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Google Wants To Help European Newspapers Join The Digital Age

Google Wants To Help European Newspapers Join The Digital Age
[Photo: Flickr user Mario Mancuso]

American tech companies have set their sights on the news business. A month after Facebook announced that it wants news outlets to publish content within Facebook, and a mere day after Snapchat poached acclaimed CNN reporter Peter Hamby, Google is announcing its own journalism initiatives to nudge European publishers toward modernizing their distribution and methods into the era of digital journalism.

Google’s initiative takes a four-pronged approach. First, it wants to create a publisher group to explore monetization and find profit models that actually work (an area traditional journalism has struggled with since the Great Recession). Second, Google will field a News Lab team to teach newsrooms about best practices online. Google will also offer grants for digital journalism research, particularly research into the use of data and computing to report and tell stories. Finally, Google says it will invest 150 million euros in grants over the next three years for newsrooms digging into digital journalism.

The project’s initial partners include large traditional newspapers from the richer northern and western European countries, like The Guardian and The Financial Times of the U.K., Die Zeit and FAZ from Germany, and La Stampa from Italy, among others.

Google’s blog post announcement did not state why the tech titan is investing time and money specifically in European journalism, though the timing is interesting: The European Union recently officially served Google with an antitrust lawsuit over Google’s search and Android practices in Europe.