Updated Jan 30, 2018

The local-national news divide on Google and Facebook

Illustration: Axios Visuals

Facebook's announced Monday that it would begin prioritizing local news content in the News Feed. The news follows Google's confirmation last week that it's testing a hyper-local news app called Bulletin. Chief executives from local publishing groups have responded well to both efforts in statements to Axios.

Why it matters: Local and national news outlets have for months been split on the way they view their publishing relationships with Google and Facebook.

  • National news outlets have generally been more critical of Facebook's efforts to fairly compensate publishers, provide them with data and elevate their brands.
  • Local news outlets share these concerns, but see Facebook and Google as important technology partners that help them compete with national outlets for eyeballs and subscriptions.

Recent changes and product updates on both platforms have highlighted how different publishers view their relationship with Google and Facebook depending on their resources, reputations and sizes.

  • "This feels like the missing piece — or one missing piece that's crucial, anyway — in Facebook's previous algorithm announcements that caused so much anxiety among local publishers," Matt DeRienzo, executive director of Local Independent Online News Publishers, says of Facebook's latest news.
  • "I think the decision shows that Zuckerberg and Facebook are serious about following through on their commitment to support meaningful interactions that build community," says Patch CEO Warren St. John.
  • "I see it (the Google local news app) potentially as a very good thing," says Rusty Coats, CEO of the Local Media Consortium, which represents dozens of local papers and media companies, like The Seattle Times, The McClatchy Company and Cox Media Group. "It can actually be helpful data."

National news outlets, on the other hand, continue to have a more contentious relationship with the platforms. When it comes to Facebook specifically, three of the biggest industry heavyweights seem bearish on the platform's ability to make nice with mainstream publishers.

  • NBC News Chairman Andy Lack Monday at NYU: "It's not so good to be in business (say) with Facebook. They're a fake book. They are not Facebook ... They don't value having a relationship with news organizations."
  • HBO CEO Richard Plepler Monday at NYU: "Never sell them short. I listened to Andy (Lack) carefully I think h'es 100% right on the news side ... What I hope is happening there ... There's an awful lot of smart people in there — The question is: Are they smart and wise? Those things are not always the same."
  • News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch last week in a statement: "Facebook and Google have popularized scurrilous news sources through algorithms that are profitable for these platforms but inherently unreliable. Recognition of a problem is one step on the pathway to cure, but the remedial measures that both companies have so far proposed are inadequate, commercially, socially and journalistically."

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The desperate hunt for coronavirus personal protective equipment

Photo: Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Counterfeiters and scammers have emerged as the global supply of protective personal equipment continues to dwindle and the search ramps up to find material for healthcare workers treating coronavirus, AP reports.

The big picture: The desperate hunt for protective medical supplies and equipment to fight the pandemic is pitting nation against nation and forcing governors to compete against each other and the federal government — all while the coronavirus death toll continues to rise. America's relations with its trade partners are being tested as it blocks and outbids other nations seeking masks, per The Washington Post.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 1,159,515 — Total deaths: 60,960 — Total recoveries: 237,436Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 290,606 — Total deaths: 7,826 — Total recoveries: 9,853Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primaries by mail.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout off to bad start. DOT urges airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights.
  6. Oil latest: Pivotal Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
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  8. 1 🏀 thing: The WNBA postpones start of training camps and season.
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  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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The pandemic shows why we're never ready for the big one

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As the confirmed number of COVID-19 cases passed 1 million on Friday, two words sum up the U.S. response to the coronavirus: not enough. Not enough hospital beds, not enough ventilators, not enough protective equipment. Not enough preparation.

Why it matters: COVID-19 has demonstrated our normal defenses aren't enough in the face of a low-probability, but high-consequence catastrophe.