Google News: Survival of the Fittest

Krishna Bharat, the creator of Google News, is optimistic about the future of journalism. He believes it can survive as long as it adapts to the changes within the industry. In an interview conducted at the IJ-7 conference at Stanford University, which was dedicated to Innovation Journalism, Bharat had identified five specific goals on the path to the success and survival of news organzations:

Bharat’s five suggestions for news organizations’ survival include:

1. Find a niche, whether location-based or topic-oriented.
2. Maximize use of social media.
3. Allow flexible payment options for readers to access content.
4. Increase efficacy of ads.
5. Use creative packaging of content, including streaming content from other publishers.

In many ways, Google News is systematically tackling these goals itself. At least two items from Bharat’s list tie in with recent reports regarding Google News.

According to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Google has been contacting Italian publications about a new payment system called Newspass. Using Newspass, publishers would receive micropayments for links to their content from Google News. Publishers could use the same system to charge for content on the web as well as mobile and tablet devices. Users would be able to purchase content with just one click via Google Checkout.

Marketing Vox writes:

One of the challenges of monetizing news content has been that news is available for free from so many sources that a user always has the option to choose another source. But if there were a single, simple payment system that news sources could use, more would likely be eager to jump on the paid content bandwagon, resulting in fewer free sources of news.

Google News has also begun partnering with handpicked news providers for a new experimental feature called “Editor’s Picks.” The search engine will aggregate stories from the partners’ content. The story selection will not be made by algorithms, but by actual employees at partner organizations.

Current partners include The Washington Post, Newsday, Reuters, and Slate. Fewer than a dozen news providers will participate in the experiment, and only certain Google News users will be able to view it. Megan Garber at Nieman Journalism Lab was able to view the new feature and has included some screen captures of Editor’s Picks on the Lab’s blog.

Source: “Google looks to failed searches to find story ideas,” Journalism.co.uk, 06/18/10
Source: “Google News Creator Says Journalism Is Here to Stay,” EverythingPR, 06/16/10
Source: “Google News to Experiment With Editorial Discretion,” Fishbowl LA, 06/11/10
Source: “Google May Start Letting Publishers Promote Stories in Google News,” WebProNews, 06/11/10
Source: “Google News Introduces A Human Touch,” Fishbowl NY, 06/11/10
Source: “Google Paid Content Offering for Newspapers Arrives Soon,” Marketing Vox, 06/21/10
Source: “Would a Google ‘Newspass’ Work Better Than its Existing Paid Content Options?,” WebProNews, 06/21/10
Source: “Google’s Newspass: Is the King of Free About to Help News Providers Get Paid?,” The New York Times‘ Media Decoder blog, 06/20/10
Source: “Google News experiments with human control, promotes a new serendipity with Editors’ Picks,” Nieman Journalism Lab, 06/10/10
Image by manfrys, used under its Creative Commons license.

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