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Some help for newsrooms, Google may pay up and featured snippets: What we read this week (4/17)

Cabin fever has officially taken hold of News Dashboard staffers. Many of us haven’t left our homes in a meaningful way in weeks. Are sweatpants and band t-shirts the new business casual? Probably.

This week’s round-up is a bit different. A major drop in advertising dollars has rocked much of the news industry. We have friends who were laid off or furloughed in the past couple of weeks. Part of this week’s post focuses on resources for our struggling colleagues.

Google Offers Publishers Support

The news industry is grappling with a strange storm: an increased demand for news, but a huge dip in ad revenue. In recent weeks major media companies have announced layoffs, furloughs and other cost-saving measures to help blunt the damage done by a slumping economy.

Google, for its part, is trying to help out publishers.

On April 15, Google News Initiative launched a journalism emergency relief fund. The fund is targeted at news-focused publishers with 2 – 100 employees. Google says funds from the low thousands to low tens of thousands will be disbursed on a case-by-case basis. Applications will be accepted through April 29.

Google is waiving fees for news publishers on its Google Ad Manager service, it announced this week. The waiver will last five months. Google will contact publishers who qualify soon, the company said.

Need a Job? Check Out This Google Sheet

Daniel Levitt, interactive journalist at The Guardian and Inside The Newsroom podcast host, gathered a large list of newsroom jobs from across the US and UK. The list is updated each Sunday. Check it out.

More Woes for Google, a Win For French Publishers

Last week we mentioned an ongoing lawsuit in which Google may have to turnover its infamous algorithm by which its search engine operates. But Google is involved in another case that may have real-world consequences (possibly beneficial ones) for some news rooms. French antitrust regulators ordered Google to pay publishers for excerpts of articles it displays on its products. It also must reinstate snippets, which got the axe in September 2019.

Are Featured Snippets Traffic Drivers? Yes

The folks over at Moz and SearchPilot ran asked the question: Will a featured snippet or a high ranking in organic search drive more traffic? Google announced in January that publishers could either be in the featured snippet or on the first page of SERP results, not both.

So, what did Moz and SearchPilot find? Losing a featured snippet resulted in a 12% traffic drop. Read more about their methodology here:

For more info on how to get your content in the feature snippet position, read this guide from Search Engine Journal.


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