People come to Google looking for information they can trust, and that information often comes from the reporting of journalists and news organizations around the world. And while the demand for quality journalism is as high as it’s ever been, the business of journalism is under pressure, as publications around the world face challenges from an industry-wide transition to digital.
That matters deeply to Google. After all, our mission to build a more informed world is inherently tied to the reporting of journalists and news organizations. Our shared mission also reflects shared business interests. Platforms like Search and YouTube depend on a healthy ecosystem of publishers producing great digital content. That’s why it’s so important to us that we help you drive sustainable revenue and businesses. Last year, we paid $12.6 billion to partners and we drove 10 billion clicks a month to publishers’ websites for free.
It’s also why over the years, we’ve worked closely with the news industry to address key challenges. We worked with the industry to launch the open-source Accelerated Mobile Pages Project to improve the mobile web, YouTube Player for Publishers to simplify video distribution and reduce costs, Flexible Sampling to help with discovery of news content on Google, Google News Lab to provide newsrooms with trainings and editorial partnerships, and the Digital News Initiative to drive innovation in the European news industry.
We invested a lot time and energy in these collaborations. But the hard truth is—all of this might not be enough. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish what’s true (and not true) online. Business models for journalism continue to change drastically. The rapid evolution of technology is challenging all institutions, including the news industry—to keep pace.
We need to do more. That’s why we’re launching the Google News Initiative (GNI), our effort to help journalism thrive in the digital age. The GNI signifies a major milestone in Google’s 15-year commitment to the news industry, and will bring together everything we do in collaboration with the industry—across products, partnerships, and programs—to help build a stronger future for news.
The GNI will build on these efforts and deepen our commitment to a news industry facing dramatic shifts in how journalism is created, consumed, and paid for. It’s focused on three objectives:
- Elevate and strengthen quality journalism
- Evolve business models to drive sustainable growth
- Empower news organizations through technological innovation
Elevate and strengthen quality journalism
Over the past few years, we’ve worked with publishers to elevate accurate, quality content and stem the flow of misinformation and disinformation.
On our own platforms, we’re focused on combating misinformation during breaking news situations. Bad actors often target breaking news on Google platforms, increasing the likelihood that people are exposed to inaccurate content. So we’ve trained our systems to recognize these events and adjust our signals toward more authoritative content. There are comparable challenges on YouTube, and we’re taking a similar approach, highlighting relevant content from verified news sources in a “Top News” shelf.
But we’re also working directly with news organizations to combat misinformation. We’re launching the Disinfo Lab alongside the First Draft to combat mis- and disinformation during elections and breaking news moments. Finally, to help consumers distinguish fact from fiction online, we’re teaming up with the Poynter Institute, Stanford University, and the Local Media Association to launch MediaWise, a U.S. project designed to improve digital information literacy for young consumers.