Google’s local news experiments project -- launched with McClatchy on Tuesday to support new, digital-only local news publications that spanning multiple platforms -- will initially roll out in the U.S., with plans to expand worldwide. The news is aggregated and served up by Google search
McClatchy becomes the first to participate in a program called Compass Experiment within the Google News Initiative. The program focuses on a combination of search strategy, products and impact on news.
Google said it will not have any editorial control in terms of the content on the sites. It will rely on partners with local news expertise to build the content.
The goal of the program is to test new approaches in local business models to help the industry what works and what doesn’t, explore new models for independent local news and information, evolve storytelling and engage with communities to cover important issues.
The findings may lead to Google expand its tools and services to enable other companies to do similar work.
The launch of McClatchy’s new publications within the next three years will capitalize on the publisher’s 162-year expertise in local news, tapping into Google’s expertise in technology to create new paths.
Google said McClatchy will remain in control of the publications, but its investments will be significant. Google will invest many millions of dollars in the GNI Local Experiments Project, of which the Compass Experiment is part of with McClatchy.
In a podcast published last week by the University of Oregon, Richard Gingras, Google's VP of news, said he is like to explore aspects of rethinking journalism. “You like to have the answer, but are you asking the right questions,” he said.
Gingras also said it’s important to understand the content of a news story to evolve storytelling.
Google, for example, has introduced open-source tools to try and advance the practice and data journalism. “Soon we’ll be introducing some tools and a data commons set of data that covers the United States to help journalists find the related data to determine whether the home invasion was a unique instance or part of a trend,” he said.