Expanding on last week's announcement for YouTube Newswire and other tools aimed at citizen journalists, Google today unveiled a new initiative called the News Lab, a larger effort to provide resources for journalists from all backgrounds.
Leveraging Google tools to tell better stories
In a blog post outlining the goals for the News Lab, Google explains that it wants to collaborate with journalists and entrepreneurs to help map out the future of media. To that end, the company has created a destination for reporters to better leverage Google products in their work. While that doesn't mean designing new products per se, it does mean identifying best practices for newsrooms using apps like Maps, Search, YouTube, and Trends to better track stories in real time, tell stories using data, and distribute them on Google channels.
In addition, the company is already working on partnerships with newsrooms to work on specific data projects, while also partnering with media startups like Matter and Hacks/Hackers to develop new ideas and tools for next-gen journalists.
All this signals that Google, like a number of its competitors, views media and journalism as an industry to invest resources in. After all, developing a clear focus on quality news means attracting more users — and advertisers — to its services. Facebook already launched its Newswire tool last year, aimed expressly at journalists, and debuted "instant articles" last month to strengthen its dominance in news distribution. Meanwhile, Snapchat recently snapped up CNN's Peter Hamby to head up its nascent news division. Finally, Twitter revealed last week that its forthcoming Project Lightning feature is built on the work of media professionals curating the best news on the social network. In short, tech companies very much want to be media platforms.