Google's $5 Million News Donation

This has been widely noted elsewhere, for instance here on the Atlantic's site and here by Fortune, but for closing-the-loop purposes I should mention Google's announcement today that it is giving $5 million to support innovations in journalism, including $2 million to the Knight Foundation.

This is in keeping with the Google argument I reported last summer, that it had both a public-relations stake and a self-interested business stake in helping support the survival and evolution of professional journalism. The PR stake is avoiding being seen as the "vulture picking off the dead carcass of the news industry," as Eric Schmidt, the CEO, put it; the business stake is supporting the continued flow of information from around the world, which Google can then index. The larger view Google offered was that journalism's survival would depend on no one innovation -- or one company or one business model -- but on a constantly evolving set of experiments with an ever-expanding array of new approaches. (They think the same is true of their own company's survival.) This grant is consistent with everything they told me at the time. Congrats; we should view it as a good start.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


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