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Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

Google’s response to the California Journalism Preservation Act threatens local news outlets

Google’s recent actions jeopardize the funding that sustains California journalism organizations.
Pawel Czerwinski
Photo source: Unsplash

Google claims that its mission is, “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” However, as of April 2024, Google is going completely against their mission, announcing their efforts to eliminate links to California news outlets from their search results. If Google continues with this action, stories produced by independent news organizations will no longer appear when individuals search for a certain topic; instead, they will be replaced by articles based on independent reporting that are published on behalf of Google News. 

This comes as a preemptive measure against the potential passage of the California Journalism Preservation Act which requires tech companies to split advertising revenue with the journalists who create their featured stories. The California Journalism Preservation Act has been promoted by the California Publishers Association and the News/Media Alliance, organizations which many local California news outlets, including the the LA Times, are a part of. 

Although the bill was first introduced in Feb. 2023, deliberations were postponed to allow news outlets and tech companies to smooth out negotiations and agreements. However, Google has made it clear that it does not intend to work in the public’s best interest of promoting local journalism and an informed constituency.   

Google is making a striking first stride toward undermining reporters and state legislators. This action is a serious threat to journalism everywhere: Google serves as the premiere global search engine, and by blocking out news platforms, they deprive individuals of access to factual reporting. 

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Currently, Google makes up around 90 percent of the online search market. With the vast majority of citizens finding their news through perusing online searches, completely eliminating California news outlets means that citizens will be unable to acquire information on recent events in their government and communities. 

Many news organizations depend on advertising revenue to fund their operations. Every time a viewer clicks a story link, news outlets receive a part of the revenue generated by the ads beside the story. Google said that it continues to help journalism outlets by linking the original stories to their reports. However, by providing shortened versions for their own news platforms (i.e. Google News) they discourage readers from clicking the external links. In the end, the original news company that funded the production of the article is unable to receive the connected ad revenue. 

Google’s search results are hinged on news content produced by independent journalism outlets; yet, they refuse to properly recognize and compensate the writers, editors and photographers behind the stories. Many of the recent layoffs and shutdowns seen in newspapers, magazines and other publications can be attributed to the greed-driven journalistic practices by big tech companies like Google. 

If the California Journalism Preservation Act is passed, tech platforms would be required to pay a “journalism usage fee” to publish content from an independent news outlet, with at least 70 percent of the revenue being allocated to the reporters and staff. Google’s actions reveal the immense power that one corporation wields over the entire information forum, and it must be addressed before journalism outlets begin disappearing. 

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About the Contributor
Kaelin David
Kaelin David, Opinion editor
Hi! My name is Kaelin David and I am in the 12th grade, serving as the Opinion editor for The Hoofprint. In my free time, I love playing around with website design and reading literary magazines.
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