Bridging the Divide Between Local News and Online Platforms
In 2021, the Credibility Coalition, in partnership with the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard convened a series of conversations aimed at establishing greater understanding between local news outlets and online platforms, and examining how local news is surfaced online.
Bridging the Divide Between Local News and Online Platforms captures insights and ideas from these discussions.
As news increasingly moves online, search rankings, online traffic metrics and website referrals matter a great deal to the bottom lines of many local news operations. It is not only important that these local outlets get credit for their reporting; ranking higher in search results can help justify the resources they invest in newsgathering and reinforce their image as an authoritative, trusted source for readers.
Failing to surface their content has become another setback for local news outlets already struggling with cutbacks, shrinking subscription bases, and increasing pressure to produce more content with ever-dwindling resources. A vibrant local news landscape plays a vital role in keeping the public informed on issues that directly impact their lives. If local outlets can’t reach readers online, the whole news ecosystem suffers.
The Schema-Online Local News discussion series, which received financial support from the Google News Initiative, is part of a wider effort to empower journalists to better understand — and platforms to better execute — the promotion of quality local journalism on news delivery platforms.
The Schema discussion series group consisted of journalists from a variety of outlets (with majority representation from local news operations), and representatives of several of the major tech platforms.
Over the course of three meetings, the group examined ways that journalists might better adapt local content to effectively communicate with platform technologies. At the same time, they looked at ways platforms might improve systems for identifying local news and tweaking their algorithms to place local stories more prominently in front of readers.
Bridging the Divide Between Local News and Online Platforms, by the Credibility Coalition and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, captures some of the insights, ideas, and suggestions that came out of these discussions.
We would like to acknowledge the assistance and insights of Mark Stencel, Joel Luther, Beck Levy, Scott Yates, Momen Bhuiyan, and Kate Harloe.