Google News announced a new focus on hyperlocal and community news Thursday with a feature called Community Updates.
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma really showed the power of local journalists as the eyes and ears of the community, said James Morehead, a product manager at Google News. Local news pulls communities together, he said, and informs voters about issues that directly impact them.
With Community Updates, which you can find in the Local tab on Google News, news from the community and even at the neighborhood level should surface more often.
That can include the couple who blogs about things to do in Birmingham, Alabama, the city-run site with vital information, or the high school newspaper. Those sites share one thing – the people behind them are passionate about that topic, Morehead said.
Google News added a Local tab when it redesigned earlier this year. And more things featuring local news are coming, Morehead said. He wouldn't say much more, but "by creating a dedicated space for local in our most recent redesign, it opens the door to do more things with interesting, relevant local news."
Local journalists and publishers, what would you like to see from Google News? Let us know via email or in the comments and we'll share with them.