August 10th, 2021
Editor’s note: This is part of our ongoing series featuring local publishers from around the world using Google News Showcase, our new product and licensing program for publishers, showing how we are supporting both their editorial and business goals. Read the first of our series, which comes from ADIRA in Argentina.
When the other founders and I looked to launch CityNews in Italy 11 years ago, there wasn’t a huge supply of local news online. We knew we wanted to have more local news available for citizens all over the country, to cover everything from local government to politics, schools, transportation and health. These are the stories that make an impact on people’s day-to-day lives. So after we tried a few different iterations and models, we launched CityNews in 2010.
Now, after just over a decade, our company is a local news leader in Italy, publishing 50 metropolitan online newspapers everywhere, from Milan to Florence to Rome, plus the national newspaper Today.it. Our team of over 250 journalists produces news that reaches 32.6 million unique users monthly and the CityNews team produces more than 1,300 articles per day. That’s more than 50 stories an hour!
To fuel our growth we took a data-driven approach to journalism, building our news stories on data from Google Analytics to identify topics that are of real interest to our readers. The data differs from city to city and our news article content adapts to that. Now we’re using Google News Showcase to further this growth and better engage our readers on both Google News and Discover.
One example of a story that touched the hearts and minds of everyone in the country was the birth of Tommaso, the first baby to be born at the Martini hospital in Turin when the maternity ward finally reopened after closing for COVID-19. This was a wonderful example of the kind of local story that resonates with a larger national audience, all of whom have gone through the difficulties of the past 18 months of the pandemic. Our local paper Torino Today covered the story and our editors produced it for Google News Showcase.
Examples of News Showcase panels on CityNews publications Firenze Today, Roma Today, and Milano Today.
One of the biggest challenges that come with the scale of our organization is ensuring that we’re able to curate stories and highlight essential information for our local audiences. Readers are constantly inundated with news and stories can move quickly, making it difficult for people to stay on top of the latest developments. Our team of experienced editors and journalists use Google News Showcase to highlight the most important news articles of the day for our readers at scale. Not every story can be told in the same way, and it’s convenient that News Showcase gives our editors a variety of options on how to tell impactful stories, making it simple to link to additional articles to offer helpful context, provide a timeline of events and more.
Having the flexibility to tell news stories in a number of different ways and to choose which stories to highlight with News Showcase helps our editors present work in the best manner possible for such a dynamic environment, bringing editorial judgment to the fore for our readers. Our editors make multiple updates and changes each day to News Showcase panels, helping us amplify important stories as news changes. And we really like how the product lets us add in our unique branding, from our logo to our colors and font, to make our brands really known to new readers and enable them to easily recognize our news moving forward.
News Showcase also allows us to foster a direct relationship with our readers where they can follow our stories and hopefully become eventual subscribers of our news organizations, helping us to build more sustainable connections with readers.
News Showcase is an important milestone for the online news ecosystem in that it further supports the economic value of journalistic work. We are looking forward to exploring new ways to use the product to help our readers and partnering with Google on future feature updates. This relationship only strengthens and grows Citynews’ journalism and future.