Tag Archives: Google News Initiative

A look at how news at Google works

During the tragic events of September 11, 2001, people struggled to find timely, trustworthy news and information in Google Search. When they looked for information about what was going on in New York, our algorithms showed results about the city’s history or recommendations for travelers.

Soon after, in 2002, we launched Google News to solve this problem. We built Google News’ homepage to help users discover diverse perspectives from multiple news outlets about the news of the day, prompting them to dive deeper into individual articles and making it easier to compare different views.

Over the past 17 years, we have integrated that thinking into the news products and features we have built for Google Search, YouTube, the Assistant, Discover and more. During this same time, the online news ecosystem has become richer, more diverse and more complex. The modern news industry creates opportunities for everyone to explore more of the world than we ever could before, and to be exposed to perspectives we may not have encountered otherwise. That said, it can also make it difficult to stay informed and to understand which sources to trust.

In response to these changes, we continue to evolve our news experiences in Google products. While we’ve already done a lot to explain How Google Search Works, people often ask us how we go about building news experiences in Google Search, Google News, Discover, YouTube or the Assistant. So today, we are launching a How News Works website to do just that. It outlines the objectives of our work, the principles we follow and the approaches we take in the design of news experiences in Google products.

Supporting the news ecosystem, and its readers

Google aims to help everyone better understand the world by connecting them with high quality news from a variety of perspectives. We do this in real-time for Google News editions around the world. The algorithms used for our news experiences analyze hundreds of different factors to identify and organize the stories journalists are covering, in order to elevate diverse, trustworthy information.

Google does not make editorial decisions about which stories to show, except for the infrequent case of designated topical experiences. In these cases, we may want to make sure that there is a dedicated topic in Google News for a significant event, such as the Oscars or World Cup. We make it clear to users when these topical experiences take place.

News experiences rely on the sustainability of high-quality journalism, so we strive to help journalism flourish by bringing new audiences to publishers. Google’s news products and features send web traffic to news sources all around the world, helping them expand their reach. In addition, we develop tools to help publishers turn their readers into subscribers, and the Google News Initiative offers programs to help address industry-wide challenges and fuel innovation in journalism.

How we build news experiences

Everyone has different expectations and preferences when it comes to exploring news. Over the course of one day, we might want to know the stories that are on top of the day’s agenda, get the latest on topics that we personally care about or get more context about a story we want to explore further. That’s why Google provides three distinct but interconnected ways to discover news across our products and devices:

  • Top News, for everyone, with features like Headlines in Google News or Breaking News on YouTube. They showcase the important stories being covered at a given point in time, and are not personalized.

  • News personalized for you, with products like Discover or features like For You in Google News, or the Latest tab of the YouTube app on TVs, that help you stay informed about subjects that matter to you.

  • Deep context and diverse perspectives, featuring unpersonalized news from a broad range of sources within Top Stories in Search, Top News search results on YouTube or Full Coverage in Google News.

New features need to pass a rigorous evaluation process that involves both live tests and thousands of trained external Search quality raters around the world. We also seek user feedback before and after product launches to understand how to further improve the services we provide.

You will find more information about these topics on our How News Works website, including some of the signals our ranking systems look at and more details about the news experiences currently available on Google.

Newsmakers: Storytelling through numbers with Alberto Cairo

Editor’s note: We’re celebrating innovation in journalism through a series of interviews with changemakers from across the news industry. Through the “Newsmakers” series, you’ll get to know a few of the journalists, newsroom leaders, researchers and technologists who are shaping the future of news.

Alberto

When a major news event takes place, we’re all familiar with reading written stories. But sometimes journalism goes beyond the written word, conveying information visually.  Beyond photographs, data visualizations are an emerging field where journalists take large sets of data—think the US census or statistics around Android users around the world—and turn that information into charts, graphs and maps.

Alberto Cairo has spent his career making data more accessible, and visually interesting, too. The University of Miami professor is also an author and a  freelance visualization designer. His new book, How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information, will be published this Fall. Alberto is collaborating with Google to showcase Trends data on projects like the lifespan of a news story and tutorials for emerging data journalists, plus the ever-important questions around the habits of cats and dogs.

This week, Alberto shares his thoughts on the skills that are necessary to tell visual stories with data and the evolution of this emerging field in journalism.

How did you get started working in data journalism?

I began by happenstance. I studied journalism and visual design, but my original goal was to become a radio journalist. I even interned at the local branch of my national public radio station in A Coruña, Spain, where I was born.


In the last year of getting my journalism degree at Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, one of my professors, Marita Otero, recommended me for an internship in the graphics department of my hometown newspaper, La Voz de Galicia. Professor Otero knew that I could sketch stuff out and think visually. I've always used diagrams and illustrations to communicate complex concepts or to help myself remember things. I fell in love with information graphics thanks to the team at La Voz de Galicia, and I have been in this business ever since.

Break this down for the non-experts. How do you approach a new collection of data full that’s of unfamiliar facts and statistics?

To deal with data  you need to have subject matter expertise, which is something that we journalists lack. My recommendation is to always try to partner up with people who know more than you do about the data, because they will help you interpret it, avoid mistakes, and answer questions like where the data came from and what it’s measuring. I’ve made too many mistakes myself for not following my own advice.

The expertise that I can provide is not around the data itself, but about how to represent it graphically.  I don't consider myself a data journalist in the sense of someone who analyzes data, but I can design visual representations of numbers in collaboration with scientists or statisticians.

How has technology enabled you to tell stories in new and innovative ways?

I began my career more than 20 years ago when visualization software tools weren’t nearly as advanced as they are today. Nowadays, there is a huge variety of powerful and often free or open-source tools to design data visualizations. Point and click software solutions like Flourish have lowered the barrier to entering visualization, making it possible for anyone to get started in our field.

Pairing the existence of plentiful, easy to learn tools with a strong understanding of best practices in presenting data is the key for the future of data visualization.

Flourish

A template in Flourish, a data visualization program. 

What do you think the future of your job and you industry will look like?

There are many emerging trends that may signal where visualizations are going. 

Some of the techniques are coming from other fields. Building off approaches from traditional film documentaries, I expect to see a rise in narrative visualizations that have additional layers, like voiceovers, to help explain data. We are also borrowing from the world of video games. Graphics that let you create alternative scenarios, see different explanations of the same phenomena, or compare yourself to other people are becoming popular because they increase understanding and engagement.

Data visualizations as we think of them today may not be the limit. Data is currently being printed into 3D space to create physical representations, and data sonification has been around for a while. We recently launched TwoTone, a browser-based tool to sonify data, created by Datavized in collaboration with the Google News initiative. Presenting data beyond sight through other senses —hearing, smell, taste, or touch — gets me really excited. These techniques may increase accessibility.

Taking the initiative with data journalism

Every day, reporters produce insightful stories about how the world is changing, and data journalism is an important tool for telling these stories. But experimenting with data journalism can be time consuming and costly, so the Google News Initiative is releasing more data journalism trainings, online resources and tools—while working with leaders in the field to make sure newsrooms have the support they need to be successful. Here’s a quick overview of what’s coming.

In-person training

We’re funding the Investigative Reporters and Editors’ “Data in Local Newsrooms Training program” to bring free training to journalists in their own newsrooms. The IRE will select 10 newsrooms in the U.S. and Canada to participate, teaching more than 200 journalists the most up-to-date-techniques, and providing ongoing support for their projects.

Investigative Reporters and Editors hosting a newsroom training.png

Investigative Reporters and Editors hosting a newsroom training.

Over the years, journalists have told us that training on basic tools—like Google Trends, Google Maps, and Google Earth—speeds up their work, so they can spend more effort on their reporting and carving out time for other projects. We’re continuing our five years’ funding of the Society of Professional Journalists Training Program, with a refocused effort on providing Google tools training at major conferences, conventions and regional SPJ events where eager journalists convene, reaching an estimated 4,000 journalists by March 2020.

Online training

This fall we’re funding the launch of Data Journalism MOOCs with the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. They are multi-week online courses—available in English, Spanish and Portugese— that cover the basics of data journalism with interactive exercises and reading assignments. Participants can connect with others taking the course, allowing them to ask questions, get feedback and network with others. With funding from Google, the MOOCs will reach journalists who wouldn’t be able to receive training otherwise.

Beyond the MOOCs, journalists can learn new skills from the GNI training center. Soon we’ll add lessons on how to use Google Sheets for data journalism, transcribe audio in Google Docs, and visualize data in Google Data Studio, with training available in multiple languages. After completing the training, you’ll get a certificate to demonstrate that you’ve taken the time to advance your  skills.

Lastly, datajournalism.com—launched by European Journalism Centre and supported by the GNI—is a new hub for data journalists with lessons, the Data Journalism Handbook and a community of over 9,000 data journalists and students.

Visual tools

To help data journalists tell stories in new ways, we provide access to Google data, data visuals and new tools to visualize and analyze data. Recently we worked with design studio Datavized to create TwoTone, a tool that turns data into sound; Morph, which creates animated visuals from data and a new version of Data Gif Maker, which creates animated data gifs. As another example, Data Commons brings together public datasets to make them easier to mash up together. Check out more examples of our tools and visuals.


Data shows interest in Halloween costumes for dogs, cats, birds, horses.gif

Make easy animated data visualizations with Data Gif Maker

Bringing journalists together to learn new skills

The Investigative Reporters and Editors conference, National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting International Symposium on Online Journalism, and the Excellence in Journalism conference provide an opportunity for journalists to connect with their colleagues and leaders in the field, and expose journalists to the latest tools and techniques. We’re sponsoring these events, as well as offering sessions on machine learning, data visualization, Google tools for verification and fact checking, safety and security online and more.

Do you want to work with us on new ways to tell stories with data? Contact us at newslabtrends@google.com.

A day in the life of a local reporter

Editor’s note: Manny Ramos is a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. He joined the Chicago Sun-Times as part of Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project that works to strengthen local journalism through placing emerging journalists into newsrooms around the country, with support from the Google News Initiative.

I look forward to my half-hour train ride into work every morning.

I can look out the window as it twists and turns itself through neighborhoods with the sun casting its stark lighting on the floor of the train car. I sometimes get lost in thought while following the light as the train wheels rhythmically clank on the tracks.

But the reason I love this ride is that it’s a reminder of how neighborhoods can change from block to block. One moment you see abandoned buildings boarded up, and the next moment you see street graffiti appropriated for new brunch spots.

For almost a year now I have been riding this train as I head into the office where I work as a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. I am one of 13 journalists with Report for America who have been placed in newsrooms across the country to help bolster hyperlocal community news in areas that are often overlooked.

And for me, that means covering areas like the one I grew up in.

Last week, as I was commuting into the office, I started wondering how neighborhoods have changed since the 2008 housing crisis. I started seeing vast stretches of land that were vacant, and I wondered: Were houses once there? And if so, what happened to them, and what history dissipated with the demolition of those homes?

When I got into the office that day, I immediately began to search random addresses on the city’s Southwest Side, a neighborhood that has seen a significant number of residential homes demolished. Before I went into a city block to report and gather sources, I wanted to be able to see how that block looked before the demolitions started ramping up.  

I jumped in a virtual time machine through Google Maps’ Street View and saw how the neighborhood looked in 2007. As I toggled through the years, I saw homes razed to the ground.   

I started collecting a list of addresses I was interested in viewing, and compiled the list based on the maps. Then I set out to visit city blocks, and that's when I met 3-year-old Harmony.

Harmony loved eating Cheetos and collecting rocks for me to hold as I walked down the street with her mother, Marquita. As I spoke with Marquita about how her block has changed over the last 10 years Harmony would playfully interject to lighten the mood.

I already knew what the neighborhood looked like in the past, but Marquita shared intimate details of the people who once lived on her block. That history has been voided, and is only kept through her memory now.

Marquita has lived on this block her entire life, and Harmony has for most of her short life as well. But the neighborhood that Marquita grew up in will be one starkly different than the one Harmony will grow to know.

Still, they smile for my camera. And I get back on the train and head back to the office to tell their story.

Newsmakers: Reporting in rural India with Kavita Devi

Editor’s note: This year, we’re celebrating innovation in journalism through a series of interviews with changemakers from across the news industry. Through the “Newsmakers” series, you’ll get to know a few of the journalists, newsroom leaders, researchers and technologists who are shaping the future of news. Founded in 2002, Khabar Lahariya is an all women-run rural news organization based in India. As an entirely digital organization doing on-the-ground reporting in India's small towns and villages, they believe in the power of technology to tell stories that matter. 

There are 200 million Dalits in India, but you wouldn't know that from the country's mainstream media. Once known as the “untouchable” class in the Indian caste system, the Dalit community has been repressed for centuries and to this day are underrepresented in mainstream media.

Kavita Devi's work aims to change that. As a co-founder and Head of Digital at Khabar Lahariya, a regional women-run news organization that’s focused on telling unheard stories from remote, rural areas, Kavita Devi is one of the few female editors of Dalit heritage in all of India.

Over the past three years, she has helped the organization transition from a printed newspaper to a digital-only news platform focused on video news, reflecting the changing user behavior of their readers. She also hosts "The Kavita Show," the region's first weekly video program to be anchored by a Dalit woman.

Translated from Hindi by her colleagues, Kavita Devi explained to The Keyword how technology is helping her newsroom shine light on issues facing rural communities that are so small, they don’t even exist on many maps.

Kavita Interviewing

Kavita interviewing for a story on maternal healthcare

How did you first get started in journalism? 

I became a journalist when I began my work at Khabar Lahariya in 2002. Before Khabar Lahariya, I never dreamed that I could have a job like being a journalist. It changed my life.

I really struggled to access education and knew how hard it was to build a team of women like myself. As Khabar Lahariya grew, we started hiring non-literate women, to give them opportunities to learn the professional skills of reporting, marketing and production, and began the business of publishing a local newspaper.

What’s one thing that the industry should do more?

Stories of disenfranchised citizens in small towns and rural areas have been simmering for years. But these have been untold or ignored by mainstream and elite media organizations. Local reporting in India has been fraught with concerns of bias or quality, as newsrooms have cut down on or not invested in journalists in these areas. Many local news organizations focus on advertisements and sponsorships over storytelling at a local level. Stories of oppression and underdevelopment of areas inhabited by Dalits, Muslims and those living on the margins of society are untold or underreported.

Journalists should not be distant from the communities they serve. Newsrooms need to invest in diversity. More people, including women from local communities, should be leaders in news and leadership positions shouldn’t be limited to the few who run major media outlets.  

What major changes are you currently seeing in the news industry?

Collaborations between media platforms and social media platforms are the big industry disruptions that we are witnessing right now. I also think that digital platforms—both independent and owned by large media—have made news travel across locations. We’ve seen that in the way some large urban/English platforms are collaborating with smaller, non-urban news platforms. While these are fairly new and limited at the moment, there is potential for these collaborations to make news real and meaningful to many more people. Such collaborations can also ensure that stories about local people are heard at the national and international level.

Kavita with Meera

Kavita and Meera checking their phones - Credit Black Ticket Films

What new technology do you think has the power to change newsrooms for the good of the public?

Technology that is easily accessible to people at the bottom of the pyramid is most effective. In the last two years, YouTube and WhatsApp have revolutionized how people access and share news and they have changed the way our newsroom works in a very positive way.

These tools are available to everyone using the internet, and news on these platforms travels fast. YouTube has helped Khabar Lahariya jump the literacy barriers. We’ve been able to reach many more women and non-literate people in villages through the platform. We’ve seen that our outreach on YouTube is the highest in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh and audience engagement with our news there is also very high.

What would you say to a student thinking of entering journalism as a future career?

I’d say this is a good field to enter now. Very few people do this, especially women and in small towns and rural areas. It challenges stereotypes. I’d say tell her that there are role models—like us—and we’d be happy to support her with trainings and other opportunities.

McClatchy and Google partner on an experimental lab for local news

Editor’s note: The Google News Initiative is marking its first anniversary with a look at the collaborations and work that has taken place over the last year, as well as what’s planned for the coming year. One of the key programs we’re launching today is the GNI Local Experiments Project. The goal of the program will be testing new approaches in local business models to help the industry as a whole learn what works and what doesn’t. The first effort to emerge is with McClatchy and their Compass Experiment. The following post is by their President and CEO Craig Forman.

At this important time for local news, McClatchy is expanding its partnership with Google to explore and experiment with new sustainable business models for authoritative news and essential information to communities.

Today, we’re introducing The Compass Experiment, which will provide local news coverage to three small to mid-sized U.S. communities that don’t have access to significant local sources of news and information. The effort will be a part of the Local Experiments Project of the Google News Initiative.

Over the next three years, the McClatchy team will launch these new digital-only local news operations on multiple platforms, in collaboration with a team of experts at Google, which is helping support the effort financially. The sites will be 100 percent McClatchy owned and operated and McClatchy will maintain sole editorial control and ownership of the content. Google will have no input or involvement in any editorial efforts or decision making.

The Compass Experiment isn’t about making incremental improvement for local news. It’s about coming up with new approaches, and harnessing the expertise of both McClatchy and Google to create new models. While we don’t know what this will look like at the end of three years, we share a vision for the value and potential impact this collaborative work will have on the local media industry. Our two companies know each other well, having worked closely together over more than a decade—most notably when McClatchy played a key role as one of the launch partners for Subscribe with Google last year.

Our objective at McClatchy is to explore new models for independent local news and information. Google’s objective is to test the business models and operational aspects necessary to succeed in local news. Ultimately, those findings may lead to Google expanding its tools and services to enable other companies to do similar work.

Further details about the Compass Experiment (including locations) will be announced in the coming months. Over time, we’ll share what we’re learning through case studies that cover what’s worked and what’s scalable.

The importance of local journalism and its essential impact on local communities has never been more vital. McClatchy’s 162-year expertise in local news combined with Google’s expertise in technology will help create new paths. Today marks a meaningful step forward.

Sparking new ideas in news with global Innovation Challenges

The news industry has a serious challenge ahead: building a successful, sustainable business model for high quality journalism in the digital age. Looking at ways to help this industry-wide transition to digital, last year we launched the Google News Initiative, along with a $300 million commitment to help journalism thrive.

Google has also supported 662 European news organizationswith funds to support innovative ideas in the last three years. Those projects addressed some of the industry’s most pressing issues—everything from new business models to new methods of fact-checking. Building on this experience, we’re announcing a new program: the GNI Innovation Challenges.

$30 million, two years, five regions of the world

To kickstart innovation globally, we will allocate $30 million over the next two years to launch up to five regional editions of the Challenges program, covering the North America, Middle East and Africa, Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific regions. Publishers in different parts of the world have told us about issues specific to their regions, and suggested the need for diverse approaches. This is why each Challenge will be designed around a theme that meets their local requirements.

The Innovation Challenges will be open to organizations of every size that look to produce original journalism. These projects should aim to enlighten citizens with trustworthy content and focus on encouraging a more sustainable news ecosystem. The full details about eligibility, as well as the theme, will be published on our website when each regional challenge opens up its application process. For the recently concluded Innovation Challenge in Asia Pacific, the key focus was on reader revenue.

As you’d expect from such a diverse region, we saw a lot of excitement for the Challenge, resulting in 215 applications from 18 countries covering a broad range of news organizations. The applications went through a rigorous assessment process, which concluded with a jury panel made up of a mix of Google executives and external experts from the Asia-Pacific news industry.

In the end, 23 projects from 14 countries were selected for funding, including CommonWealth Magazine, a Taiwanese news magazine, which will be working on an improved paywall to increase subscriptions. Other projects include an experiment by Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper, to allow readers to give a “tip” to valuable stories to encourage engagement by potential subscribers, and The Record, Nepal’s first membership-supported news site. You can read full details of the winners on our website.

Next, we will be opening applications for projects that help support local news in Europe and North America. We will soon announce the main topic for the Challenges in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

Sharing what we’ve learned from the Challenges

We believe this regional approach will allow us to be responsive to individual regions’ needs. And in that spirit, we plan to adapt the program as we learn from the various GNI Challenges globally and hope they will play a meaningful role in working towards a globally sustainable and regionally relevant news environment.

To find out more and apply, check our website for more details.

Here are the winners of the GNI Innovation Challenge in Asia Pacific

Last November, we launched the Google News Initiative (GNI) Asia Pacific Innovation Challenge, aimed at strengthening our support of digital innovation and new business models in news organizations across the APAC region. Through our work and partnership with publishers, it’s clear that reader revenue is key to their financial stability. We want to support innovators in this space—those who are pioneering approaches that involve everything from granting digital currency to subscription-based membership models.


Within two months of opening up the Innovation Challenge, we received 215 applications from 18 countries. We heard from news startups in Indonesia, web publishers in Mongolia and Nepal, and video and audio broadcasters in Australia. After a rigorous review, a round of interviews and a thorough jury selection process, we ended up providing support to 23 projects in 14 countries—amounting to a total of $3.2 million.


Creative approaches to reader revenue


When we called for applications, we listed four criteria: impact, feasibility, innovation and inspiration. The winners demonstrated a combination of each. Several themes emerged from the applications we reviewed, including:

  • Building or renovating membership models:For startups, this may just mean building a membership model. For established players, this can include creating group subscriptions, more responsive platforms and better targeted newsletters. Crikey, an independent news organization based in Australia, has over 90 percent of its total revenue coming from individual subscribers. With the GNI funding, they plan to build a new subscription offering that can be tailored to organizations, businesses and groups of all sizes.

  • Leveraging machine learning and AI to surface more engaging content:A handful of organizations used trends emerging from big data to surface relevant and engaging content to potential subscribers. CommonWealth Magazine, a Taiwanese news organization, built a paywall in 2017 and enjoyed early success. It will now make this model more dynamic, leveraging AI and machine learning to develop personalized content—including a customized newsletter—to increase and improve reader engagement.

  • Gamification to create community-wide sharing:A final category learnt how to gamify the process of sharing or commenting on content. News organizations are experimenting with rewarding especially engaged readers with badges or tokens that can be used to pay for access to events. Asahi Shimbun, a national news publisher in Japan, believes that readers will be experimenting with gamification via tips. Tips are a common way of expressing their gratitude or affection, so why not extend this to the world of journalism? They will be issuing points to subscribers in order for them to “tip” stories and helping expand the market to non-subscribers so that they can do the same.

There were 20 others that received GNI support, all equally impressive in their own right. Check them out here: 

GNI APAC Innovation Challenge

Finally, to every organization who applied, thank you for your time and effort. There will be a second round of the APAC GNI Innovation Challenge later this year, and we encourage you all to re-apply. Watch out for details on our website.

New data tools from the Google News Initiative, built for publishers

Thirteen years ago, as a new manager in the Strategic Planning department at The New York Times, my boss shared an article about what it takes to transform your organization into one that's “data-driven."  As someone who loves numbers, I was thrilled. Data means rigor, in both thinking and processes. I knew it was critical for evaluating where we were and where we wanted to go. Now, with more than ten years under my belt at the Times, and another three at Google, I have a more nuanced view of the complexity required to become truly data-centered—particularly what it means for people, processes and the technological obstacles that must be overcome.

It’s this appreciation for the power and challenges of mastering data that drives much of our work with the Google News Initiative. And today, we're introducing a suite of new resources and programs to help news organizations with their data, including using data to drive business decisions, creating foundational data strategies and understanding data capabilities and gaps.

Realtime Content Insights: Informing content and product strategy with audience data

A year ago, we launched News Consumer Insights: a report built on top of Google Analytics that helps news organizations of all sizes understand and segment their audiences with a subscriptions strategy in mind. Thousands of news organizations around the world, including BuzzFeed News, Business Insider, Conde Nast and Village Media, have used this tool to measure, understand and grow their businesses.

Today, we’re launching a new, free insights tool called Realtime Content Insights (RCI), built to help newsrooms make quick, data-driven decisions on content creation and distribution. Journalists will be able to identify which articles are the most popular across their audience and what broader topics are trending in their regions. RCI also helps newsrooms visualize their data with a full screen display mode. It’s now available for publishers using all versions of Google Analytics.

The RCI “Newsroom View” feature, which displays in full screen real-time data from publishers' top articles.

RCI’s “Newsroom View” feature, which displays in full screen real-time data from your top articles.

Propensity to Subscribe: Using data to improve user experiences and unlock reader revenue

Last year we also launched Propensity to Subscribe, a signal within Google Ad Manager based on machine learning models, to help publishers identify who’s likely to pay for content and who isn't. Publishers can use this signal to present potential subscribers with the right offer at the right time. We’re making progress on our propensity modeling: early tests from our model suggest that readers in the top 20 percent of likely subscribers are 50 times more likely to subscribe than readers in the bottom 20 percent. As of today, we’re in a closed beta of product development with 11 partners, including the Washington Post and McClatchy. We plan to integrate this signal within Subscribe with Google later this year.

GNI Data Lab: Transform your advertising business through responsible data use

As anyone who’s worked with a 500-row spreadsheet can tell you, more data doesn’t always lead to better decisions. That’s why we created the GNI Data Lab, in collaboration with The Local Media Association, enable selected news organizations to transform their businesses through responsible data use. Six publishers will be selected to participate in the Lab, and will undergo a 12-week-long program to understand and improve their underlying data capabilities. They’ll also receive support to build and test new digital advertising strategies, including:

  • Serving the most relevant advertisements to readers based on context and reader behavior
  • Optimizing advertising pricing based on the behavior of different audience segments
  • Optimizing the mix across direct sales, private marketplaces, and open auctions

As with the GNI Subs Lab announced last week, we’ll share best practices with the broader community of news organizations.

Data Maturity Benchmark: Assess your data capabilities and move up the scale

The first step to improving your data capabilities is understanding where you are compared to other companies in your field. That’s why today, in collaboration with Deloitte, we’re introducing a Data Maturity Benchmarking Tool that will help publishers assess their data maturity, compare themselves to other news organizations and take steps to improve. The tool accompanies a new report published today by Deloitte that examines how news and media companies can use data to increase user engagement on digital platforms and drive value through the monetization of those platforms.

A screenshot of the Data Maturity Benchmarking Tool on a mobile phone.

The Data Maturity Benchmark, which shows news companies how they score on data maturity.

Those of us working on the Google News Initiative believe that data, if used securely and responsibly, is a key contributor to news organizations’ digital success. To learn more about our data tools, you can access the new Realtime Consumer Insights tool here, take the Data Maturity Benchmarking assessment here, and download the Data Activation guide here.

How I teach my friends to know what’s actually true online

Editor's note: Madelyn Knight, 18, is a senior at Southport High School in Indianapolis and is the editor-in-chief of the school news magazine, The Journal. She was recently awarded the 2019 Indiana High School Journalist of the Year by the Indiana High School Press AssociationMediaWise is part of the Google News Initiative and is a Google.orgfunded partnership between The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG), theLocal Media Association(LMA) and the National Association for Media Literacy Education(NAMLE). MediaWise aims to teach one million students how to discern fact from fiction online by 2020.

The average time I spend on my phone each day is four hours and 48 minutes, according to a screen-time tracker on my smartphone. Three of these hours are devoted almost entirely to being on social media. When my friends from my high school use the same trackers, their results are similar to mine.

This means that every day, for three or more hours a day, I am exposed to an endless amount of information, and not all of it is true. Each day, I scroll through social media feeds, liking and commenting on my favorite posts. And every once in a while, I come across a post that makes me stop. Maybe it’s a claim about the world ending or a cool solar event captured by NASA. Maybe it’s about a new government policy or the latest celebrity news. But almost every time, I stop and think, “Is this real?”

In this area, I have an advantage over my peers. I am a student journalist, who has learned about media literacy and how news spreads. I’ve learned about fact-checking and bias within news sites because of being on my school’s news magazine. I know that not everything on the internet is true.

But not all of my friends are that lucky. I know that not everyone is as aware that there may be false information, and they don’t have the knowledge to combat it.

This is why we need MediaWise. Today’s teenagers and children have quite literally grown up on the internet. Yet we aren’t taught how to tell if something shared on the internet is real. It only makes sense to give teenagers a guide to notice the signs and how to conduct their own research on something they see online.

The first time I heard about MediaWise was at the High School Journalism Institute at Indiana University the summer before the beginning of my senior year. At the time, MediaWise had just begun, and they weren’t sure how or when they were going to have teens help fact-check. However, I knew I wanted to be a part of MediaWise right away. I kept up with the details and emails until finally, I joined theteen fact-checking network for the winter session in January.

As a part of the network, I’ve had the opportunity to make videos for MediaWise’s social media platforms, teaching people how to fact-check what they see online. One of my favorite tricks and tips is thereverse Google Image search, which makes finding an image on the internet super simple. I used it in my first fact-check, and I think it’s probably one of the most useful tools out there. What I noticed, however, is that a lot of my friends and peers didn’t even know it existed. Because of that fact-check, I know I am teaching people my age how to use that resource and create a simpler, more accurate online world.

Personally, I’ve definitely adjusted the way I look at the internet. When I show my friends a meme, they always joke, “Hey! Did you fact-check that?” They’ve sent me links to posts I could possibly fact-check, and that means they, too, are thinking about what they see online. It helps me realize that what I am doing is actually making a difference.

Being a teen fact-checker with MediaWise has taught me a lot about myself. But mostly, it’s taught me that I have the ability to make a difference in the world. I’m no longer complaining that people don’t know what they’re talking about online. I’m actually showing them how they can get better.