Keeping Everyone Honest on Google News

Dennis Faas's picture

Google has unveiled a new feature for its popular Google News: comments.

The new addition, now in beta, is sparking talks of the ethical implications of journalism and how Google is "stepping it up a notch" on that front.

As Google software engineers Dan Meredith and Andy Golding explained on the official Google blog, adding comments may equate to adding integrity. "As always, Google News will direct readers to the professionally-written articles and news sources our algorithms have determined are relevant for a topic...But we're hoping that by adding this feature, we can help enhance the news experience for readers, testing the hypothesis that -- whether they're penguin researchers or presidential candidates -- a personal view can sometimes add a whole new dimension to the story." (Source:

Thus far, comments include a post from a McDonald's executive about preschoolers preferring food wrapped in McDonald's packaging and another from a professor at the University of California at San Francisco about the importance of a new HIV treatment. (Source:

Currently, only the parties mentioned in an article can submit a post. In the future, however, Google plans to allow all readers to submit a comment.

The addition of comments on Google News is more than just a cute new feature; rather, it's a step toward promoting journalistic integrity. Ironically, online readers are more concerned with the news itself than the reporter, whereas cable television news watchers deem the source more important than the news quality. (Source:

Media consultant Jeff Jarivs believes that comments are long overdue in the news industry. "What's really a shame is news organizations have not made this effort long ago and waited for yet another disruptive move by an online company," he said. (Source:

So it appears that Google, widely credited for revolutionizing our searches, has now made its mark on yet another industry.

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