Microsoft News, on MSN.com and a recently redesigned Microsoft News app, unveiled a new look, touting its human reach in deciding what appears on the website all while paying publishers to host their stories.
Since launching in 1995, Microsoft-owned MSN now claims to have a monthly reach of nearly half a billion people. Microsoft News can also be found on Skype, Xbox and Outlook.com.
And while artificial intelligence is part of the curation process, so are humans. For the new MSN, AI gives a first look at the content and considers a variety of variables, including the type of topic and the potential for it to be popular, and suggests a photo to pair with it, and sends it to a human for further consideration.
More than 800 editors in 50 locations are also part of selecting what goes live.
“Our editors have extensive experience working in the journalism industry and come from a wide variety of publications around the world,” said Rob Bennett, editor in chief of Microsoft News. “We are always working to expand our network of publishers to ensure we are providing the most diverse, credible, and well-rounded content available.”
Microsoft news has partnered with more than 1,000 publishers and 3,000 brands in 140 countries to aggregate the news and other content. On average, those partners send more than 100,000 pieces of unique content each day.
“Our editors often talk with our publishing partners to discuss news of the day and jointly plan editorial calendars to ensure that we can curate Microsoft News with the best content available,” Bennett said.
Among those publishers are The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, USA Today, Fox News and BBC News. In the past four years, Microsoft says it has delivered $600 million back to publishers while providing readers with free access to the news.
“Microsoft continues to prove a strong and collaborative partner, frequently engaging our newsroom to help shape their products to elevate a quality news experience for their audience,” said Maribel Perez Wadsworth, publisher of USA Today and president of the USA Today Network, in a statement to Adweek. “It’s a good partnership that offers strong opportunities to build audience and increase revenue for our business.”