Google Vice President Marissa Mayer told a Stanford University audience last night that the future of journalism may lie in the hands of MySpace and Facebook reporters, who would write first-hand reports that could be edited and aggregated by citizen journalists.
“The futuristic idea, which she attributed to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, drew some incredulous laughs from a mostly older audience.“Our users want information that’s very urgent, like breaking news,” she said. “So for us it’s very important to have that information in our index, so we can include it in our products.”“
I sincerely hope that the reporter took Mayer’s comments out of context because MySpace is the future of journalism in the same way that mold is the future of cheese.
Here’s the problem: Google wants more news more often, so they can sell more ads on more pages. That’s why blogs are a big business for them, and why they’re interested in social networking platforms. That’s where all the content creation is taking place. For this reason I’m extremely wary of Google having a voice in journalism debates. Citizen journalism is a good thing, but only if it’s buttressed by traditional journalism.