Google’s extension of $1bn to the news industry (maybe) over 3 years represents c 3x it’s current rate of global expenditure on supporting the news industry. Or lobbying against regulation depending on how you see it
The glaring issue often ignored by those funded by Google (in the press and academic research), is how these interventions potentially make very little difference to long term sustainability for newsrooms, but a lot of difference to the progress - or not - of regulation
It’s hard to evaluate the long term benefits of monetary support by platforms of news because it is a. difficult to trace exactly how much and where funds are dispersed, b.the funding is deliberately highly distributed in small amounts - making large impact less likely
And c., the hypotheses tested by platforms in their funding broadly align with the goals of platforms -to effectively access regulatory spaces, to be seen supporting areas with most regulatory scrutiny (often areas of greatest need) and to wean journalism off advertising
The talking points most often advanced by tech platforms in relation to content - like those of ‘trust in journalism’ or the ‘fight against misinformation’ might touch on issues of relevance, but they can also be read as deflecting from deep systemic flaws which go unaddressed
That companies like Facebook and Google are now so completely embedded in discussions of and policy making around the future of journalism is a yardstick to how successful their positioning has been. And how much journalistic institutions have allowed or encouraged it to be so

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More from @emilybell

9 Oct
Here ⁦@TowCenter⁩ - we’ve been looking into the perennial problem of ‘what is a news organisation?’ . It’s an area where platforms need to up their game ....Google and Facebook Have a News Labeling Problem - ⁦…
Facebook allows pages to self-certify as a ‘News/Media company’ , with attendant publisher privileges. There is currently no way to interrogate who is registering as a ‘News/Media company’ through an archive or API. It seems this might be a good step to help identify dark money
Read 5 tweets
6 Mar
#coronavirus for journalists, short thread : Here’s what we know about the importance of reporting during epidemics. First, repetitive, reliable reporting can change behaviour . There are a number if papers on this - here is one…
Important that news organisations update figures, practical information and news about the spread with calm unsensational regularity *in the same place* . Liveblogs are great for those following, but poor for those encountering the story at different points.
This advice from @CarolineYLChen is the best thing I have read on the framing of questions for covering epidemics… - share widely
Read 8 tweets
20 Jan
Initial thoughts about the #BBC. It is not just another crisis. The closest parallel is Thatcher + Peacock committee in 1986, where Checkland and Birt had to secure the future of the corporation (amid much internal opposition to their culture and methods). This is worse 1/
The biggest challenge is dealing with a PM who is personally entangled with commercial media, makes policy announcements on Facebook Live and leads an administration openly hostile to the BBC. Public support for the BBC matters less and is weaker than previously 2/
The new DG has to deal with the political challenge and restore the morale and (journalistic) integrity of its key departments. Not sure this exists in one person. Editorial job is to break silos, restore attention to standards, create right goals, make better progs 3/
Read 6 tweets
23 Oct 19
Thread - (short). Nobody would like to see technology companies reform to help revitalize local journalism more than me (seriously). However the direct ungoverned relationship of a platform like Facebook (or Google) to news organizations is troubling on a number of levels 1/
Conflict of interest being the most obvious. Today as Zuckerberg answered @AOC asking what she would or would not be allowed to advertise on Facebook we saw repeated mentions of @factchecknet set up as the ‘arbiter of truth’ (which it can never be, it is a service provider) 2/
It is v hard for organisations that take money from platforms to directly challenge them when subtle shifts in narrative like this take place. The use of the @factchecknet process as a fig leaf for Facebook’s own political advertising policies was a case of influence at work 3/
Read 6 tweets
10 Jun 19
The issue of #Google and the news industry is this: Google is a massive advertising company. They are part of a live experiment in changing communications and publishing systems, and doing it without much understanding of what will happen as a result of their actions 1/x
Along with other advertising companies (notably Facebook) that use mass data aggregation to reengineer and make the advertising business far more efficient, they have changed the economics of content production and monetization 2/x
(Google News (the product) could never have been built by the news industry, collectively or individually, because it only works as a result of all the *other* development done on the Google core search platform. Billions of dollars of engineering etc). 3/x
Read 10 tweets

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