Google to the local media rescue.
As a follow up to our post originally posted 1/17, updated 2/19, here’s the march update, in a separate post as we’re covering here a Google initiative.
The Local Experiment Project.
[this post is inspired by an Axios post] “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.
Financially supported. Editorially independent.
The tech giant says it will have no editorial control over the sites, which will be built by partners it selects with local news expertise.”
The Compass Experiment.
Is a partnership between Google and McClatchy to launch three new, digital-only local news operations on multiple platforms.
- McClatchy will maintain sole editorial control and ownership of the sites and Google will have no input or involvement in any editorial efforts or decision making.
- Google says the investments will be significant. “We will be spending many millions of dollars on this overall,” says Richard Gingras, Google’s VP of news.
- McClatchy will choose 3 cities that are less than a half million people for the site launches. It hasn’t announced any hiring plans, but people familiar with the efforts say there will eventually be people on the ground in those cities.
- Smaller cities will be the focus. McClatchy CEO Craig Forman says it’s targeting cities with less than a half million people because that’s where local news decay is worst. Gingras says those cities are important because people there have a strong sense of community, which can harder to tap into at the metro and national levels.
Between the lines: McClatchy will be the first of many “experiments” within the Local Experiment Project. The goal is to use the lessons from McClatchy’s efforts, and others in the future, to create a network of shared insights that can be leveraged by everyone in the local news business.
Next? The World!
What’s next: If successful, Google may expand its tools and services to enable others to launch similar sites in other places in the U.S. and around the world. Gingras points to examples of news sites in Canada, France and the U.S. as examples of local news businesses that can thrive with the right strategies and investments.
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