Don’t Be Evil: In Pursuit of Honesty from the Media Machine

Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do?, in a recent blog post  discussed a very important contemporary issue: tracking transparency in our media. Technology and news outlets are perpetually evolving, faster than we can keep track of, but the whole point here is just that: trying to keep track. The Paterson, et al. chapter talks about the presence of the proverbial man behind the curtain when it comes to researching production—a “substantially hidden world” (Paterson, et al. 3) However, consumers deserve to know, and in the digital age, it is perhaps a little easier for us to research this and voice our opinions. It becomes an issue of morality, which is Jarvis’ argument—these huge outlets like Facebook and Google owe us transparency, especially if they get to mercilessly use our data for their gain. However, at the end of the day, profit might trump ethics. “organizations risk criticism when they permit independent analysis of what they do” (Paterson, et al.) Jarvis praises Google, actually, as their message to their staff in pursuit of an honest business is “Don’t be evil.” “Building and then operating from that position of moral authority becomes the platform more than the technology. See how long it is taking news organizations to learn that they should be defined not by their technology — “We print content” — but instead by their trust and authority. That must be the case for technology companies as well. They aren’t just code; they must become their missions.” (Jarvis)

-Chelsea Kane


Jarvis, Jeff. “Moral Authority as a Platform”. Buzz Machine October 4, 2017.

Chris Paterson, David Lee, Anamik Saha, and Anna Zoellner. “Production Research: Continuity and Transformation.” In: Advancing Media Production Research (2015). Print.

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