Lichfield Live has been selected to join a partnership with Google which will provide much-needed financial support for the independent journalism sector.

The deal will see 45 community news titles across the country join the Google News Showcase to better connect with audiences and strengthen their offering.

Described as a “watershed moment” for the industry, the partnership helps build sustainabile models for local reporting and cements the sector within the wider journalism industry.

The deal was agreed by the Independent Community News Network (ICNN) on behalf of the publishers.

Deputy Director of ICNN, Matt Abbott, said:

“This is game-changing for independent journalism in the UK and we are delighted to expand our relationship with Google to bring this partnership together. 

“Google News Showcase is an extremely important initiative that highlights the value of local news.

“By partnering, Google is not only helping the independent sector become more sustainable but is acknowledging the enormous contribution hyperlocal journalism makes to public interest news in the UK.”

Matt Abbott, ICNN

So far the majority of organisations that have partnered with Google on the Showcase project have been traditional news publishers. 

Recent research highlighted how journalism was more trusted and valued when it was produced within the community it serves.

Ross Hawkes, founder and editor of Lichfield Live, said:

“The value of local journalism has never been greater – but sustaining and delivering it has never been more challenging, so to secure this partnership is a significant moment for us.

“At a time when traditional publishers have become disconnected from the area they serve or have ceased publication of their local titles altogether, our voluntary team at Lichfield Live has done an incredible job ensuring people have access to a trusted source of information about their area.

“We’re proud to have delivered local news across Lichfield and Burntwood for almost 15 years now. But that growth – which saw our site viewed more than 3.6million times last year alone – comes at a significant financial cost.

“We have been lucky and honoured as a Community Interest Company to have the support of advertisers and donors in recent times to help us continue our work, but the financial support this partnership delivered by ICNN and Google offers will provide additional stability and help us identify ways to grow and engage more people in the production and consumption of local news in our area.”

Ross Hawkes, Lichfield Live

Vice President of Google and managing director of Google UK an Ireland, Debbie Weinstein, said:

“In uncertain times, having easy access to reliable information through trusted sources on the internet is more important than ever. That’s why for more than two decades we’ve focused on connecting people with facts and journalism they can trust. 

“Today, we’re excited to extend Showcase licensing deals to 45 smaller independent news titles thanks to a partnership with Ping News, a new public interest news gateway set up by the team at ICNN.”

Debbie Weinstein, Google

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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Steven Norman
1 year ago

Wonderful news for Burntwood and beyond.

1 year ago

This is great, I think local journalism is vital in a thriving democracy and is currently under threat.

Cllr Paul Taylor
1 year ago

Not sure that I’m convinced the Google has anyone’s interest apart from it’s own at best. However, I truly hope that this works to the benefit of Lichfield Live