Markkula Center for Applied Ethics - Better Choices

The Future of Digital Journalism

Richard Gingras

Richard Gingras, Head, News & Social Products, Google
2013 Digital Journalism Ethics Roundtable

An overly romanticized view of journalism's past is a dangerous vantage point for addressing challenges presented by new media, according to Richard Gingras, head of news and social products at Google. Gingras thanked keynote speaker Todd Gitlin at the 2013 Digital Journalism Ethics Roundtable for grounding the group's discussion in a more accurate view of the history of newsgathering in America.

The old journalistic ecosystem, Gingras said, was very much top-down. The "high priests of the media" told us what to think, although they had close relationships with people in power that sometimes unduly influenced their reporting.

Gingras celebrated opportunities in the new digital journalism to hear from more voices. He also saw great potential in computational journalism, where algorithms can create continuing investigative reports that surface anomalies and concerns.

He rejected the notion that the personalized quality of digital journalism creates silos. Instead, he argued that the Internet allows connections between "people who don't know each other but should."

The new ecosystem, he said, is truly open, and "I'll bet on that any day."

Jun 6, 2013