News Corp is developing a news-aggregation service intended to address various complaints about Google News and other digital platforms, according to a Wall Street Journal report, based on unidentified sources “familiar with the matter.”
The sources cautioned that the plan may not be implemented.
The venture, currently dubbed Knewz.com, is “expected to be a website and a mobile app,” according to WSJ, which adds that a launch could occur later this year, though no timeline has been set.
It looks to address publisher complaints that Google News and other tech company news services do not adequately reimburse them for their investments and value, and assertions by various factions, including conservatives, that Google and other platforms use algorithms biased against some types of articles.
“We are exploring this with the goal of recognizing and rewarding the provenance of journalism, and to drive traffic and data to publishers — including subscription sites — so their original work is respected,” News Corp spokesperson James Kennedy told WSJ. “We want people to see a wide spectrum of news and views, from local, niche and national sources, without bent or bias.”
The service would tap “hundreds” of news sources — supposedly across the political spectrum — including national outlets such as WSJ (owned by News Corp), The New York Times, Washington Post and NBC News, digital-native players and magazine publishers, as well as local newspapers.
It would link directly to publishers’ sites, with News Corp not taking a cut of ad revenue generated from the articles; share the consumer data generated with the publishers; favor featuring original articles over “rehashes”; and treat nonpaid and smaller sites the same as large and paid subscription sites for purposes of curation, according to the report.
News Corp CEO Robert Thomas has publicly criticized how publishers' content reach is determined by Google and Facebook, even going so far as to advocate the creation of an "Algorithm Review Board" to "allow for more transparency into how they operate," notes WSJ.