by Mike Masnick

Google Needs To Support Journalists... Claims Journalist

from the why-not-fix-it? dept

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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  • identicon
    Amy Alkon, 30 May 2007 @ 1:49pm

    What a nimrod

    The guy is clueless. Google doesn't steal content -- it's the automated version of the library's card catalogue. If anything, it helps newspapers, as I read articles in papers I'd never turn to thanks to links on Google.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ajax 4Hire, 30 May 2007 @ 2:16pm

    If I read his article, does that mean

    I am stealing it, because I will remember it and use the contents in my future life. It will be part of me.

    Edison must pay the candle makers when he invents the lightbulb. Where have all the TV repairmen gone? Google must be to blame for that also (youTube). PCs and rack-mounted Linux blades put SUN out of business, I mean will put Sun out of the workstation business; who should pay SUN for thier loss.

    Textile workers lost their jobs to lower wage China works, China should be supporting those out of work loomers.

    Aluminum cans put the bottle makers out of business.
    Fridigiare put the ice delivery man out of business.
    PCs put the typewriter out of business;
    Calculators put the Abacus out of business.

    The Internet, Blogs, interactive and quick posted web-sites put the traditional news reports out of business.

    Who should pay to support these old technologies?

    In the imortal words of the young, oh waaa.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Larry, 30 May 2007 @ 2:45pm

      Re: If I read his article, does that mean

      And SOMEONE (Google??) owes me 95 years worth of backpay for all the coal I didn't shovel into locomotives.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2007 @ 2:58pm

    They would make more money if they just stopped whining and got back to work...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Meoip, 30 May 2007 @ 3:14pm


    Maybe it's journalists who are broken. The folks who really read newspapers don't care about the drivel most of them print. The winner of the Indy 500 doesn't warrant a photo that takes up the entire area above the fold. Newspapers print old news in a up to the minute age. They need to start offering in depth analysis and opinions (like fox news love or hate they offer opinions). Most people who are going to read the newspaper are going to know the news already and are going to go to the paper for more facts and details. Which they don't offer much of anymore instead of competing with blogs and internet news the papers sink to the level of local tv news.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      ben, 1 Jun 2007 @ 6:17am

      Re: maybe


      I don't care about reading someone else's opinions. I read print newspaper, and other reputable online news sources, for the facts that they research and print. I do not care, for the most part, to read opinion masquerading as fact.

      The difference between reading opinion articles (except for Op-Ed / commentary) pieces is that I am usually getting a well-researched article that provides me with a good in-depth analysis and fact.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Awesome Mr Ethan, 30 May 2007 @ 3:46pm


    The best line is that quote from that idiot Zell guy. "If all the newspapers in America did not allow Google to steal their content, how profitable would Google be? Not very."

    It's a good thing they allow Google to steal their content! I imagine that makes the stealing almost like not stealing at all!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Amy Alkon, 30 May 2007 @ 6:53pm

    another problem with newspapers

    Dailies, namely, are very pussyish about the content they'll run, and especially, the words they'll use. Augustin Gurza, of the LA Times, recently used the word "derrieres" to describe women's asses in a story. (As in, he wasn't into women with big butts, but subsituting "derriere".) I wrote him to ask why he used the wussy "derriere." I mean, does anybody but your great aunt Mavis use that kind of language? I figured, after hearing LAT auto writer Dan Neil say the LA Times edited him from exclaiming "Oh, do me!" in a car review, butt was way out of the question. Gurza never wrote back, surprise, surprise.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael A. Banks, 30 May 2007 @ 7:34pm

    Money for nothing ...

    New "business models" aren't going to accomplish anything (though the jargon makes some people feel good). If you're running a newspaper or a magazine you have to attract readers with original material. Today's newspapers mostly echo whatever AP and USAToday send down the line. And too many magazines are printing press releases and articles provided by their advertisers. Nothing that can't be gotten elsewhere, so of course readers don't bother buying the paper or magazine, or going to its Web site.

    The "business model" publishers are after appears to be "Get material as cheaply as possible (preferably free) and hope readers buy copies and respond to ads," with no real effort expended on attracting readers. It is no wonder that newspaper and periodical publishing are hurting.

    Of course the publishers have forgotten the old addage: "If you want to make money, spend money." Pay writers for material that will attract readers. (And there's the solution to the journalist's problem.) There is no magic formula that is going to make readers think that reprinted propaganda, advertising, and public domain material is original or interesting.

    It's like the rest of Internet business--there's this persistent myth that there just has to be a way to make money from the Internet without putting in any money or effort, because the Internet is the Internet. Right. But it ain't happenin', no matter how you big a lever you use on your para-dij-ems. If you're delivering crap, delivering it in a different way doesen't make it something else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      rEdEyEz, 31 May 2007 @ 10:38am

      Re: Money for nothing ...


      Since when did "new business models" become narrowly defined as a different way of "delivering crap?"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Robert Cannon, 3 Oct 2007 @ 8:26am


    Is it ironic that the blogsphere probably substantially increased the number of people that read this editorial?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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