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.