Google is pretending that it cares about journalism by shelling out five million US dollars to help digital journalism.
So far, the only way Google has helped digital journalism is to turn some rather natty titles into churnalist titles, as the hacks beat their fingers against keyboards in a vain attempt to get the top slots on Google News.
The $5 million will go to non profit organisations that are attempting to meddle in journalism by developing “new approaches”, according to Google salesman Nikesh Arora.
Two of the five million bucks will go to an organisation called the Knight Foundation – which apparently promotes journo training. While Google has the quaint notion that its news aggregator helps large media organisations, as far as we can tell, it’s just encouraged the mighty behemoths of yesterday to play follow my leader, rather than break stories.
In doing so, Google News plays right into the hands of the worst kind of publishers, who drive pay for hacks down and encourage chasing the tail of other news publications.
Hey, that’s not to say that Google News is all bad. At least it allows minnows to challenge the mighty media organisations of the world.
But, all in all, it is a supremely cynical approach from Google, a multinational which likes to describe itself as not evil.