If there is a villain in my book Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers, Google is it. I fiercely criticize bad reporting practices perpetrated on behalf of the Google free economy, where a mighty monopoly extends incredible influence over advertising dollars and content distribution. Flip around to one of my other tomes, The Principles of Disruptive Design, and the search and information giant is praised for innovation that promises to usher in the “Star Trek”-era of touchless computing. So what? Is Google devil or savior?[Read more]
On March 15, 2011, I started the post you now read with a headline left unanswered: “Is Aggregation Really Just Plagiarism?” Clearly, my answer—too long coming—is “Yes”. Unequivocally, news aggregation is plain, pure plagiarism.
Google enables, no encourages, content thieves, despite recent search engine penalizing strategies. Too often, the big G raps sites because of links to black-listed blogs. The problem is bigger: Mainstream blogs writing synopsis stories that include absolutely no original reporting but take away pageviews from the news site doing the real work.[Read more]
There is a very good reason why in my book Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers that I identify The Prime Directive (yeah, like “Star Trek”): “Write what you know to be true in the moment”. Last night, one of my BetaNews colleagues violated this sacrosanct rule. I berated him privately, now publicly.
The story: “New Mozilla CEO is allegedly anti-gay marriage—Firefox developers boycott“. Had someone consulted me, the story wouldn’t have run (and the reporter did try to reach me). The problem is fundamentally one of sourcing. Four years ago, in post “The Difference between Blogging and Journalism“, I laid out the fundamental sourcing philosophy behind The Prime Directive. Excerpt:[Read more]
Over the weekend, during our online chat, someone boasted about another writer taking top placement on Google News. “Once you start looking for Google News ranking you’ve lost your way”, I responded. “I never look. I don’t even look there for stories to read”. It’s true. Nearly three months into the year, I haven’t visited Google News even once.
As a resource for readers, the site can be useful. For writers, Google News is bad news. I know way too many bloggers or journalists who obsesses about placement there too much. They write stories and carefully craft headlines to get lift, knowing that top placement can bring tens of thousands pageviews in just a few hours.[Read more]
Someone at Wired deserves credit (and bonus pay) for curated news journalism well-done. Story “A Startlingly Simple Theory About the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet” is original content that provides fresh perspective about Flight 370. The tech news site plucks this gem from Google+, where aviator Chris Goodfellow posted five days earlier. Wired sources the original, acknowledging authorship and curation: “We’ve copyedited it with his permission”.
The Plus post shows social sharing’s strengths, where the interaction in comments extends the storytelling (as does the broader Reddit thread that captures Chris’ post and many others). It’s unfortunate Google+ limits comments to 500, cutting off the conversation.[Read more]