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Google chief to address industry gathering amid ‘fair reward’ demands

The head of Google in the UK and Ireland is to deliver this year’s Society of Editors’ Lecture amid growing calls for news publishers to be more fairly rewarded for their contribution to the ‘digital ecosystem.’

The News Media Association has criticised the “digital supply chain” for rewarding the distributors, rather than the originators of content, as well as previously calling on ministers to invesigate Google as part of its inquiry into so-called ‘fake news.’

Ronan Harris, managing director of Google since 2016, will brave what could potentially be a hostile audience when he gives the major address at this year’s SoE conference in November.

He replaces Mail Online publisher Martin Clarke, who was originally slated for the event but has had to withdraw owing to “unforeseen business commitments.”


Ian Murray, deputy executive director of the Society said: “We are delighted that Ronan has accepted our invitation to deliver the prestigious Society of Editor Lecture at our conference in November.

“Google and its emerging role as a major player on the British media scene is one of the most important debates at present and to hear from the recently appointed head of the company here in the UK and Ireland is certain to be a landmark event.”

Mr Harris first joined Google in 2005 after beginning his career with the Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation at their Information Storage Products division in Japan.

Since then he has focused on growing the company’s online advertising sales across Europe and also launched several other Google products and initiatives.

This year’s SoE conference, being held in Cambridge on November 12-13, will focus on the issue of fake news and the importance of original reporting, analysis and comment on both print and digital platforms.

Other  speakers include the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick and Telegraph editor-in-chief Chris Evans.

Earlier today the NMA issued a report underlying its call for news publishers to be more “appropriately rewarded” for their contribution to digital giants such as Google and Facebook.

Vice-chairman David Dinsmore said: “None of the growth in ad revenues is coming back to the publishers who invest billions across the globe in that content creation. News publishers are seeking a fair reward for the considerable value they add to the digital ecosystem.”

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  • September 7, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Ok. Let me get this straight in my head.
    Newspaper publishers have, for many years, drawn attention to businesses and their products and services and have charged an advertising fee to do so on the basis that people are reading their newspapers and might not otherwise have had their attention drawn in such a way.

    Google now draws attention to news stories and by extension the publishers’ other content that people wouldn’t otherwise have seen because they’re no longer buying those newspapers.

    And now newspapers expect to be paid for that? If newspapers seek reward for what they bring to the digital ecosystem then surely their remaining print advertisers deserve reward for what value they add to the print ecosystem?

    And no, that argument makes no sense. But then neither does the newspaper publishers expecting payment from one of the channels that now drive traffic to their content and make sure their digital ads are actually seen.

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