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Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images

Google is launching the Google News Initiative (GNI), in an effort to help journalism thrive in the digital age. The tech giant says it’s committing more than $300 million over the next three years toward building products that address the news industry’s biggest needs, like driving building sustainable business models and elevating quality journalism.

Why it matters: Publishers have struggled to navigate distribution and content partnerships with Google, Facebook and other open platforms because the economic dynamics of those relationships often didn’t fall in favor of those who own the content. As a result, these companies suffered reputational damage for not being perceived as caring enough about fake news, misinformation and the survival of real journalism.

Google says the investment signifies a major milestone in Google’s 15-year commitment to the news industry. 

  • Last year, the company says it paid $12.6 billion to publishing partners (not exclusive to news) and it drove 10 billion clicks a month to publishers’ websites for free.

Google has had a more sustained publisher relationship with most publishers than Facebook. While no distribution relationship is perfect, publishers over the past year have vocalized generally that Google has been more transparent with them about tests and experiments than some of its counterparts.

  • "Google really has been an origination where we feel we have an equal seat at the table," says Beth Diaz, VP of Audience Development at the Washington Post.

The company has launched a number of products to help news publishers adapt to the mobile-first world in an effort to meet their audiences where they spend the most time, on their phones. Some of the bigger partnerships they launched include:

Go deeper

Reports: CIA finds "Havana Syndrome" unlikely caused by foreign campaign

CIA Director William Burns testifies during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill last April. Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

A preliminary CIA report rules out a foreign global campaign as the cause of American and Canadian diplomats affected by a mysterious illness known as "Havana syndrome," per multiple reports.

Why it matters: Some lawmakers had suggested the sometimes debilitating illness was due to directed energy attacks. But CIA officials told the New York Times that most of the 1,000 cases reported to the government could be "explained by environmental causes, undiagnosed medical conditions or stress." This finding has angered some victims, per the NYT.

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 2 far-right "America First" activists

The House panel investigating the Capitol riot, from left; Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas Wednesday for far-right leaders Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, who allegedly encouraged followers to go to D.C. and challenge the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: The action underscores the panel's increasing focus on rallies held ahead of the Capitol attack and how extremists were drawn to former President Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, per the New York Times.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.