Apple News service to hire team of journalists

Matthew Garrahan and Tim Bradshaw
Adrees Latif | Reuters

Apple is hiring a team of journalists to run its Apple News service, part of a broader push by the company to personalize the content it selects and delivers to users of its devices.

The Apple editorial team will liaise with publishers, which include the Financial Times, New York Times, The Guardian and The Economist, which have signed up to provide content to the news service.

A job ad posted for Apple News, which replaces Apple's Newsstand and will compete with Facebook's new Instant Articles service, said successful candidates would "identify and deliver the best in breaking national, global, and local news".

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It is seeking candidates with more than five years of "newsroom experience" able to "recognize original, compelling stories unlikely to be identified by algorithms". Apple declined to comment beyond the job ad.

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One publisher that has had negotiations with Apple over the news service said the hiring of journalists was "jaw-dropping" and "a real surprise".

Ken Doctor, an analyst with Newsonomics, pointed to other examples of technology companies hiring journalists, such as Flipboard and Yahoo. "Apple hasn't done it so it's a departure but it's not a surprising departure," he said. "To do curated distribution you either use algorithms, like Google News, or you use people."

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The launch of the Apple service comes weeks after Facebook unveiled its own deal with a group of publishers to publish some of their content directly through the social network rather than simply hosting it on their own sites.

Apple's news recruitment drive is the latest example of a steady uptick in traffic from Fleet Street to Silicon Valley. In the last few years, social networks Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have hired reporters and editors from the likes of News Corp and NBC to help broker relationships between media groups and their distribution platforms. Within the past six months, Snapchat has hired reporters from CNN and tech site The Verge.

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Apple itself has brought on journalists in the past to help select apps and games to be featured on the homepage of its App Store.

The launch of Apple News comes as the company tries to introduce more of a human element to its other services. Apple Music, which was unveiled last week, includes personally selected playlists and Beats 1, an international radio station staffed by newly hired DJs—including Zane Lowe, formerly of BBC Radio 1.

The publishers participating in Apple News will supply Apple with a few stories each day, which will be served as a stream from an icon on the home screen of connected Apple devices. The publishers will keep any advertising revenue they generate from ads sold around these stories; if they want Apple to sell the ads the iPhone maker will keep a 30 per cent cut of any revenues.

Apple's job ad was first reported by 9to5Mac.