AP: The News Gatekeeper is Dead! Long Live The News Gatekeeper!
from the let's-try-this-again... dept
The CEO of the Associated Press, Tom Curley, gave a speech yesterday to a group of news executives supposedly calling on them to drop their antiquated ways, learn to embrace the new opportunities of the internet and, most importantly, ditch the mindset of being the gatekeepers of the news. At least, that’s what the Associated Press’s own writeup on his speech suggests. It’s powerful stuff, but it seems a little odd. After all, isn’t this the same Associate Press that less than a month ago sued Moreover for linking to AP articles? Isn’t this the same Associated Press that pressured Google to pay for the same thing? That doesn’t sound like an organization that’s trying to stop being a gatekeeper and embracing the new opportunities of the internet. It sounds like the opposite.
So, let’s go to the details. Thankfully, the AP also published the full text of Curley’s speech so we can dig into the details a bit. While the AP reporter’s coverage of his speech definitely does capture the gist of it, it leaves out some of the key (and somewhat contradictory) details. So, while Curley says: “Our focus must be on becoming the very best at filling people?s 24-hour news needs. That’s a huge shift from the we-know-best, gatekeeper thinking” his own plan doesn’t seem to agree with that. He later says: “we’re coupling those initiatives with strong new efforts to protect news web sites from unauthorized scraping through tighter site protocols and content tagging.” Sorry, but it’s those protections against scraping that is part of the gatekeeper thinking. He also says: “Enforcement, too, must be a part. What we do comes at great cost and sacrifice, even death. We believe content should have wide distribution. We intend to be compensated for it.” and “We have the power to control how our content flows on the Web. We must use that power….” In other words, we’re going to restrict access to what we do in order to create artificial scarcity in order to charge for it. Restricting access is what might also be called gatekeeping. It seems like Curley’s big wake up call to newspaper execs is really “say goodbye to the old gatekeeper, and say hello to the new gatekeeper.”
There are plenty of business models that make sense for the Associated Press, but it’s pretty amusing for the CEO of that organization to call for getting rid of the old way of thinking and then outline what’s basically the same old thinking.