Newspaper editors’ demands rile bloggers

9 04 2009

The vague demands of news executives at the Associated Press meeting this week have met with widespread hostility on the Web. The AP board wants Internet news aggregators and search engines that link to their content to pay up. No one seems to be exactly sure how this would work.

I’d prefer to see collaboration between the old media and the new. The Web needs the branded credibility that comes with the AP, newspaper and broadcast network logos. Web news content will inevitably suffer — has already suffered — as traditional news organs go bust. It seems unrealistic to me for the Webbies to dig in and refuse to consider a payment model. There’s no such thing as free. We all paid for journalism in the cost of our consumer products when advertising supported news. This model is broken, but another must take its place.

Yes, newspapers were slow to react, and their intransigence is largely responsible for their present predicament. That’s the nature of any institution in the face of revolutionary change, but it’s not the whole story. Web purveyors would be wise to stop pointing fingers and start working with traditional media toward a solution.

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3 responses

10 04 2009
matthew_frederick

The AP may very well have some validity to their position, but then they do stupid stuff like this and undermine their credibility.

10 04 2009
tgross

The AP has many faults, chief among them the identity with the establishment and conservatism that comes with the urge for self-preservation. It is, after all, funded by the fees of members, most of which are newspapers, so it is right to feel imperiled. They make stabs at modernity, as with the embedded video, but the guys running the place don’t keep up, probably because they’re obsessed with the revenue side.
I actually wouldn’t mind seeing the AP Washington bureau disappear. Still, where would Daily Kos or the other news and political sites be without them? If we can’t sustain actual journalism, nearly every blog going, including DK, would be so much hot air. We’ve got pontificating enough. What we lack is aggressive, fair, and accurate fact-finding and reporting.

11 04 2009
matthew frederick

I most certainly agree. Other than TPM, I can’t think of another web-based media venture that really does its own fact-finding and reporting (Politico, in my opinion, behaves basically like a more “respectable” Drudge.)

I wonder if the AP could do a better job of selling something like subscriptions to purely web-based ventures. Unfortunately, the behavior they are displaying at the moment does not help them any.

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