Google’s getting into the UK local news game – sort of

Yes, you read that right. Google has launched a local news site in Peterborough. Not the news you were expecting from one of the world’s biggest tech companies? Us neither. 

The new site, created in partnership with Archant, is called Peterborough Matters and is headed up by Chief Reporter, John Baker. Google has previously partnered with organisations in the US to create Mahoning Matters in Ohio, last year.

In a current affairs climate where readers are particularly wary of “fake news”, it’s more important than ever that responsible journalism is being supported and encouraged. Is this a genuine attempt to do so though, or a token gesture from Google?

Related: Google Maps “told me to walk across frozen river” says cold and wet dude

It follows Facebook’s ‘UK Community News Project’ which launched back in 2018. That saw Facebook partner with Newsquest, JPI Media, Reach, Archant, the NCTJ and the Midland News Association to fund reporting positions in local news outlets.

Baker wrote, in his introduction to the site:

“This is an experiment and we will aim to earn your trust each day with each story. Our partnership with the Google News Initiative enables us to meld the best of our editorial minds with Google’s expertise in best product practices. We will work together in a transparent and experimental way and share our learnings publicly.

“We will use our talents to make sure you know about important news like crime, road accidents, council meetings, and weather. We’ll also help connect the community more with compelling in-depth stories about the people, places, and events that make up the fabric of our community. You’ll learn about people you don’t know, stories you’ve not heard, and ideas you might not have considered.”

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