I'm an avid watcher of Google News. Understanding how it works is always something of a mystery. But what's clear is that whoever ends up as the top story on the front page or in each section of GNews, gets the most traffic.
This has become even more true with those same stories appearing alongside search.
Recently Google News has been moving more towards favoring Big Brands, in much the same way Google Search has. On GNews that works out this way...
If LittleBrandY has a story and BigBrandX has a story, Google News will display the BigBrandX story over LIttleBrandY story, even if the LittleBrandY story is far more relevant.
Alright. That's fine. LittleBrandY would still get in once in awhile. But what's happened in the past couple of weeks is that BigBrandX's have started realizing they have preferential treatment, and begun manipulating it.
That works this way.
1.Google News decides the topic "widgets" is now relevant and begins featuring stories related to topic "widgets" on the front page of GNews.
2. BigBrandX notices that Google News is featuring "widgets" as a topic and quickly writes a story on "widgets" and publishes it.
3. Google News sees BigBrandX's story on "widgets" and immediately features it as the top story on the GNews front page. It stays there for 20 - 45 minutes after which GNews rotates in another story from someone else.
4. BigBrandX sees that its "widgets" story has now been bumped off the front page by someone else and then republishes exactly the same story with the same title all over again.
5. GNews sees that BigBrandX has a new story on "widgets" and immediately pushes it to the top above all the other stories.
6. The same story from BigBrandX has now been re-featured and gets another 45 minutes as the top story.
7. Process repeats over and over until the topic is no longer on GNews.
To date I've seen this being done but at least 10 of the biggest, most well known media corporations and a whole host of newspaper conglomerates, with great success. As a result, the number of sources on GNews is now becoming extremely limited and ONLY big brands are being displayed often with irrelevant or poorly written stories which were covered much better by someone else, who might actually be an expert on the subject.