So, once again, reality blurred has been rejected by Google News. My submissions and the subsequent rejections now form a multi-year saga.
In the early days, it was rejected for being a single-author site, even though there were many other single-author sites that I regularly encountered. But I respect their right to create criteria in order to ensure the integrity of the service. Now, though, since reality blurred has expanded to include others’ voices—always carefully edited and curated—I submitted again.
Here’s the reason I was given:
“We’re concerned about non-news content on your site. Google News is not a marketing service. We don’t want to send users to sites created primarily for promoting a product or organization, or to sites that engage in commerce journalism. If your site mixes news content with other types of content, especially paid advertorials or promotional content, we strongly recommend that you separate the non-news types of content before re-applying for inclusion.”
I honestly do not know what this means. What marketing or promotion did someone find in the reporting and criticism here? Sure, stories recommend excellent television shows, and have done that a few times recently. The only thing I can think of was that particular mix of recent recommendations is being confused with marketing, even though it’s clearly not: independent, analytical praise is definitely not marketing. Besides, there are so many sites in Google News that just regurgitate press releases and/or company lines that I don’t understand why they’d qualify and reality blurred would not.
And the nearly 16 years of writing and reporting here demonstrates a commitment to journalism—heck, a broadcast network once tried to silence reality blurred‘s reporting, that’s how much the stories here are not marketing.
There is a mix of news and opinion stories here, of course, but I submitted it as a blog, and the guidelines say blogs “contain more opinion content,” so it’s not the analysis or criticism in some stories that would be considered non-news.
What’s especially frustrating to me is the level of garbage reality TV news that I regularly see in Google News, such as this unbylined piece that was nothing more than keyword-rich clickbait, and was entirely inaccurate when it was written. They’re benefitting financially from people searching for trustworthy news.
As a small publisher in this increasingly fragmented landscape, where people rely on platforms (Facebook, Twitter) and services (Google News, Apple News) to discover news content, reality blurred can use all the help it can get. And honestly, to be self-aggrandizing for a moment, people searching for reality television news—and that’s already a large portion of reality blurred‘s monthly visitors, who find it through regular searches—can use an additional trustworthy source of reported facts and informed analysis.
Oh well. I’ll try again in 60 days.