Getting into bed with Alphabet is a bloody dangerous thing to do.
Richard Downing
61

Some people in the comments have raised concerns about whether this means that Google will pressure us in some way on content. There are a number of factors which fully eliminate this risk for the project.

First, the grants they make not only don’t have strings attached, they explicitly state that there are no strings. The DNI Innovation Fund explicitly emphasizes this in their documentation. Even cynics who think the whole DNI Fund is a PR exercise have to see that Google is not stupid enough to totally destroy the PR value of the exercise by trying to use the fund to control what journalists say.

Second, while Google has funded the DNI Innovation Fund, the board which decides the grants is made up of 13 people, only two of whom work for Google. https://digitalnewsinitiative.com/dni-fund/governance/ is worth a read.

Third, this is me, Jimmy Wales, you’re talking about. In my career I have never compromised on points of censorship under pressure from China and several other countries around the world. WikiTribune is my vision, and my vision is my vision, and it is not for sale. Frankly, given my reputation on this point, and the entire sum of my career, the idea that Google would dare to even ask me is hard to really seriously imagine.

I welcome support from anyone and everyone who shares my vision. I’m going to be seeking funding from a wide variety of sources to help realize the vision, and core to that is going to be support from the readers — the whole thing doesn’t make sense as a project unless we can build support from the readers.

But the whole thing also doesn’t make sense unless I can actually build it. Because I’m “the Wikipedia guy” not a dot-com billionaire, there isn’t a choice to build it with my own money (I wish I could). Smugly refusing to take money with no strings attached in order to maintain a false purity wouldn’t make sense. Purity isn’t in whether Google funds us to some degree. Purity is in honest journalism and genuine community.

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