Stephen Basdeo is a historian and writer based in Leeds, United Kingdom. He enjoys writing for a popular audience, as well as writing more specialist publications.
Something special happened overnight as I was sleeping: this website, Reynolds’s News and Miscellany, was approved by Google to be featured in its Google News App.
All of you loyal subscribers (who number almost 1,000 now!) will remember my previous article in which I outlined why I had rebranded the website from Here Begynneth a Lytell Geste of Robin Hood to Reynolds’s News and Miscellany. In short, the last post on medieval history—or indeed Robin Hood for that matter—was about a year. There are also several other dedicated Robin Hood sites such as those which are managed by Allen Wright and Will Hoff, as well as the International Association for Robin Hood Studies blog.
Besides this website, as any regular reader could see, has organically grown outside of the original niche content I began uploading originally. Thus I rebranded the website and named it after two of the biggest-selling newspapers of the Victorian era: Reynolds’s Weekly Newspaper and Reynolds’s Miscellany (founded by the brilliant George W.M. Reynolds, whose image adorns the masthead).
Not only does my modern-day Reynolds’s News and Miscellany now feature articles written by myself, but it has also featured essays and articles from several other academics and writers such as Prof. Rebecca Nesvet and Jessica Elizabeth Thomas (we also remain open for submissions from other people). Alongside this, a number of interesting “forgotten” novels, poems, and essays from the nineteenth century have been republished—hence the word “miscellany.”
So what does this all mean?
Well, Google News is a news aggregator, developed in 2006, which collates the daily feeds of over 20,000 news publishers’ content. Compared to that huge number, Reynolds’s News and Miscellany admittedly looks like “small fry”—indeed it is!
But Google’s rules for inclusion in Google News are quite strict. For the faceless guys at Google to approve your website for inclusion the works of several writers have to appear and have easily recognisable bylines. The content cannot merely consist of re-blogged posts from other websites but has to be original content (although with my re-publication of several historical short stories from old magazines, perhaps “original” can be interpreted quite widely). Finally, and perhaps most importantly, content has to be uploaded to your news site on a regular basis—“regular” for Google’s administrators appears to mean “daily,” which many subscribers at least will know I have been trying to do on a daily basis.
So, truly an honour and distinction to be listed among the 20,000 when there are an estimated 1.84 billion websites in the world!
In time, based on algorithms (which people much more intelligent than me understand), Reynolds’s News and Miscellany might even be featured on the News tab in the search engines. For now, however, should you download the Google News app or log in to it through the webpage, if you search for Reynolds’s News and Miscellany you can follow and subscribe! (And this site will always remain free, as I’m committed to providing knowledge and news on an open access basis)