In what is being hailed a ‘watershed moment’ for the industry, 45 members of the Independent Community News Network (ICNN) have signed up for the Google News Showcase to better connect with audiences and strengthen their offering.
The financial support provided by Google helps build much-needed sustainability and cements the sector within the wider journalism ecosystem. The support being provided by Google has gone a long way to further boosting the editorial team at Island Echo with a 4th news reporter joining the company this month.
The deal between Google and Ping News, ICNN’s public interest news gateway, 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, with Island Echo now 1 of under 300 publishers nationwide featured the platform.
Access to trusted news is essential for a robust democracy, and nowhere is journalism more trusted and more valued than at the local and hyperlocal level.
Darren Toogood, Editor and Publisher of Island Echo, says:
“This partnership between the independent sector and Google is very much welcomed and I thank the work of the team at the ICNN for making this possible. It’s been a long road to get to this point as we battle against the well-established, multi-million pound companies but we are finally there.
“Being featured on the Showcase will not only expand our reach to new and existing audiences, but it will provide a new revenue stream which helps secure the future of the Island’s leading news website so that we can continue to serve our Island community. Furthermore, this partnership has helped support the recruitment of another journalist, allowing us to further expand our editorial output of high-quality, trustworthy journalism.
Deputy Director of ICNN, Matt Abbott, has said:
“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.”
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Debbie Weinstein, Vice President of Google and Managing Director of Google UK & Ireland, adds:
“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.”
Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), which publishes the MailOnline, Metro and iNews, also join Google Showcase today.
Island Echo was named ICNN Community Website of the Year, sponsored by Google News Initiative, at newsawards 2021.
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