In short, in mid-Feb. we made a change to how [a news site] is referred to in Google News. They seemed like simple, logical changes that Google made easy it implement. We changed [News Site] to [NewsSite].com. We added New York, NY as the location and we indicated that the site is not a subscription site, which was how it was appearing on Google News.
Shortly after those changes were submitted, our Google News traffic dropped from several thousand a day to between 50-100. Google News went from our top referring site to 11th or 12th.
We're thinking about changing the information back to how it appeared originally, but we're aren't sure if that is the way to go. Will it just confuse Google News more? The site's articles do appear in Google News but they aren't appearing on the indexes where they used to, so our reputation points seem affected.
Also, we are concerned that our news sitemap may not be functioning properly. It is being accessed by Google but it reports 0 URLs indexed. We are also maintaining two separate news sitemaps for blogs.example.com and www.example.com. We're thinking it may make sense to combine into one sitemap, which Google now allows.
We've been examining the Google Webmasters Tools, looking for the smoking gun. But all we can point to is the change in how the site displayed. We are always very careful about not having duplicate content, so we are pretty sure that is not the issue.
We are preparing to make the sitemap and naming changes. Does anyone have any insights for us?
[edited by: tedster at 1:44 am (utc) on April 15, 2009]
[edit reason] make the specific information more generic [/edit]