Provisionally called Knewz and expected to be both a website and a mobile app, the development is said to stem from concerns among News Corp executives about how existing news aggregators, like Google News, surface content for users.
First reported by the Wall Street Journal, citing people “familiar with the matter”, it is understood that the Knewz platform will aggregate news from hundreds of sources, including mainstream outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post and NBC News.
The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by News Corp’s Dow Jones division, also will take part, but it is reported that many smaller news outlets from across the political spectrum may get involved.
These include conservative-leaning publications, such as the Daily Caller, the Daily Wire and the Washington Examiner, through to liberal news providers like Daily Kos and ThinkProgress.
“The project aims to give exposure to smaller outlets that News Corp executives believe are often demoted in Google’s search results and Facebook social feed,” the Journal reported.
Certainly, News Corp has a long history of voicing concerns about Google News, which until 2017 had a policy of downgrading news articles in its search rankings if they were located behind a paywall.
And in March this year, News Corp used an 80-page submission to the Australian government to call for Google to be broken up because it claimed the search giant’s “overwhelming” market power was damaging publishers.
It is expected that Knewz, if it still goes ahead, will link directly to publishers’ sites and elevate original stories over aggregated news. It is also reported that Knewz would not take a cut of the ad revenues that views of the articles generate.
Instead, according to News Corp spokesman James Kennedy: “We are exploring this with the goal of recognising and rewarding the provenance of journalism, and to drive traffic and data to publishers – including subscription sites – so their original work is respected.
“We want people to see a wide spectrum of news and views, from local, niche and national sources, without bent of bias.”
Sourced from Wall Street Journal, Independent; additional content by WARC staff