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Photo by Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Google said Thursday that it has recently adjusted its algorithms and the guidelines used by the people that rate its search results to elevate original reporting.

Why it matters: The moves aim to provide an incentive for news organizations to focus on fresh reporting as opposed to quick aggregation of other news reports.

Details: Google has rolled out 2 updates over the past few months.

  1. The company has adjusted its algorithms to ensure that original reporting stays near the top of search results longer.
  2. It has updated the guidelines that people use to evaluate search ratings to help them identify what original reporting looks like.
"In one section, the guidelines encourage raters to use the highest rating for reporting that provides information that would otherwise not be known if the article didn't report it out. We also ask them to look into whether a news organization has a history of high-quality original reporting. We ask raters to go behind the article, where it's coming from, who wrote it, etc."
— Richard Gingras, Google's Vice President of News

The big picture: News aggregation has become a big part of the online news business, thanks in part to the way publishers were rewarded by search and social media algorithms to deliver buzzy content, quickly.

Be smart: There's been an increase in pressure on Google and other tech companies to elevate quality news and information ahead of the 2020 election.

  • Facebook, for example, says it is investing millions of dollars to pay publishers to provide content for a new "news tab."

Yes, but: These changes by Google have long been sought by news publishers, and the platform has been working on the issue for a long time. But according to Gingras, the company's technology has improved so much over the past decade that the adjustments are easier to make now.

The bottom line: In an era when fabricated news has become a universal and bipartisan concern, lawmakers, interest groups and market forces are pushing to give content companies leverage over the technology companies that distribute the content they create.

Go deeper: Power pendulum swings back to news companies

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”