Google News, many initiatives against disinformation and encouraging local journalism

Google presented new tools, dedicated to both readers and publishers, to promote and support local journalism . The main one is basically an extension of the carousel of featured articles related to the COVID pandemic – 19, which appears in the top section of the search results: now its appearance has been expanded to many other topics, including local government initiatives, news, sporting events and much more . It’s rolling out globally today, so it’s easy to see it appear in our own right within the next few days.

Google said to have modified its algorithm to ensure that the news of authoritative local newspapers appear alongside those of the major national newspapers . The software, Google always says, is able to do well in hyperlocal content. For example, just search for a sport of interest and according to your position the results of the groups and of the local teams / athletes will be shown in the carousel.

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As far as publishers are concerned , on the other hand, Google has announced new tools for data collection and analysis, especially aimed at reporters. To begin with, we find Census Mapper, which allows you to show statistical data at the level of nation, region and province – even as parameters such as average age, ethnicity and sheer number have changed over time. For the moment, the Census Mapper Project only supports the United States. In addition, the company announced enhancements to the Common Knowledge Project, a component of the Journalist Studio suite that came out just over a year ago. The system allows you to create graphs, tables and other visual representations of data and statistics from public domain documents.

The news arrives in a a particularly important day for the Google News Initiative , which after about three years and a half since its launch, it reflects on the successes achieved so far and looks to the future. As many as 9 articles about it were published today on The Keyword, the official Google blog; Among the most important innovations, it is worth noting the arrival of two new funds to support investigative journalism in one case, and that of under-represented minorities on a global level in another. The first amounts to 2 million dollars, and will be used to finance investigations aimed in particular at minorities and local communities in the USA and Canada; the second is simply referred to as a “multimillionaire”, and will allow publishers around the world to apply for up to 250. 000 dollars of non-repayable financing. More details will come in the coming months.

Other initiatives include:

  • New partnerships with Student Reporting Labs, News Literacy Project and MediaWise to, respectively, fight the spread of disinformation among students and the very young, improve news understanding in rural areas, and develop courses to identify fake news in Spanish.
  • A new laboratory in partnership with associations such as NNPA NAHP and AAN to reduce the digital divide in Hispanic and Black communities.

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