You heard it here first: Google will highlight hometown media with Local Source tag

There are typically two ways a news story goes national. Either a national news organization covers it, or a local news source does the initial work before larger outlets pick up on it. Google News is now going to pay a little more attention to the latter.

Starting Monday, Google News readers will see a “Local Source” tag on national news stories with coverage from local news organizations. This is similar to other tags Google News uses such as “In Depth” and “Highly Cited.”

Local news outlets can often add more context about an ongoing situation than a national news source can. They can also help you navigate a story, because early coverage of that news item likely originated from a local reporter.

An example of the new Local Source tag in Google News.

To figure out what is and isn’t a local news source, Google says it will go beyond just highlighting news sites based in a given area. It will also compare the locations mentioned in previously mentioned stories and and compare them to the current story location. If the two match, it may get a local source tag.

Whenever Google determines a site is a true local source, it will put that tag in front of the headline, such as “Local Source: Man bites dog; Zombie apocalypse imminent.” The new local source tag will show up on the expanded story box on PCs, and in the Google News & Weather apps for Android and iOS.

The impact on you at home: Matching locations from previous stories to the current one is an important step, because Google wants to go beyond highlighting local newspapers. The company also wants to highlight sites and blogs that focus on producing local journalism, but aren’t necessarily part of a larger news organization. Google News was already putting an emphasis on these non-traditional sources in the local section of Google News. Now, however, it wants to put those local sources in front of more people when a story gains national interest.

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