Where's the environment section on Google News?
(Page 2 of 2)
As Erick Schonfeld of - ahem - TechCrunch pointed out last month, Google doesn't really control the news. Mr. Schonfeld notes that Google News's monthly traffic – 16.2 million unique visitors in February – is just over a third of that of Yahoo! News and of all the sites owned by the New York Times. MSNBC, CNN and AOL News have more visitors as well.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
But 16.2 million uniques is still a huge number. It's bigger than what each of the websites for Fox, ABC, CBS, and NBC get, and it's way bigger than what any single newspaper draws in. Even if it's not the biggest site in town, Google News wields way more influence than most over what people are reading about.
And regardless of where you stand on matters of energy, climate change, wildlife, population, and pollution, it's hard not to recognize that humanity's interaction with the Earth's natural processes is fast becoming a defining issue of our age.
Google knows this. The company's philanthropy arm, Google.org, has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in renewable energy initiatives, plug-in electric vehicles, and real-time monitoring of home electricity use. Google's energy team has drafted an ambitious proposal for drastic cuts in US fossil fuel consumption. And the company offers biodiesel shuttles for its workers and serves organic food in its cafeterias.
For a company that pays that much attention to the environment, it seems strange not to recognize it as its own separate news topic.
At this point you should be sniffing some conflict of interest here. And you'd be right. On the rare occasions when a post from this blog makes it up on Google News's home page, it's usually accompanied by a spike in traffic and an increased sense of job security. A Google News environment section would probably make those occasions less rare. And it would also make it a little easier to come up with ideas for posts in the first place.
But so what? If there's anything that journalists should be allowed to voice an opinion on, it's about what counts as important news. If an environment blogger won't point out his topic isn't getting enough attention, who will?