Google will partner with eight European publishers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, El Pais and Die Ziet in a $150 million deal to collaborate on product development, research and innovation in digital journalism.
Google’s president of strategic partnerships, Europe, Carlo D’Asaro Biondo announced the Digital News Initiative at the FT Media Conference in London on Tuesday. He said Google recognised and admired high quality journalism, and wanted to be a friend and partner to the news industry.
“As a strong advocate for the free flow of information we know the crucial role it plays in democratic societies”.
“We recognise that technology companies and news organisations are part of the same information ecosystem. We want to play our part in the common fight to find more sustainable models for news.”
The launch follows Google’s closure of Google News Spain in 2014 when it was threatened with fines for not paying newspapers and other publishers for permission to aggregate their content. The move is being viewed by some as an effort to downplay its dominance of the news market (a 90 per cent market share for search-related activity in Europe).
It will create a publishers’ working group to examine product developments to increase revenue, traffic and engagement, provide training resources to European newsrooms and create training programs with organisations including the European Journalism Centre and the International News Media Association, and will pour $150 million into grants for innovative digital journalism projects.
Other publishers involved include France’s Les Echo, Italy’s La Stampa, German paper FAZ and Dutch publisher NRC Media.
New York Times dives into virtual reality
In a sign that virtual reality is taking off among news publishers, The New York Times has debuted its first VR piece at its second annual NewFront presentations to advertisers this week.
Attendees donned Samsung and Google headsets to view the five minute film, “Walking The City”. Produced with production company VRSE, it follows the creation of the latest New York Times Magazine cover, including aerial footage of an art installation in the Flatiron district.
The paper has “big plans” to incorporate VR into its content, according to Times Magazine editor Jake Silverstein. “We think the journalistic potential of this emerging technology is huge,” he said.
Virtual reality journalism has already appeared on Vice and has been pioneered by the likes of LA journalist Nonny De La Pena, who began creating films eight years ago and is currently putting together a piece funded by Al Jazeera America.
Mobile future but most newspaper readership still in print: Pew report
Mobile and social audiences are skyrocketing for news publishers, but more than half of all newspaper readers still prefer print, the Pew Research Centre’s State of the Media report has revealed.
According to the report released this week, which examines the changing landscape of US journalism, despite focuses on the shift to digital, more than 8 in ten of those who read newspaper media do so in print, at least some of the time.
Readership data from Nielsen Scarborough’s 2014 Newspaper Penetration Report revealed 56 per cent of Americans who consume a newspaper read it exclusively in print, while 11 per cent also read it on desktop or laptop computers. 5 per cent also read it on mobile and another 11 per cent read it in print, on desktop and on mobile, while only 5% read newspapers exclusively on mobile devices.
However, newspapers saw a fall of 3 per cent in circulation in 2014, and a 4 per cent drop in revenue. While circulation revenue grew by 1 per cent, the Pew report suggests this has not been enough to stave off drops in advertising revenue.
The Pew report also stated 39 of 50 news sites studied received more traffic from mobile than desktop. On the flip side, only 20 per cent of those held their mobile readers for longer than desktop.
And despite digital ad revenue across all media growing 18 per cent in 2014 to $US50.7 billion, and mobile ad spending alone jumping 78 per cent – from 25 per cent of all digital ad spend in 2013 to 37 per cent – traditional media publishers are still only getting a small share of their total revenue from digital, the report stated. Tech companies such as Facebook have retained the upper hand in deals with media companies and reap most of the financial benefit from digital ventures.
Filipino papers jump the gun on Mary Jane Veloso
In the aftermath of the executions of eight drug runners in Bali this week, including Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, newspaper front pages around the world were filled with sorrow. But Filipino papers learned the risks of publishing too soon when it came to light that that Mary Jane Veloso, who was the ninth due to be shot, was given a reprieve by Indonesian president Joko Widodo overnight.
Papers including the Daily Inquirer – with the headline “Death came before Dawn” accompanying a picture of Ms Veloso – the Manila Times, the Manila Bulletin and Filipino-language edition Abante all ran front pages mourning Ms Veloso, no doubt to meet deadlines before the executions – which seemed all but certain – were confirmed.
But Ms Veloso was pardoned when Cristina Sergio, who was suspected of recruiting Ms Veloso to smuggle 2.6 kilograms of heroin, turned herself in to Filipino authorities. Ms Veloso had always maintained she was tricked into smuggling the drugs five years ago after being promised a job that did not eventuate.
The Inquirer published the breaking news online and on Facebook and later ran a front page describing the reprieve as “a miracle”.
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