To help publishers reap the rewards for their original investigative reporting, Google announced it is changing the way investigative journalism content is recognised and ranked.

The aim is to provide people with a deeper understanding of the conversations going on around them, the company stated in a press release.

"Original reporting is at the core of journalism and we hope these changes will provide better visibility for this type of content and provide value for users in helping them keep informed about the world around them," said Richard Gingras, VP News, Google.

In a blog post, Gingras explained that Google has made ranking updates and published changes to its search rater guidelines to help better recognise original reporting, surface it more prominently in Search and ensure it stays there longer.

"This means readers interested in the latest news can find the story that started it all, and publishers can benefit from having their original reporting more widely seen," he wrote.

To minimise the risk of helping spread misinformation, the search engine instructed its raters to use the highest rating, "very high quality," for original news reporting "that provides information that would not otherwise have been known had the article not revealed it. Original, in-depth, and investigative reporting requires a high degree of skill, time, and effort."

In addition to that, the algorithm takes into account the publisher’s overall reputation for original reporting, including winning journalistic awards, such as the Pulitzer Prize.

Apart from higher ranking and longer exposure, the changes do not seem to be a move toward advertisement revenue share that would help news organisation monetise investigative reporting.

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