Google’s Local Experiments Project Hopes to Boost Community News

March 26, 2019, 12:36 PM UTC

Google is moving forward with a plan to help local news organizations across the United States.

Dubbed the Local Experiments Project, the effort will see Google invest significantly in local media organizations to fund their newsrooms, according to Axios. The first of the Local Experiments Project is called The Compass Experiment that Google is launching with media giant McClatchy. That initiative will see the tech giant invest millions of dollars for McClatchy to operate three digital-only local news businesses across the U.S.

According to the report, the news organizations in The Compass Experiment must be in smaller cities with less than 500,000 people. Google is only an investor in the initiative and said that it will not play a role at all in the editorial direction of the businesses. It’s unclear from the report how the companies will share in any revenue generated from the publications.

Google and Facebook, among other technology giants, have been criticized for killing local publications by providing easier access to content and capturing the vast majority of advertising dollars. Local newsrooms around the world are shrinking, making it more difficult for journalists to cover important local news stories.

While readership is down, local publications are also getting vocal support from communities who want to see their local leaders held accountable. Investments in local media could help in that.

Looking ahead, Google hopes to expand its investments in local publications across the U.S. The company told Axios that The Compass Experiment is only the beginning of its investment in local news.