Google announces landmark partnership with independent news titles including Midlothian View

Friday March 17th 2023


The Google office in London.

Written by Midlothian View Editor, Phil Bowen

In a watershed moment for the industry, forty-five independent titles including Midlothian View have signed up to 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 independent sector within the wider journalism ecosystem.

The deal was brokered by the Independent Community News Network (ICNN) based at Cardiff University and is one-of-a-kind for independent publishers in the UK. Up to now the majority of organisations that have partnered with Google on the Showcase project have been traditional news publishers.

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. This is why uplifting hyperlocal independent journalism has been ICNN’s mission since it launched in 2018.

With the upcoming launch of their public interest news gateway, Ping News, ICNN has sought to create new revenue streams for the independent sector and 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 Director of ICNN, Matt Abbott 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.”

He added: “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.”

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.”

Midlothian View editor, Phil Bowen said:

“This is a very important step for independent publications. Creating a sustainable business model for local news to produce the local content that matters to readers has been and still is a struggle. But this partnership with Google helps move that forward.

“Being on the same platform as the ‘big media boys’ is recognition by Google of the importance of local news and that independent publications really have arrived.

“We must thank ICNN for all their hard work and the lobbying they have done to get us to this point. They are a great catalyst and support for the independent news sector.”

Editor of The Edinburgh Reporter Phyllis Stephen said:

“This is testament to a lot of hard work by hyperlocals such as ourselves all over the UK publishing stories about our local areas that are often overlooked by bigger news outlets. We see this as a first step, but are extremely grateful to ICNN and to Google for their foresight in supporting us. Now we need The Scottish Government to recognise the importance of supporting local news.”

Google News Showcase is a news-based product launched by Google in October 2020 that allows publishers to curate content and showcase it in a dedicated space within the Google News app.

With Google News Showcase, publishers can create story panels that display an article’s headline, subheading, and a brief summary. These panels can include photos, videos, and other multimedia elements, and they can be customised to match the publisher’s branding. Users can then click on these panels to read the full article on the publisher’s website.

The product was launched initially in Brazil and Germany, and since then it has been rolled out in several other countries. Google has partnerships with over 500 publications worldwide, including major news outlets such as Reuters, The Financial Times, and The Washington Post.

Google News Showcase is part of Google’s broader effort to support the news industry and promote quality journalism. It provides publishers with an opportunity to reach a wider audience and monetise their content, while also providing users with a more personalised and engaging news experience.

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