How Newzit became one of the UK’s most viewed news sites
When Ipsos Mori recently released figures listing the UK’s top news sites, a strange newcomer was among the usual suspects.
In a ranking topped by Mail Online, followed by T websitesit sun and The Guardian, a nascent service called Newzit has established itself as a curiosity among long-established national newspaper brands. With a monthly traffic of over 54 million pageviews, it ranks just ahead The temperature, which is admittedly behind a paywall.
Newzit, a website and app, “came out of nowhere,” said Press Gazette, a media industry headline. Visiting this site is to discover something akin to the traditional newsstand, on the forecourt of a supermarket or a petrol station, where all the competing British news titles rub shoulders. But in this digital version, which offers clickable live versions of the various home pages, the news is constantly updated.
Newzit picks the 60 most read stories right now and typically offers eight versions of them, so readers can compare, for example, The independenttackles a climatic story with that of The telegraph. Paid news sites are marked with an orange tag.
A ticker at the top of Newzit lists the 30 “most searched right now” people. Politicians Boris Johnson and Priti Patel appeared last week alongside Kim Kardashian and Emma Raducanu. This feature gives the site an up-to-date celebrity feel; clicking on a name reveals dozens of the most recent stories about that person, from multiple sources of information.
Newzit is a 2021 version of one of the oldest ideas in mainstream internet history: news aggregation. It first appeared in the mid-1990s, most obviously in the form of The Drudge Report, which, though now in decline, remains popular with millions for its dry headlines tied to its favorite stories of the moment. .
Many news aggregators have moved from the Pocket bookmarking app to NewsNow, a UK site launched in 1997 that has grown to offer more than 13,000 sources. But nothing compares to the biggest aggregator of all, Google News, which started in 2002.
Over the past two decades, the news industry has grown increasingly dependent on Google, which holds nearly 90% of the UK search market and accounts for 40% of all digital ad spend. Relations between news publishers and the Silicon Valley giant are often strained.
And this is a clue to the origins of Newzit, a creation of the publisher of Daily mail and online mail. (These titles belong to dmg media, the group which also owns I, New Scientist and Metro – or I has complete editorial independence.)
In April, the MailThe publishers have launched an antitrust action against Google in New York, claiming the internet giant was involved in anti-competitive behavior, including alleged manipulation of news search results. In August, Google blocked ads in Piers Morgan’s MailOnline column after “racist comments” appeared in an article it wrote about gymnast Simone Biles.
In 2019, Mail Online claimed that a change in Google’s algorithm resulted in its search engine traffic being halved. Although the Mail was assured by Google that it had not been targeted, trust was shaken.
“The genesis of Newzit goes back to a few years ago, we were [angry] with Google which constantly confuses us on the algorithm, explains a source. “The [Google] The algorithm is weighted to make value judgments and it massively favors some stocks over others. We were like, “How hard can it be to make a news research site?” “”
Newzit appeared in beta in December 2019 and has grown steadily since. Its own algorithm is based on data taken from 2,000 English-language news websites.
Based at Mailheadquartered in London, it is still in experimental mode but costs little to produce and is already making “a nice net profit”. It has called itself “a new unbiased search and aggregation tool for bona fide news sites only” and claims to be “ideologically balanced and blind”.
Much of Newzit’s traffic comes from promotion on Mail Online, which might arouse suspicion among those who dislike the editorial perspective of this news brand, let alone the Mailcommercial rivals of. But Reach, editor of Mirror and the Express, has been supporting Newzit for a month. None of the aggregator’s titles complained about the use of their content. They probably welcome the traffic it brings.
News aggregators are a product of the 20th century web, but the advent of social media has created echo chambers that can limit our news consumption to views that match our own. Newzit won’t threaten Google’s bottom line, but as a service that exposes readers to a multitude of perspectives from a variety of professional sources, it seems to be its time.