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New ways Google is helping local news

This illustration shows two people looking through different news panels on their phone and on their desktop computer

Update July 12, 2023: On Wednesday, July 12, Google News Showcase in the U.S. started to roll out to readers on Google News and Discover.

Original article: June 8, 2023
Before I joined Google, I worked in a number of roles in local news, including as a news director in Flagstaff, Arizona. Working in radio solidified my love of local stories; our news helped people understand what was going on in their community and how it would impact their families.

Now, I work daily to find ways to support local news organizations, working with our teams at Google on trainings, funding and product solutions for local journalists and news publishers. Our goal is to help them build sustainable businesses, connect with readers and engage audiences. To help address these challenges, today we’re announcing a number of new ways we’re investing in local news organizations in the U.S.

More investment to support local news in the U.S.

The Google News Initiative is launching new partnerships with five news associations to provide financial grants and training to nearly 1,000 local publications across the U.S. This funding will help local publishers overcome tech challenges, and create strategies and tactics for driving audience growth, individual giving and sponsorship revenue.

Publishers that are members of Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION), the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP), Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) & Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) are eligible to apply for these funds. Around 80% of these member publications have 10 or fewer employees.

This announcement builds on other GNI programs that have helped participants see an over 50% increase in digital advertising revenue year over year after they participated in a three-month training program. GNI programs have helped nonprofit newsrooms see a 87% increase in sponsorship revenue, 75% increase in ad revenue and 41% in event revenue.

“For a number of years the National Association of Hispanic Publications has been proud to partner with the Google News Initiative team to build programs that enable publishers to overcome gaps in digital readiness,” says Alvaro Gurdián Jr., Vice President of the NAHP. “Those programs strengthened, and in some cases created, digital revenue streams and put our publishers on a path to sustainability. This new initiative will supercharge those results and impact the entire industry, and all of the communities we serve.”

"Our members have proven themselves indispensable to the communities they serve, boasting devoted and substantial local audiences because of the vital work they do,” says Graham Jarrett, president of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. “However, as small-scale operations, they face challenges in keeping pace with the rapidly evolving digital landscape. These investments will enable us to sustain our vital work and position us for the next generation of journalists and readers."

New features to help people find and follow local news

Later this summer, we will launch News Showcase in the U.S., in partnership with more than 150 news publications, 90% of them local or regional. Our U.S. News Showcase partners are based in 39 states and include publications like Duluth News Tribune in Minnesota, | The Times-Picayune in Louisiana, Oaklandside and La Opinión in California, La Raza in Illinois and Orlando Weekly in Florida, and global and national publications like The Associated Press, Bloomberg, El Diario, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and many more.

We first launched the News Showcase licensing program and product experience for news organizations in 2020, and have since expanded to 22 countries globally with more than 2,300 participating publications.

This GIF shows that 150+ U.S. news publications have signed up for News Showcase. 90% represent local or regional news.

Journalists select important stories to include in their curated News Showcase panels and add useful context to help readers understand key issues. The panels then appear in Google News and Discover, sending readers directly to full articles on a publisher’s website. This helps publishers deepen relationships with their audiences and gives them more direct control of presentation and branding. We’re also paying participating news organizations to give readers access to a limited amount of their paywalled content. This access means readers will have the opportunity to read more of a publisher’s articles than they would otherwise be able to, encouraging them to learn more about the publication — and potentially subscribe.

We’re also announcing today that we’re updating the Following tab on Google News to help local publications surface more frequently on Google News and give readers an easier way to find the news that matters to them. This tab will bring you the latest updates from the topics, sources and locations you select to follow, like your favorite hobby, publication or your hometown. Of course, you'll still be able to see what's making news around the world in the Headlines tab. The updated Follow feature will be available globally on Android soon and then expand to iOS later this year.

This image shows an example of how a new Following tab could look on Google News. It shows a number of local publishers from Boston that a person could have followed to stay up to date on news.

An example of how our Following tab could look on Google News.

A new way to help smaller publishers diversify revenue

In 2018, we launched Subscribe with Google to make it easy for readers to subscribe, stay logged in and get the most out of their news subscription. As we continue to build on our goal of helping publishers deepen their relationship with their readers, we developed new features, expanded access and gave the product a new name: Reader Revenue Manager. Publishers of all sizes can now easily implement subscription or contribution models in addition to newsletter prompts and site registrations, aimed at engaging and retaining readers, all with no programming skills required.

In the coming weeks, we'll also launch a new survey feature. This will help publishers ask their readers questions to better understand their audience and interests, so they can serve more relevant content and advertisements.

Reader Revenue Manager is currently available in the U.S., Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru, with the Asia-Pacific markets and other additional regional launches to follow later this summer.

This image shows an example of how a new feature called Reader Revenue Manager would look with a prompt for contributions with one of our partners, Rough Draft Atlanta

An example of the Reader Revenue Manager contributions prompt with one of our partners, Rough Draft Atlanta

We’re dedicated to supporting local newsrooms across the U.S. — from funding and supporting their business goals, to helping people find and engage more deeply with local news content. Local news is essential to communities and we’re committed to doing our part to support them.

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