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Algorithm update: Google will now promote “original reporting”

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“It remains to be seen how such changes will affect news outlets, especially smaller online sites and local newspapers, who have borne the brunt of the changing media landscape.”

“Original reporting will be highlighted in Google’s search results.”

That’s the claim from the company in the latest changes to its algorithm.

The world’s largest search engine is under increasing criticism from media outlets, mainly because of its ‘algorithms’ – the set of instructions followed by computers – that newspapers often blame for a drop in their online traffic.

The changes comes as Google continues to face criticism for its impact on the news media.

Explaining some of the changes in a post, Google’s vice president of news Richard Gingras said stories that were critically important and labour intensive, requiring experienced investigative skills, for example, would be promoted.

“Articles that demonstrated original, in-depth and investigative reporting, would be given the highest possible rating by reviewers.”

These reviewers – roughly 10,000 people whose feedback contributes to Google’s algorithm – will also determine the publisher’s overall reputation for original reporting, promoting outlets that have been awarded Pulitzer Prizes, for example.

It remains to be seen how such changes will affect news outlets, especially smaller online sites and local newspapers, who have borne the brunt of the changing media landscape.

TechCrunch, the online ‘tech’ reviewer, say it is hard to define exactly what “original reporting” is: many online outlets build on “scoops” or exclusives with their own original information, a complexity an algorithm may have a hard time picking through.

The Verge, another technology publication, says the emphasis on originality could exacerbate an already frenetic online news cycle by making it lucrative to get breaking news online even faster and without proper verification.

Many publishers say Google’s algorithms – which remain a source of mysterious frustration for anyone outside Google – reward clickbait, and allow investigative and original stories to disappear online.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

 

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