At Google Headquarters

©2010 Chicago Tribune/Alex Garcia

Probably no other assignment I have received has had such an ongoing impact on my understanding of the profession than the week I spent at the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA. Two reporters and I spent the time getting to know the ins- and-outs of the place while interviewing the founders, their executives and their army of engineers. We listened to their competitors, website owners and their advertisers. We even visited their Chicago operations, where I was able to look over the shoulders of their ad team scrutinizing the Chicago Tribune website and our advertisers. It was life-changing. Have you ever had the opportunity to watch someone cheerfully plot your destruction? That’s kind of how it felt. Since then, I have tried to learn as much as I can about the intersection of web content, search engines and user behavior.  I have taken a keener interest in the digital products the Tribune has been rolling out. We’re profitable, we’ll emerge from bankruptcy, and we’ll hopefully adapt more quickly to the challenges of Google and others on the web. For the sake of journalism, we better succeed.

Alex Garcia

One Comment

  1. I bet that would be fascinating. Google as fundamentally changed the world and the internet. I’m excited to see what they will do in the future.

    But the flip side to their ‘plotted destruction’ is that Google is only as good as the content that is produced by others. They aren’t a content producer, except in limited areas. The internet still needs reputable news organizations or the whole thing fails. It is a pretty messy cycle, especially as more and more people expect their news to be free and some expect it to be ad-free using ad-blocking software, which is becoming very widely used, and just makes the prospects of internet-only newspapers even more frightening.

    I too hope the Trib can get to a point where they can move quickly and proactively in today’s digital media world and not find themselves only reacting. Mostly because I want a job someday. :-)

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