A new partnership to showcase independent community journalism and create a new revenue stream for hyperlocal publishers has been unveiled today.
In what it is calling a “watershed moment” for the industry, the Independent Community News Network has partnered with the tech giant to enable hyperlocals to take part in the Google News Showcase.
The showcase project, which sees publishers paid a fee for the content that appears on it, has so far mainly benefited bigger publishers.
However the ICNN, via its public interest interest news gateway Ping News, has negotiated a deal with Google which has enabled 45 independent titles to sign up to the project.
The ICNN said the financial support provided by Google would help build “much-needed sustainability” into hyperlocal publishing ventures as well as cementing the sector within the “wider journalism ecosystem.”
“The deal is one-of-a-kind for independent publishers in the UK. So far the majority of organisations that have partnered with Google on the Showcase project have been traditional news publishers,” it said in a statement.
“With the upcoming launch of our public interest news gateway, Ping News, ICNN has sought to create new revenue streams for the independent sector.
“This partnership with Google does just that. Publishers now have access to new ways to reach their audiences, grow their readership and generate additional income.”
Deputy ICCN director Matt Abbott, pictured, added: “This is game-changing for independent journalism in the UK and we are delighted to expand our relationship with Google to bring this partnership together.
“Google News Showcase is an extremely important initiative that highlights the value of local news.
“By partnering with Ping News, Google is not only helping the independent sector become more sustainable but is acknowledging the enormous contribution hyperlocal journalism makes to public interest news in the UK.”
“Additionally, Google’s support of the Ping! platform – the Public Interest News Gateway – means regional and national publishers will soon be able to access rich multimedia content from every region of the UK on demand, from hundreds of professional independent community journalists.”
Ping! developed and built in partnership with Bristol-based web app development company Omni Digital, is due to launch in May 2023.
Vice President of Google and Managing Director of Google UK & Ireland, Debbie Weinstein said: “In uncertain times, having easy access to reliable information through trusted sources on the internet is more important than ever.
“That’s why for more than two decades we’ve focused on connecting people with facts and journalism they can trust.
“Today, we’re excited to extend Showcase licensing deals to 45 smaller independent news titles thanks to a partnership with Ping News, a new public interest news gateway set up by the team at ICNN.”
Michael Casey, ICNN member and publisher of Your Thurrock and Your Harlow said: “This achievement by the Independent Community Network along with Google is a watershed moment for independent publishers such as ourselves.
“It gives us an element of financial stability but also embeds us in Googles’s framework of news, lending even more credibility to what we do but also giving us another opportunity to showcase our newspapers to the world.”
Paul Hutchinson, ICNN member and managing editor of the Bedford Independent said: “As independent publications, being a part of Google News Showcase shows we are collectively highly-regarded as providing trusted journalism to communities across the UK.
“We are incredibly grateful to ICNN and Ping News in helping establish a position for the Bedford Independent and other independent titles, so that we can make sure the communities we serve continue to have access to the high-quality journalism that is vital for a community to thrive.”