Google’s Fascinating News Experiment

I have long wondered if or when Google would get into the media business directly, buying up a newspaper company or three. My friends at Google always reply with the same mantra: We are a search company, not a content company. Okay.

Regardless, it’s undeniable that Google has greatly affected how journalism is consumed in this country and, consequently but to a lesser degree, how journalism is created. Journalism is a market like any other, and it responds to market forces.

Consider now this really fascinating idea that Google is rolling out: a feature that allows the subjects of news articles to comment on the published article.

This makes sense, doesn’t it? The writer has his/her say by writing the article; the everyday reader gets to weigh in via the comments section; and now the subject gets to reply in a highlighted comment section.

If this becomes widely implemented (no guarantee), I think it will shake up a lot of people, mostly for the better. I always try to glean feedback from the subject of an article that I write, and I generally find it valuable. I can’t think of a good reason why the subject shouldn’t be allowed to speak up in a forum that everybody, and not just the writer, can see.

(Hat tip: Sam Diaz, via Romenesko.)

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  1. Paul says:

    “I can’t think of a good reason why the subject shouldn’t be allowed to speak up in a forum that everybody, and not just the writer, can see.”

    Gee, what about speaking for the record in the article itself? What about resisting the urge to tell your assistant to say that you’re “unavailable for comment”?

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  2. Paul says:

    “I can’t think of a good reason why the subject shouldn’t be allowed to speak up in a forum that everybody, and not just the writer, can see.”

    Gee, what about speaking for the record in the article itself? What about resisting the urge to tell your assistant to say that you’re “unavailable for comment”?

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  3. M F says:

    But what about that whole objectivity thing? Kind of hard to hang on to that when the person most likely to be biased – the subject – gets to pen a coda to the article.

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  4. M F says:

    But what about that whole objectivity thing? Kind of hard to hang on to that when the person most likely to be biased – the subject – gets to pen a coda to the article.

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  5. John Mott says:

    I agree with the comments in your last paragraph. If you have ever had the “pleasure” of reading an article about a subject with which your are intimately familiar, you know the frustration of seeing a factual reply that is at best 50% correct. Worst yet is the spin imparted so that the article is more “interesting” to the reader, which can and often does distort the facts. All of this of course in most cases to enhance the career of the writer, because after all journalism is as you say a business and driven by revenue.
    Seems more and more these days juornalism is more interested in a story than the facts.

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  6. John Mott says:

    I agree with the comments in your last paragraph. If you have ever had the “pleasure” of reading an article about a subject with which your are intimately familiar, you know the frustration of seeing a factual reply that is at best 50% correct. Worst yet is the spin imparted so that the article is more “interesting” to the reader, which can and often does distort the facts. All of this of course in most cases to enhance the career of the writer, because after all journalism is as you say a business and driven by revenue.
    Seems more and more these days juornalism is more interested in a story than the facts.

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  7. Me says:

    How will Google confirm the subject is who he says he is?

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  8. Me says:

    How will Google confirm the subject is who he says he is?

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