By Kenneth Rosen
Nowadays anyone can be a critic, but can anyone be a publisher?
In Monday’s New York Times, an article appeared in the business section that questioned Google’s practices as a search engine and self-publisher. In September, Google’s chairman, Eric E. Schmidt, was asked to address a Senate antitrust panel that questioned whether or not the search engine giant could be unbiased with its results while also having a slew of Web-based services. Schmidt argued that it was the company’s policy to provide the most helpful and pertinent results to its users, otherwise they’d go elsewhere such as Microsoft’s Bing.
Staggeringly enough, it’s something many would never consider: newspapers choose what should be seen on A1, but should Google’s secret algorithms favor companies it wants to highlight?
It’s no secret that publications have their own agendas, but with the No. 1 search engine being called into question, it begs even further the question of the self-publishing companies such as Amazon and The Atavist.
The Atavist, a start-up that helps produce multimedia stories for e-readers, founded by Schmidt alongside industry icons Marc Andereessen (Netscape), Peter Thiel (PayPal) and Sean Parker (Facebook), publishes longer form journalism. Though only in its first year, their platform already sparked interest in The Paris Review and TED conferences.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a platform that allows Joe Journalist/writer/blogger to publish his own work. It seems that in this digital age of writing, it won’t be hard to get lost in a slew of convoluted content. This is to say that while more and more companies pop up and offer DIY publishing, who will be credible and who will flood the market with Lolcat books?
Long gone are the days of informed, vetted writing, and with them go the standards of journalism.Contact Kenneth Rosen.