News: Try and Find It

February 25, 2014

There are dozens of news sites. These range from the little known among “experts” like Big Project to almost anonymous services like WN.com. The hurried Web user can consume headlines at https://news.google.com/news or http://news.yahoo.com/. My local newspaper offers news but begs for dollars. News appears to be everywhere.

I read “Local Newspapers and TV Stations Are building Their Own Private Ad Exchange with Google.” Ah, how times have changed according to the article. Here’s a passage I noted:

Today, the Consortium is taking a step towards fulfilling its promise of increased revenue through a new partnership with Google. The deal is supposed to strengthen Google’s relationship with local publishers by “turbo charging” the online news business via “growing budgets” for programmatic buying, according to a company blog post by Laurent Cordier.

Google is a force to channeled. Most of the news professionals I know tell me that they are good researchers and that they use Google. That’s good for Google.

But what about the flow of news? Newspapers and magazines need ad revenues, and in my research, I found that Google can deliver traffic. With traffic comes money. With the money comes dependence.

For Google that’s very good. For those who become dependent on Google, the consequences are cash. If there are other issues, will the dependent executives assert, “We understand the situation. We can deal with whatever comes down the road.”

These folks believe these words. I am suspicious of deals that refer to turbocharging.

And what about coverage of events? Our work continues to reveal that it is more difficult to:

  • Locate timely news online
  • Verify stories propagated by certain sources
  • Find backfiles
  • Figure out what’s filtered in and out, when, and why
  • Access information on certain topics
  • Get timely updates online from certain governmental organizations
  • Keep track of content that disappears.

Perhaps those Google bucks will improve coverage of local activities, expand backfiles, and increase the flow of verified, original reporting?

I will have to wait and see. But is information the purpose of those in the deal with Google or is the goal cash. As George Bush once said about support for those affected by the crisis in Haiti, “Just send cash.”

Stephen E Arnold, February 25, 2014

Comments

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