Taking a lesson from Google
On June 22, Google introduced its News Lab project, which aims to actively support technology innovation and media. More specifically, Google will provide tools to journalists worldwide and data packages from Google’s immense collection.
It’s an idea many reporters in the digital and mobile era would welcome. Of course, Google didn’t initially volunteer to initiate News Lab. The company was long criticized as a news thief for using and disseminating media content without paying the appropriate fees.
News Lab is an extension of the digital news initiative announced in April to help in the digitalization of European media. At the same time, it may as well be the carrot Google is offering to the press as IT giants like Facebook, Apple and Twitter join the news distribution business.
Whatever their intention may be, the Korean media welcomes and envies the creation of its News Lab. We especially appreciate Google’s view that it should share its assets with the media and provide ideas for the future of journalism.
So how about Naver and Daum Kakao, the leaders in Korea’s IT industry? They became aware of the advantages of news distribution before Google and Facebook were even at the gateway of the online news market. It’s hard to imagine Naver and Daum Kakao without news.
However, I’ve never heard of Naver and Daum Kakao seriously contemplating how it could contribute to the digital innovation of journalism. They reluctantly feign reform when they are criticized as “Internet dinosaurs.”
They slyly shifted responsibility when it came to concerns surrounding the “pseudo-media” - a term used to describe subpar media outlets that exaggerate and distort news stories. Instead of revoking their contracts with the “pseudo press,” they asked society to come up with an answer.
As early as July, they will allow “official replies” from the government and companies in regard to the ridiculous news stories posted online. Packaging these replies as part of “public discourse,” it’s just another way of portal sites trying to influence news distribution.
Korean portal sites are skeptical of Google’s News Lab and Facebook’s partnership with the worldwide media. They regard these attempts as seeking to create a news platform similar to what they offer now.
They are so arrogant to believe there would be no future for the media without Naver News or Daum News. There can be no future or innovation in a society where two giants monopolize the gateway of information anyway.
The author is a business news reporter of the JoongAng Ilbo.
JoongAng Ilbo, June 24, Page 29
by PARK SU-RYEON