Google’s Plan to Save Newspapers

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Can Google save the newspaper industry?

That’s the question being posed, now that the search giant has announced it’s developing a platform to microcharge for online news content.

The plan promises a win-win scenario: The news industry finally profits online, while Google takes 30 percent off the top (much like Apple with iPhone apps).

Based on the (rough) outline, there’s plenty to be excited about. The proposal involves a fee to access multiple sites, a clever way to assuage commitment issues. And Google is, after all, Google—an online behemoth with a ton of power to leverage.

The downside: Precedent. There has been scant luck with charging for content so far, so who’s to know if anything will work? And getting the news industry on board may prove difficult, considering Google’s contested aggregation practices.

But whether it pans out or not, it’s good to hear that interesting ideas are being tossed around. Because if something isn’t done to save quality, original reporting soon, we’ll all be the worse for it.

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GREAT JOURNALISM, SLOW FUNDRAISING

Our team has been on fire lately—publishing sweeping, one-of-a-kind investigations, ambitious, groundbreaking projects, and even releasing “the holy shit documentary of the year.” And that’s on top of protecting free and fair elections and standing up to bullies and BS when others in the media don’t.

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So, two things:

1) If you value the journalism we do but haven’t pitched in over the last few months, please consider doing so now—we urgently need a lot of help to make up for lost ground.

2) If you’re not ready to donate but you’re interested enough in our work to be reading this, please consider signing up for our free Mother Jones Daily newsletter to get to know us and our reporting better. Maybe once you do, you’ll see it’s something worth supporting.

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