Google’s fight to avoid paying publishers for local news begins

The Courier has not impacted by Google's decision to cut or trim news publisher's links (yet). Which is why you can see all the section categories prominently.

by Peter Weinberger |

On Thursday, 350 California publishers (including the Claremont Courier) reaffirmed their support of the California Journalism Protection Act after Google announced it would stop showing news to some California residents in its search results. This is an undemocratic and unprecedented attack on journalism. If enacted, the CJPA would require Google and Facebook (Meta) to compensate publishers for the right to use their content on their platforms.

Google is showing the world the depths they will go to avoid paying publishers like the Courier. Many publishers see it as a threat if this legislation becomes law. Alden Capital, the second largest newspaper publisher in the U.S., has coordinated editorials slamming Google. “This kind of anticompetitive behavior is exactly why legislation like the CJPA is needed,” read one.

Google’s motivation is quite simple: if the CJPA is passed, fewer links mean less expense for Google, less exposure for media publishers, and less access to fact based journalism for the public. And guess who manages all the algorithms impacting web traffic from a Google search? Google of course. Even as some larger newspaper companies like the Orange County Register currently rank high on a results page, Google has cleaned many up with only one headline link per company.

The results look far different for the Claremont Courier. Google “Claremont (CA) news” and we not only top of the list, but there are subcategories with links to our sections. Scroll down the page and some of our specific stories show up. The point is the Courier is too niche to be included in this experiment so far, so our links have not been edited. But we are certainly impacted by the loss of revenue from Google’s actions.

Google is by far the largest search engine in the world. The massive company knows that paying news publishers for stories will cost billions. Even though other countries like Australia and Canada have been able to cut deals, the U.S. is in an entirely different category with far more revenue at stake.

It’s literally a crime that both Google and Facebook staunchly resist compensating publishers for news stories. They know paying someone to report and write a story is the largest expense of publishing. This has created hardships for news publishers large and small, while adding to the enormous profits of these tech giants.

More will be revealed later in the year as this state legislative boxing match continues.

And the survey says …

Here are the results of the Courier’s Fourth of July poll:

We had 192 responses, and reader preferences are clear.

  • 58% said event time changes had big impact on attendance, and that all events should happen on July 4. (This refers to the city’s recent date change for the morning 5K run to a week prior.)
  • 15% had other ideas, and added specific comments, which are viewable at
  • 14% said stay the course, budgets are tight, and we need more time for people to adjust to the new look Fourth of July.
  • 13% believed further evaluation is needed, and that we should make it a priority.

Much work remains to be done. As in previous years, the Courier will meet with the city to coordinate a marketing plan to help publicize holiday events. Our goal is to support the city’s efforts to make this a festive day for all involved this year. It’s also a time for the public to keep their eyes open to whether changes are needed for 2025. Judging from the responses, this seems to be the case.

What’s at stake is the popularity and participation of Claremont July Fourth events and whether recent changes have damaged the city’s strong holiday mojo.

Have a wonderful holiday in 2024!

To vote or check out all the comments go to:


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