If Journalists Want to Save Journalism, They Should Stop Asking Google for Money
Politico Europe’s Playbook claims to be “the most reliable political newsletter in Brussels”—a morning must-read for journalists, policymakers, and political junkies. In 2015, Playbook readers noted a surprising small change: The newsletter was now “sponsored by Google.” It is no coincidence that, exactly at that moment, Google was under investigation by the European Commission for breaching antitrust laws. In 2015, the number of Google grants to European media suddenly spiked—from almost zero to more than 260.
The Google Transparency Project collected all the available information on 16 different Google programs and related organizations to fund journalism. The report reveals that Google and related entities have committed between $567 million and $569 million to support at least 1,157 projects around the globe. The analysis also identified at least 170 projects supported by Google for which no transparent information on the funding’s origin was available.