Saturday, March 03, 2007

Google News favors foreign sources over local

My dad served in the Signal Corps in World War II. He landed in Normandy on D-Day. He never told anyone exactly what happened that day, but he was awarded the Silver Star for what he and his men did. Sometimes very important stories are lost to history. We will never know.

Ever since I predicted the creation of Google News I've watched carefully to see how it performs.

One of the serious shortcomings of Google News is that it showcases foreign news sources in favor of local sources covering local stories. A train wreck in India gets prominent coverage by the Chinese news agency, highlighted by Google News. A campaign event involving Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama is covered by The Guardian, highlighted by Google News. The robot takes local news global, and it cares not who covers it.

Click for full size sceen shot

And so today we see Google News give the headline to Canada's Globe and Mail a very important story that the Washington Post broke in a series of investigative reports. Sad that the robot relegates the publication that spent many days and dollars investigating the issue to an also-ran, leading with a Canadian publication that had nothing to do with the reporting.

Nonetheless, in today's crazy Old Media / New Media world, the story got out, and, we hope, things will be fixed.