“Google it!” is a common refrain that often resonates in the newsrooms and the content writing settings these days as writers race against their deadlines looking for information. So much so, the term in a way has become the Holy Grail for that particular tribe of scribes of late.
But discerning editors more often than not frown upon this writing style for reasons more than one. Even some frontline media organizations discourage search engines in the newsrooms citing privacy and security concerns. Contrary to this stance, a majority of writers still prefers to `google it’ to not only get quick access to information that they are looking for but also for styles and templates as well.
This split views on `google it’ brings to fore the question: Is it right or wrong to `google it’ while keying in the content or looking for right visuals? The answer is: it is right as well as wrong. It is right since the search engine offers writers instant access to information – facts and figures – with hundreds, if not thousands, of tags and sources. But the wrong thing to do here is to use the text or visuals thrown up by the search engine indiscriminately. Using the search results without discretion or minding their merits can land anybody in deep trouble.
First, the `seeing is believing’ rule does not hold good with the search results of Google. The search engine only aggregates what is there on the public domain based on the key word or search string. Ultimately, it is the professional responsibility of the writers to check the veracity of the information before using them. By doing so writers and scribes could save many blushes for themselves and for their organizations in the future.
Second, frontline media organizations have become very protective of their content and they maintain a constant vigil against plagiarism as they spend money and devote time in generating quality content. The law treats such content as the intellectual property of the organization concerned and provides protection against their theft under copyright protection rules and regulations. Anybody lifting such copyright protected content without prior permission may face the music and have to pay up huge compensation since they are in violation of the law. This is not only applicable to the text but to the visuals as well.
Therefore, `google it’ has its plus and minuses. It is not wise to take google’s wisdom for granted. Also, search results can only remove the writer’s block, but they do not fill in for their original efforts with copyright lawyers’ breathing down once neck.
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