Review of “Facebook and Google Funding Journalism: A Solution, or a Hail Mary Pass?”

At Fortune.com, there is a section of the website devoted to the subject of technology. However, the article that I will be talking about is not about technology as a whole, but specifically digital journalism.

The article is called “Facebook and Google Funding Journalism: A Solution, or a Hail Mary Pass?”, and it is written by Matthew Ingram. On February 21, 2017, 2 opinion articles were released. One from The New York Times, and the other from the Columbia Journal Review. In the two articles, both authors wrote of a desire to see big media companies, like Facebook and Google, donate money to the cause of journalism.

In his article though, Ingram argues that well the idea behind the opinion pieces may be noble, in the end it’s not all that realistic. Ingram does this by trying to answer three questions: “1) Do technology companies or their founders actually have a duty to do this? 2) Is there any realistic chance that this might actually come to pass? and 3) Would it solve any of journalism’s real problems if it did happen?”

To Ingram, the second question is the first to be answered, and he does so in a very respectful, if blunt, manner. He simply lets the reader think about the current situation, and then lets them think of what the most realistic outcome is. Would a digital CEO donate “over a billion dollars annually for the next five years”?

As for the first question, Ingram bluntly lays out his opinion in only one sentence. However, like his first response, Ingram is both respectful and thoughtful with his answer. In the same way he did with the first one, Ingram challenges the reader to think about the situation at hand.

When answering the third question, Ingram sort of departs from his previous method of responses, and instead begins to argue his point by attempting to deconstruct the media companies themselves, and how they, in fact, would not be helping journalism’s problems, even if they did contribute money.

My favorite part of the article is the ending. In the final paragraphs, Ingram concludes that media entities have their own problems, many of them by their own actions, and that asking them for help “protecting journalism” is more like a “bailout”. However, before ending, Ingram makes sure to reference yet another article. I liked this, as Ingram is not only responding to articles, but providing a reader with more of them, so that they consider another point of view.

URL to article: http://fortune.com/2017/02/22/tech-funding-for-journalism/


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