In an effort to make local news easier to access, Google announced on May 9 that it will be spotlighting nearby news sources for its users on Google News.
"Local news publishers play a critical role in covering the stories that impact us every day in our cities, schools and neighborhoods," wrote James Morehead, Google Product Manager, on the company's blog. "Local reporters are often members of the communities they serve, bringing additional context and perspective to a story."
Google News already has a local section that shows content from regional papers and hyper-local blogs. However, Google notes that, when local stories are picked up by a national publisher, it can be difficult to trace them back to local reporters and publications. To give smaller publishers and journalists a little more credit, Google is introducing the Local Source tag.
The Local Source tag, which can be found starting on May 9 in Google News, is designed to identify stories originally reported by local news publications.
"This new feature brings greater exposure for local news outlets reporting on stories that have gone national," Morehead continued. "'Local Source' articles are identified automatically by looking at where a publisher has written about in the past and comparing that to the story location."
Tagged articles can be found in the expanded story box on news.google.com, and they can also be located in the Google News and Weather app for iOS and Android.
"At Google News we are committed to connecting people to the news that matters most to them — be that local, national or international," Morehead concluded.
Prior to giving local publications a platform, Google News had launched a program for businesses and entrepreneurs looking to get press through the website. Google News Press Distribution allows small and large businesses alike to pay for a membership to push their press releases on the website. The search engine company claims it has more than 8,500 clients that use the service.
Google News works according to computers that analyze how often stories appear on the Web, as well as where they show up. It also ranks stories according to certain characteristics, such as freshness, location, relevance and diversity.