Ben Smith Publishers predict that 2020 will be the year they start to get paid for the news

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Ben Smith Facebook Inc. unveiled a separate news section in October and agreed to pay for articles from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and other media companies.

ByGerry Smithbloomberg

Wed., Dec. 25, 20193 min. read

NEW YORK—For years, news outlets promoted their work on various online platforms, hoping to bring readers and advertisers back to their own websites.

But the ad dollars have largely flowed to Facebook and Google. Now, as they head into 2020, embattled publishers are hoping to turn the tables on tech platforms that have profited from their work — by getting them to pay for stories.

So far, the amount of money flowing back to newsrooms is still relatively small, but media executives are encouraged by what they say is a willingness to pay for news in some corners of the tech industry.

“It’s a positive trend we’re seeing from the platforms,” said Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News.

The most prominent example is Facebook Inc., which unveiled a separate news section in October and agreed to pay for articles from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and other media companies. Some publishers are getting $1 million to $3 million a year.

Facebook joins a diverse group of startups that need news articles to attract users and are cutting cheques for them.

Hosting stories

Pocket, an ad-supported app owned by Mozilla Corp., struck a deal with the Atlantic and is talking to other publishers about paying to host older stories. The Pocket app is best known for letting people save content to read later. But it also recommends articles and is testing whether stories published months or years ago can enjoy a second life.

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Since 2017, Medium, a digital publishing company, has paid about a dozen pub

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