Google has provided an explanation of how they rank news for specific topics using a system called topic authority.
Topic authority is Google’s search ranking system that considers that uses several signals to determine the degree of expertise a publication has in a specific topic. For example sports, technology, business, education, etc.
One of the key signals considered is how notable the news source is in that topic or location. Google system is able to understand publications that are preferred by web visitors in a particular topic or location. For example, most users are likely to visit The Verge or TechCrunch for tech news, therefore Google will give it more prominence.
The second key signal is originality. Google Systems looks at how the original source of the news item is cited by other publishers to determine the influence the publication has on that topic. Highly cited sources are considered more influential.
Google says that topic authority helps them to rank news for publications that are familiar with the topic and the location where they are based. This means that news from local publishers is given more preference than others.
Finally, Google’s emphasis on topic authority means publishers need to develop specialty in a specific topic. What is commonly known by bloggers as niche authority.
Read more about Topic Authority.