By Robbie Karp
“Fake news” has led to misinformed decisions, political and otherwise, and overwhelming public skepticism around the information we are bombarded with 24/7. Fortunately, Google is taking tangible steps to address this problem by working within their own systems and partnering with experts to focus on journalistic integrity in a campaign they are calling the Google News Initiative.
Not only is this notable for the impact it may have on bringing trust back to the news we are served up and our ability to identify deception, it’s also an excellent example of a company addressing a problem that is at the core of it’s business, yet going beyond its own work to improve society more broadly. In the blog post announcing the $300 million pledge over three years, Philipp Schindler, Chief Business Officer at Google noted: “…our mission to build a more informed world is inherently tied to the reporting of journalists and news organizations.”
Especially notable are the partnerships Google has activated: Key support for the Harvard Kennedy School’s First Draft project to help news organizations identify false information during critical breaking news situations, and Google.org’s grant to the Poynter Institute, Stanford University, and the Local Media Association to launch MediaWise, a project aimed at improving digital information literacy for young people.
Google’s willingness to see and work to address a societal problem core to its mission, and be self-aware enough to know that it needs to reach out to experts for help and independent perspectives, is less unusual today than it once was, but it is still not the norm.
But it should be. We believe the use of partnerships like Google’s is a more authentic and productive way to solve difficult problems. The right collaborations can energize an organization’s employees, stakeholders and consumers
It can be challenging, but bringing together those with varying and even conflicting points-of-view is more likely to build trust and make sustainable impact.
It’s time for Corporate America to stop talking to itself.