Media Insider: Google Expands Publisher Tool to Combat Ad Blocking, Report for America Supports Journalism, Facebook Announces Fact-Checking in India

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s round-up of media stories from the week.

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Google expands its tool for publishers to combat ad blocking

Google announced earlier this week its plan to expand a tool for publishers to deal with ad-block software users. The tool, called Funding Choices, was launched a year ago in the U.S. and a few other markets and now is expanding to 31 countries in Europe and Canada. After users have viewed a certain amount of articles, the tool works by prompting or requiring those users to turn off ad blockers. At this point, publishers will have the opportunity to either “serve a dismissible message; serve a message that requires ad blocker users to pay after viewing a certain number of articles; or block their access until they turn off their ad blocker or pay for an ad-free experience through another program called Google Contributor,” Digiday reports. The goal is to get users to pay for an ad-free experience when visiting publisher’s websites.

More on the future of ad-blocking: Ad-blocking browser Brave signs up Dow Jones Media Group as a partner

Report for America Supports Journalism Where Cutbacks Hit Hard

As local newsrooms continue to diminish, one group of journalists has decided to do something about it. Report for America, a nonprofit organization modeled after AmeriCorps, hopes to place 1,000 journalists in understaffed newsrooms by 2022. Although the initiative currently is in its pilot stage, it already has placed three reporters in Appalachia and has chosen nine more, from 740 applicants, to be deployed across the country this June. Steven Waldman and Charles Sennott, two media veterans, upstarted the project with funding from sponsors. “People are applying for the same reason people want to go into the Peace Corps: There’s an idealistic desire to help communities, and there’s a sense of adventure,” Mr. Waldman told The New York Times. Report for America fellowships currently last one to two years and pays around $40,000.

More on the crisis of local journalism: New York Times top editor on journalism’s ‘biggest crisis’

Facebook Has Finally Started Fact-Checking Fake News In Its Largest Market

Facebook has announced its efforts to start fact-checking news in India. With more than 240 million users, Facebook has partnered with Boom — an independent, Mumbai-based fact-checking organization — to run a pilot project for the Indian state of Karnataka. As part of the partnership, Boom will review, fact check, and rate accuracy on any English-language news stories shared on the platform that are flagged by users. In a Facebook blog post published earlier this week, Facebook wrote, “We are beginning small and know it is important to learn from this test and listen to our community as we continue to update ways for people to understand what might be false news in their News Feed.” With several key state elections coming up this year like the one in Karnataka, launching a fact-checking partnership in India is a significant step to help prevent the spread of misinformation and propaganda.

Check out the full blog post from Facebook here: Announcing third-party fact-checking in India

Cheddar launches two networks on YouTube TV

Cheddar, the live streaming financial news network for millennials, announced plans to launch its original tech and business-focused news network and a new general news network, Cheddar Big News, on YouTube TV. Cheddar hopes this partnership will help broaden its reach among news consumers who are ditching cable packages for cheaper, digital bundles. Cheddar Big News will first launch on YouTube TV and then later appear on Dish’s Sling TV and Philo. It also will have a few big name content partners, such as AccuWeather, VSiN, FanSided, and The Coca-Cola Company. Cheddar President Jon Steinberg told AXIOS that “with the launch of Cheddar Big News, we now have a national news and a business news network.”

Cheddar continues to grow: Cheddar’s digital news network is coming to Hulu, too

Instagram Stories have become traffic drivers for publishers and influencers

In an era when obtaining user loyalty is crucial, publishers have turned to Instagram Stories to help convert audiences into devoted ones. Adam Wescott, partner and co-founder of talent management firm Select Management Group, told Digiday that roughly only 2 percent to 5 percent of impressions on Instagram Stories that include links will lead to a swipe-up. However, “those swipe-ups lead to sign-ups, which is leading more publishers and influencers to use Instagram Stories as an audience acquisition tool,” Wescott reports. First Media, the publisher of So Yummy, has seen an increase in subscriptions to its email newsletter through using links in Instagram Stories. Because of algorithm changes on other social media platforms, such as Facebook, “having someone sign up from a swipe-up on an Instagram Story is worth more in lifetime value than sign-ups from people who came across an article on Facebook,” said Yuval Rechter, head of digital at First Media.

Read how else publishers are utilizing Instagram Stories: Publishers are treating Instagram Stories like episodic TV

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Joanna Giannell is a Senior Customer Content Specialist with PR Newswire. She is also an animal lover and music enthusiast. Tune into her insights as a social curator at @PRNpets.

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