Is Google trading access for positive media coverage?

Is Google trading access for positive media coverage?

Summary: I received this message from Jeff Jarvis regarding this post: "I had no access to Google. I have no idea why the words "generous access" are in quotes.

TOPICS: Google

<update:> I received this message from Jeff Jarvis regarding this post: "I had no access to Google. I have no idea why the words "generous access" are in quotes. Those certainly are not my quotes. I chose to write my book from a distance without any access or favor from Google."</update>

After posting on Randall Stross's puff piece on Google in the New York Times, I came across (via what I think is an important post on journalistic integrity and Google's journalist-by-journalist press policy. Diary of a Rat noted the obvious similarities in Stross's column and Google's Public Policy posts and chastised the Times for bio-lining Stross as "an author based in Silicon Valley and a professor of business at San Jose State University," without noting that he is working on a book on Google, for which he received:

[U]nprecedented access ... to the highly secretive "Googleplex" ... \
Stross is not the only one writing a Google-blessed book and carrying Google's lobbying water at the same time, Rat notes. Acclaimed journalist-cum-blogger Jeff Jarvis recently repeated Google's talking points on this deal, while at least disclosing he is writing a sympathetic book.
Jarvis discloses that he is also publishing a book about Google that, one can assume, resulted from “generous access” (not so, as it turns out.) Further, he admits that his book is admiring of the company. The disclosure is one step ahead of the Times and is appreciated because it provides a lens through which we can critically assess his sentiments.
While journalists depend on access for scoops, the price being paid may be too high. Google reacted angrily when ZD's sister site revealed personal details of Eric Schmidt's life by searching on Google. Google boycotted for some period of time. We all know that publishing in this day and age is a battle for readership, but in the long run integrity will outpace access.

Topic: Google

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  • We don't expect integrity any more

    I don't trust any 'journalists' anymore, I just try to read everything I can and make my own conclusions. No one admits to their biases, nor do they admit to special considerations or past affiliations, except the most obvious ones (like, "I work at Microsoft").

    So spare the journalistic integrity garbage, it doesn't exist. For the few that actually do have some, I'm sorry, but your industry speaks for you.

    And I don't need to read "big sloppy BJ" anywhere in my daily tech news. I thought I was reading intelligent commentary, not crass comments by a MySpace blogger.
    • Well, as they say, the press in the US is free. That is FREE to write what

      people want to hear and what makes them the most money.

      We get a very distorted view of the world here in the US, since the large news organizations tell us what we want to hear.

      Of course, there are also plenty that will tell you what makes them money.

      And, the King of non-confrontive interviews is Larry King himself. He gets all kinds of interviews, because the interviewees KNOW he will not attack them and only do positive pieces.

      But, hey, this is life.

      And, great to see journalists calling it for what it is, but, it is nothing new.
      • You give too little credit to the populace

        [i]We get a very distorted view of the world here in the US, since the large news organizations tell us what we want to hear[/i]

        Does that not hold true for the citizens of every nation? Do you beleive that Cuba or Venezuela get an accurate view of the US, or the rest of the world? Even Great Britton.

        As for the statement, the US perhaps aquires the best view of the world then any other country as we receive so many channels here from abroad that many people of other nations do not.

        We are much better informed then what you would beleive.
        • Yes, this holds true for all nations, but, here we have a free press, and

          we tend to equate that with getting the real news. People need to be on guard about what the real truth is. You can bet that the major news organizations such as ABC, CBS, NBC, (MSNBC), Fox, CNN, . . . . will tell us what we want to hear, or lose the audience. People always want to hear good things about themselves and their country.

          So, you have to read blogs, foreign web sites, etc, to get a more comprehensive picture.

          And, let us not forget all of those writing about what makes them money. If you want to get interviews and access, and you have a reputation for being negative, no matter HOW true what you wrote was . . . .
  • Call Microsoft and say you want to do a negative story about Steve Blamer,

    and see what kind of access you get. Or any other large company for that matter. You will not find any that give equal access to people that are likely to write a negative article.

    So, you have to take those gushing articles (about ANY company) where the author was granted a lot of access with a grain of salt.
    • Wow, One post and you already dragged

      Microsoft into it.

      Anyhow, of course you will never get an interview with anyone if you come out and say that you will be writing a negative story about them.

      Much like a spy that will lie about his identity or intentions, journalist must sometimes "sleep with the enemy" to gain their trust to uncover the truths.
      • And, the point is that it is not any different at any other large hi tech

        company. You want to write negative articles, they ain't exactly a gonna welcome you with open arms.

        Sure, it IS important to have journalists that see through that and uncover the real story.

        In the mean time, take the insider stories with a grain of salt.
        • And the point is the blog is about GOOGLE

          So what if other companies do it? Does that mean the next time someone posts about how MS is paying off a journalist, you're going to be quiet and not bray about how singularly evil MS is?

          Lots of people cheat on their taxes - if a story comes out on McCain or Obama cheating on their taxes, I want to hear about it, not sweep it under the rug because "lots of other people do it." What a way to avoid blame and accountability - claiming a dirty action is unimportant because that's the way it is in the industry.
  • I did not have access to Google

    Please note that I did not have nor did I seek access to Google so that I could write my book, What Would Google Do?, from a distance.
    • What a pain... is to leave a comment and correction here.