This post was originally published on this site
A number of years ago, I attended a meeting at Google’s Mountain View campus to discuss, among other things, the future of local news. Google presented the broadcasters in the room with a host of speakers and assured us that their goal was the same as ours, to support and encourage a thriving local news ecosystem.
One Google executive even told me that without local news, its engines would be woefully underutilized, so it was in its best interest to support our industry. Indeed, from this meeting the Google News Initiative was born, and since that time, Google has awarded significant financial grants to local TV and radio stations, podcasts, newspapers and digital startups all with the idea of encouraging the digital dissemination of news on its platform, among others.
Fast forward to today.
All of this sounds great until you consider the lopsided power dynamic at play involving the collective we know as Big Tech. In order for local broadcasters, newspapers and local digital startups to be seen, read, watched and absorbed, they first have to connect with people. And in order to do that, they must agree to the unilateral policies and rates set by the behemoth tech giants that are the gatekeepers and controllers of these platforms.
Amazon, Apple and Facebook are particularly aggressive in their efforts to control access, limit or even deny monetization and refuse the sharing of any data regarding local usage. It