Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pay for Online News? Gasp!

The news is full of news about the news business these days. The news "wires" are snippy about bloggers using their hard-earned news for free. Newspapers are trying to reinvent themselves with the reality that print ads are down and insufficient to support the paper, which is further eroded by their own online editions. This is complicated by the opinion by many or most that anything that's online should be free.

Rupert Murdoch of News Corp has the clout to be the first to start charging for online content. According to PR Week, he'll begin this experiment with premium news across the board of his various holdings, this following losing $3.4B last here. For more details, go here.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Bloggers and News Services

Many bloggers are news aggregators. They find news stories related to the interests of their readers and summarize them. A popular type of news aggregation is the "tech" blog, where the bloggers find geeky news for their geeky readers. They give short summaries of the news and give links to the original sources. This blog is an attempt to find news of interest to speculative fiction readers and writers, although it is not quite as laser-focused as the tech blogs. Readers and writers in general have wide interests, so the spectrum of articles here is wide. This blog attempts to give brief descriptions of cited news articles, add something to it, and link to the original or secondary source.

There is a point. Some of the news services, like the Associated Press, and major newspapers are becoming concerned about news aggregators. (Blogs are not the only type of news aggregation.) Newspapers (and therefore news services) are trying to discern a business model by which they can survive in the new economy. Print ads alone don't seem to work any longer, and subscribers don't seem willing to pay for online services. So, the publishers are feeling a bit robbed by aggregators. They complain that aggregators take their headlines and article summaries without compensating the originators. Bloggers claim fair use rights. Even aggregators complain about other aggregators. (Google News comes to mind; they've gone after heavy-handed aggregators who use Googles' headlines and summaries.) Both sides have arguments; these will not be argued here. This is just to keep the FFO readers and writers informed, since many of them have blogs.

The news incident that prompted this article is AP's new news registry, by which they hope to track copyright violations more closely, as reported by ReadWriteWeb. Bloggers who report their latest writing failures and triumphs, and count and report the burps and hiccups of their children need not worry. (But keep an eye on AP, in case they pick up your article.)

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Clash of the Titans: Google vs. Guardian

The Guardian Media Group asked the British government to look into Google's use of online newspapers' content. They claim that Google is using the information for its own news service without paying for it.

I find this interesting because when Google first introduced its excellent news search tool a few years ago, I considered using it for aggregating a specific class of stories for a news service. However, I worried about Google's stern warnings against using their news summaries in other aggregations. (Scraping is is using scripts/software to grab HTML content from the web based on content filters.) In other words, do your own scraping; don't scrape what we scraped. They went after a few web sites, then.

It seems the present issue is the same, but higher up in the news food chain.

This story gives both a summary of the issue and counter-arguments against it, from one of The Guardian's rivals, Telegraph.co.uk. I'm not taking sides. I love both of these publications.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Simon and Schuster's Crossword Puzzle Play

This topic is an example of the expanding influence of the Internet on traditional media noted in today's earlier post. Simon and Schuster is offering a daily crossword puzzle application for iPhones and iPod Touches. On the surface, this seems like a good idea. However, the syndicates of puzzles and games for daily newspapers can jump all over this, if they haven't already.

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Listen to the Doctorow: Internet's Transformation of Popular Media

Cory Doctorow is a Sci-Fi writer and uber-Internet citizen, as editor of BoingBoing, the number one blog on the Internet according to Technorati's top 100. Here is his take on how the Internet will affect various media, including newspapers (in big trouble), big-budget movies, music and books. Regarding newspapers, he says:
The imminent collapse of the American newspaper industry has spawned entire gazeteers' worth of high-minded handwringing about the social value of newspapers and the social harm that their disappearance will unleash. It's probably all true. I love the smudgy old devils, from the headlines to the funny pages....
Regarding books:

...First, the quantity and variety of titles carried outside of bookstores has radically declined, thanks to the rise of national big-box chain stores, who do all ordering from a centralized database....

The other problem is that we're increasingly conditioned to read short blocks of text...in radically different form than you generally find between covers. Combine this with the sheer amount of read-for-pleasure text available at one-click's distance on the Net, and even those of us who worship books find ourselves reading fewer of them....

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Newspaper Swan Song?

The Tribune Company's bankruptcy filing makes this New Yorker story more poignant. The author points out that newspapers have fewer subscribers but more readers, due to online readership. Consequently, print advertising revenue is drying up. Interesting also is the author's comments about the relationship of the blogosphere to newspapers.


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