We've seen quite a few stories lately of folks in the newspaper business blaming Google and insisting that somehow the internet is at fault for their own inability to adapt to the times. The latest is a journalism professor who has written an opinion piece for the San Francisco Chronicle that basically repeats that same tired line and then seems to claim that Google has some sort of moral responsibility to support the journalism business. This is a bizarre line of arguing, akin to the idea that Henry Ford should have started supporting horseshoe makers, since his Model T Ford decreased demand for shoeing horses. The arguments about the death of good reporting are first based on a myth about the history of reporting (ignoring yellow journalism of the past) and supported with an equally incorrect myth that less reporting goes on today (and that the so-called "basement bloggers" in the column never do any reporting). There's no denying that reporters can and often do an important and valuable service. However, if there's demand for serious reporting then someone can and will figure out the business models that can support it. In fact, while the traditional newspaper men whine and stomp their feet, plenty of others are already working on the business models that will support a next generation of reporting -- and it won't involve begging Google for money.
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