up the companies may not go far enough. “If we broke Facebook up into Continue reading "GOP Senator Muses That Breaking Up Big Tech May Not Be Enough: ‘Should These Platforms Exist?’"

After four years of handing out money for European news projects, Google is expanding its funding to North America


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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Since Google launched its Digital News Initiative in Europe in 2015, it’s supported 662 European projects with payouts totaling more than €140 million. Now that effort is going global, and that means Google money will become available for North American news organizations: Google announced yesterday that it’s looking to fund digital news projects on this continent. (Well, some of this continent: just the United States, U.S. overseas territories, and only the non-Quebec portion of Canada, for some reason.) Projects will receive funding up to $300,000, with Google financing making up to 70 percent of the total project cost; applications are due July 15 at midnight PT. (It’s not just North America and Europe, by the way: Challenges for Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa will open to applications soon. It’s all overseen by Ludovic Blecher, a 2013 Nieman Fellow.) There’s no indication of how many Continue reading "After four years of handing out money for European news projects, Google is expanding its funding to North America"

Why did Google’s Digital News Innovation Fund offer up to €50,000 to a mouthpiece of Hungary’s authoritarian government?


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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Google — because of some admixture of political pressure, guilt, antitrust fears, and civic-mindedness — is increasingly giving money to news organizations around the world. But as press freedom tightens in many countries, what steps are Google taking to evaluate the news organizations it sends checks to? That’s a question some in Central Europe were asking when they saw that Google, as part of its Digital News Innovation Fund, had given up to €50,000 (US $56,000) to the parent company of a Hungarian site called Origo. Origo is the country’s second most popular news site and was once known for its investigations into corruption. But today, Origo is best known for being a mouthpiece of Hungary’s authoritarian government. “How Origo, a website staffed by pro-government flunkies, will help Hungarian journalism ‘thrive’ is hard to imagine,” wrote MediaPowerMonitor, a “group of writers concerned about the state of independent
Continue reading "Why did Google’s Digital News Innovation Fund offer up to €50,000 to a mouthpiece of Hungary’s authoritarian government?"

Google is putting dollars straight into building local news outlets in a new experiment with McClatchy


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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Google: “Facebook, we see your local news boot camp and conference, and we raise you to funding the creation of local news sites.” The tech giants’ dueling $300 million commitments to news (especially local news) mean they’re following similar signals to boost the industry they grabbed the advertising dollars from. Google today announced a new partnership with McClatchy to fund the creation of three local digital-only, multi-platform publications as part of its new Local Experiments Project. (Here’s a refresher on initiatives using the word local in their name, if that sounds like a mouthful.) Axios’ Sara Fischer had the details first (our link added):
Google is launching the Local Experiments Project, an effort to fund dozens of new local news websites around the country and eventually around the world. The tech giant says it will have no editorial control over the sites, which will be built by Continue reading "Google is putting dollars straight into building local news outlets in a new experiment with McClatchy"

Spotify is still hungry for podcast companies, gobbling up Parcast


This post is by Nicholas Quah from Nieman Lab


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Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 201, published March 26, 2019. Spotify to acquire Parcast, and a Gimlet union update. There are two Spotify stories worth noting: (1) Spotify announced this morning that it’s moving to acquire Parcast, the Los Angeles-based company, founded in 2016 by Max Cutler, that trades in a genre-oriented, high-volume portfolio with broad titles like Serial Killers, Cults, and Unsolved Murders. (My dude Jonah Bromwich at The New York Times has described the company’s fare as “pulp nonfiction” whose “lurid storylines play out like snackable television,” which is a fair assessment, I think.) The terms of the deal were not disclosed, and it’s expected to close in the second quarter of this year. This will be Spotify’s third podcast acquisition, having picked up Gimlet and Anchor for a combined $340 million earlier this year, and it presumably eats Continue reading "Spotify is still hungry for podcast companies, gobbling up Parcast"

The great British brush-off: The BBC and Google are fighting over who gets to control the podcast experience


This post is by Caroline Crampton from Nieman Lab


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The BBC has pulled its podcasts from parts of the Google Podcasts ecosystem, meaning that the People’s Programming is no longer accessible via Google Assistant on Google smart speakers and devices. In a blog post published this morning, Kieran Clifton, the BBC’s director of distribution and business development, explained the move thusly:
Last year, Google launched its own podcast app for Android users — they’ve also said they will launch a browser version for computers soon. Google has since begun to direct people who search for a BBC podcast into its own podcast service, rather than BBC Sounds or other third party services, which reduces people’s choice — an approach that the BBC is not comfortable with and has consistently expressed strong concerns about. We asked them to exclude the BBC from this specific feature but they have refused.
This refers to the integration of the Google Podcasts app Continue reading "The great British brush-off: The BBC and Google are fighting over who gets to control the podcast experience"

Facebook and Google are giving more lip service (and boot camps) to local news


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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On the heels of Facebook’s first local news conference this week, Google announced a new subscription boot camp for eight local publishers in the U.S. and Canada. The Local Media Association is partnering with the Google News Initiative to carry out the six-month program, bringing in consultants to evaluate and revamp their subscription process. “Those chosen must be dedicated to figuring out a subscriptions strategy with buy-in and direct involvement from the highest executives (including the CEO) in their respective companies. They’ll come with open minds, a willingness to experiment and a community spirit built around sharing what they learn along the way. We’re looking to help these eight publishers make significant leaps forward with their subscription businesses, the kinds of leaps that can transform these organizations,” LMA president Nancy Lane wrote in Google’s blog post about the effort. It sounds similar to Facebook’s subscription accelerator for local news Continue reading "Facebook and Google are giving more lip service (and boot camps) to local news"

Scorched Earth


This post is by from BuzzMachine


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I just gave a talk in Germany where a prominent editor charged me with being a doomsayer. No, I said, I’m an optimist … in the long run. In the meantime, we in media will see doom and death until we are brutally honest with ourselves about what is not working and cannot ever work again. Then we can begin to build anew and grow again. Then we will have cause for optimism. Late last year in New York, I spoke with a talented journalist laid off from a digital news enterprise. She warned that there would be more blood on the streets and she was right: In January, more than 2,000 people have lost their jobs at news companies old and now new: Gannett, McClatchy, BuzzFeed, Vice, Verizon. She warned that we are still fooling ourselves about broken models and until we come to terms with that, more blood will flow. So let
Continue reading "Scorched Earth"

Newsonomics: 18 lessons for the news business from 2018


This post is by from Nieman Lab


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We live in transgressive, new-Orwellian times. Fact has been subverted by forces beyond our imagination, both newly minted and old school. Truth, elusive truth, is now in the mind of the subscriber. Yes, it is subscribers, along with their digital payments, who are transforming what’s working best among news-originating companies today and laying the groundwork for the early 2020s. With 2019 nearly upon us, we can look at the year past and see a tired decade dragging to a close, with few winners, numerous strugglers, and caravans of losers. Facebook has fallen flatter on its face, The Social Network is in danger of becoming a social disease. Google maintains its primacy, even as its CEO is called to Capitol Hill to explain how the current president’s name somehow appears when “idiot” is typed into its engine. Greed isn’t just good in the minds of many — it’s the long-term strategy Continue reading "Newsonomics: 18 lessons for the news business from 2018"

Newsonomics: 18 lessons for the news business from 2018


This post is by from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




We live in transgressive, new-Orwellian times. Fact has been subverted by forces beyond our imagination, both newly minted and old school. Truth, elusive truth, is now in the mind of the subscriber. Yes, it is subscribers, along with their digital payments, who are transforming what’s working best among news-originating companies today and laying the groundwork for the early 2020s. With 2019 nearly upon us, we can look at the year past and see a tired decade dragging to a close, with few winners, numerous strugglers, and caravans of losers. Facebook has fallen flatter on its face, The Social Network is in danger of becoming a social disease. Google maintains its primacy, even as its CEO is called to Capitol Hill to explain how the current president’s name somehow appears when “idiot” is typed into its engine. Greed isn’t just good in the minds of many — it’s the long-term strategy Continue reading "Newsonomics: 18 lessons for the news business from 2018"

Macaulay Culkin and Google Team Up for a Home Alone Reboot (Sort of) in Time for the Holidays


This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite


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Home Alone ranks highly among classic Christmas films like Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story, and, of course, Die Hard. And now Kevin McAllister is back just in time for the holiday season. Macaulay Culkin has teamed up with Google for a kinda-sorta reboot where older Kevin is still home alone, but this time he has a friend in his Google Assistant. Fans of the original movie will definitely appreciate a lot of the attention to detail in the ad, which you can watch above. [image via screengrab]

Consumers love smart speakers. They don’t love news on smart speakers. (At least not yet.)


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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Smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are rapidly gaining in popularity, but use of news on the devices is lagging, according to a report released Wednesday night by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Use of the devices for music and weather is still far ahead of news use. And among consumers’ complaints about news briefings: They’re too long. Luckily, there’s time for news publishers to catch up, finds Nic Newman, a senior research associate at RISJ, who did his research via in-home interviews and focus groups, online surveys, and publisher interviews. (He also tapped Amazon, Apple, and Google for whatever data they were willing to share — which, unsurprisingly, wasn’t a lot; none of the companies would share data on how many devices they’ve sold or discuss trends in how news is consumed on them.) Smart speakers are still devices for early adopters:
Continue reading "Consumers love smart speakers. They don’t love news on smart speakers. (At least not yet.)"

The New York Times is digitizing more than 5 million photos dating back to the 1800s


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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The New York Times is digitizing more than 5 million photos from its archives — some dating back to the 1800s — with help from a variety of Google technologies. The photos will be used in a series called Past Tense. (First up: a package focusing on how the paper covered California in the 20th century.) “Ultimately, this digitalization will equip Times journalists with useful tools to make it easier to tell even more visual stories,” Monica Drake, Times assistant managing editor, said in a statement. From CNET:
The newspaper’s “morgue” has 5 million to 7 million photos dating back to the 1870s, including prints and contact sheets showing all the shots on photographers’ rolls of film. The Times is using Google’s technology to convert it into something more useful than its current analog state occupying banks of filing cabinets. Specifically, it’s using Google AI tools to
Continue reading "The New York Times is digitizing more than 5 million photos dating back to the 1800s"

Newsonomics: Newspapers are shells of their former selves. So who’s going to build what comes next in local?


This post is by from Nieman Lab


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Neil Chase knows the painful realities of managing and motivating a daily newsroom in 2018. “You can’t ask dedicated, veteran career journalists to completely change the way they work without explaining why,” the Mercury News executive editor said at a panel discussion I moderated at Stanford two weeks ago. (The panel’s fitting title? “The Last Stand for Local News.”) “So I shared some very simple charts with the newsroom, showing the decline in our circulation and staffing over the past decade, and how that trajectory would put us out of business in the mid-2020s if we don’t make some drastic changes. We then started talking about reorienting the newsroom to serve a digital subscription audience, and we’ve made major progress since.” Chase knows that his staff can still churn out great work, as do many of the 23,000 or so remaining journalists in U.S. daily newsrooms. But Continue reading "Newsonomics: Newspapers are shells of their former selves. So who’s going to build what comes next in local?"

Google’s terrible new news feed thinks I’m mainly interested in misogynists and down jackets


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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What do the following topics have in common: Donald Trump, Kate Middleton, Milo Yiannopoulos, Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” Harvard, James Patterson, and cruelty-free down alternatives? Well, they are all the topics of news stories that appeared in my Google app on Tuesday morning, following a Google update that brings a new “Discover” news feed to Google’s app, under the Google doodle, search box, and weather. HOW ARE YOU DOING THIS MORNING? HERE’S MILO YIANNOPOULOS’S EYEBROWS-RAISED FACE! SURE, HE MAY HAVE BEEN BANISHED FROM TWITTER AND FACEBOOK, BUT HE CAN STILL APPEAR DIRECTLY UNDER YOUR SEARCH FOR “SMITTEN KITCHEN MEATBALLS”! As Dieter Bohn pointed out in The Verge, the introduction of a bunch of random news stories to a place where you didn’t used to see them is — annoying at best, these days. It feels less “interesting stories you might have missed” than “garbage ‘news’ you definitely weren’t
Continue reading "Google’s terrible new news feed thinks I’m mainly interested in misogynists and down jackets"

Gab is Back in the Headlines and Off the Web


This post is by WNYC Studios from On the Media


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The social media website Gab has faced sanction and scorn in the days since one of its active users killed 11 members of Pittsburgh's Jewish community. Gab had, for the past few years, made itself out as a "free speech" harbor, safe from the intellectual strictures of the mainstream web. That is to say, it attracted — and very rarely rejected — hordes of neo-nazis, anti-PC provocateurs and right-wing trolls.  When Brooke interviewed Gab's then-COO Utsav Sanduja last fall, the company was in the midst of an anti-trust lawsuit against Google, claiming the the tech titan had wielded its monopoly power to silence a competitor. Brooke spoke with Sanduja about that lawsuit — and about his website's frequently deplorable content. 

What happens when Facebook goes down? People read the news


This post is by Josh Schwartz from Nieman Lab


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What would the world look like without Facebook? At Chartbeat, we got a glimpse into that on August 3, 2018, when Facebook went down for 45 minutes and traffic patterns across the web changed in an instant. What did people do? According to our data, they went directly to publishers’ mobile apps and sites (as well as to search engines) to get their information fix. This window into consumer behavior reflects broader changes we see taking hold this year around content discovery, particularly on mobile. This is good news for publishers.

Traffic trends reverse

Despite volatility driven by algorithm shifts and intense news cycles, user demand for content (represented by traffic across the web) is quite stable. But the sources of that traffic are anything but static. In fact, we’ve seen a major reversal in the specific sources driving traffic to publisher sites in the past year. Key shifts: