The Google News Initiative (GNI) is celebrating its first anniversary supporting quality journalism and helping combat fake news. To mark the occasion GNI is launching the Local Experiments Project, which will potentially fund dozens of digital news sites from smaller cities in the U.S and globally. The first effort is The Compass Experiment, a partnership with McClatchy publishing.
The Compass Experiment Will Provide Insights For Future GNI Projects
The current plan for The Compass Experiment is to provide local news to three small (population under 500K) cities that have lost or lack access to quality local reporting. This news access will be provided digitally on channels built by Google and McClatchy, leveraging the industry expertise of both. Google is providing financial support, but McClatchy will retain sole editorial control and own the content. However, The Compass Experiment isn’t intended to just be a news aggregate. It is also a research project that ascertains the best way to deliver local news and ultimately gain insights that inform other efforts from GNI and the Local Experiments Project moving forward.
According to Axios, “The goal is to use the lessons from McClatchy's efforts, and others in the future, to create a network of shared insights that can be leveraged by everyone in the local news business.”
The Strategic Partnership Between McClatchy And Google Could Be A Win For Both Companies
“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,” says Greg Forman, President and CEO of McClatchy.
Although working as partners who hope to bring high quality local news to more people, Google and McClatchy have different objectives. For McClatchy, the main goal of the partnership is to successfully explore new operational and business models that allow local news to survive and flourish in today’s increasingly competitive journalistic landscape. For Google, if the model is successful, it could lead to more tools and services added to their arsenal. These tools could be used in the future by other businesses that want to do the same kind of work as the Local Experiments Project.
Google commonly uses strategic partnerships to enhance or develop their own tool set, including Hashicorp for cloud services, JD.com for ecommerce, and Salesforce for CRM and analytics. Successful partnerships that serve the customer and provide benefits to the involved companies can be smart business and marketing strategy.
If The Compass Experiment has a positive impact, other partnerships around the world may take shape, offering high quality local news in new, innovative ways, more likely to thrive because of strong investments.
The Local Experiments Project May Offer Local Opportunities For Digital Marketers
A recent report found that 200 counties in the U.S. have no local papers. This impacts access to news for the people who live in those counties, but also marketing strategies for businesses that might have previously advertised in those daily or weekly newspapers. Development of an exact framework or timeline for The Compass Project is ongoing, but marketers should be aware of pending news about localities, digital advertising opportunities and target markets as The Compass Project, and future Local Experiments Projects, officially take off. These nascent digital innovations could provide opportunities for marketers to regain local targeting platforms in the publishing sector.