Old and New Media Go to Washington

Friday, May 08, 2009


In light of yet another bad week for newspapers, it seems appropriate that a Senate committee held a Future of Journalism hearing. Publisher of the Dallas Morning News Jim Moroney testified there. He explains one idea he raised at the hearing: giving newspapers anti-trust exemption so they can collaborate on pricing and payment schemes.

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  • Somethin That Means Somethin
    Artist: J Dilla

Comments [8]

George Spark-Stahl from Reno, NV

I just got around to listening to this episode. I feel like your guest Jim Moroney is behind the times on this amazon licensing issue. He mentions not giving over rights to "relicense my content to any portable device." I could see how that would be a problem for Amazon because they already allow people to view books on two portable devices: The Kindle itself and the Iphone. As a consumer, its definitely a feature for me to be able to transfer content between devices. Is Mr. Moroney saying that he's holding out for the right to charge for that feature? From my perspective that sounds greedy and complicated.

May. 20 2009 01:48 PM
M. Mayer from Seattle

What I don't understand is the seemingly narrow focus on consumers, and I can't help but resent the notion that any online access is akin to freeloading. Pre-internet, how much of newpaper profit was driven by subscribers and purchasers? My sense was that a substantial part of the revenue stream came from ads and classifieds, and the current problems are driven more by the newspapers' failure to anticipate options like Craigslist. The truth is, I don't buy newspapers any less these days than before things became available online. I'm just arguably more up to the minute informed thanks to occasional browsing.

May. 15 2009 01:06 PM
Steve McCann from Missoula, MT

re: "JOHN KERRY: It, it is - it’s intellectual property, which we recognize as having a value. Correct? [...]Why do they not have a right - why is it antiquated to believe they have a right to be paid for their product?"

I do believe authors/producers should be paid for their work, but I don't believe reporting has value until it is consumed. It seems to me that there's a disconnect here between the print world and the online world that's analogous to restaurant types.

With my print newspaper subscription I'm paying for the equivalent of a buffet dinner, but I'm not consuming every item available. With my online news reading, I'm eating ala carte with advertisers footing the bill. Occasionally a specialty menu item becomes available and I'll spring for a premium article. What David Simon is arguing, essentially, is that if everyone stops purchasing buffet dinners, no one will have the opportunity to eat liver with onions! Sorry, but I can't accept that logic. There will always be a provider, you just might have to pay for it special.

To extend the idea further, what aggregators like Google News is doing is providing the menu but on a global scale. That's not a bad thing.

May. 13 2009 04:52 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Pick nits, why don’t you, Mr. O’Brien? Simon was appearing as a celebrity witness of conscience, translating long experience into commentary, not reporting. Colloquially, he was still speaking of Baltimore’s Zoning Board, in a way most Americans would recognize. Miss Huffington had no quick dismissive reply, I suspect, else we would have heard it. Hung around many such board meetings, yourself?

Mr. Maroney seems an authority enough, considering that his very professional life must depend on his study of the issue, Howard.

Apparently, money must come from somewhere to keep old reporters, such as myself, from spouting mere commentary and pay them, instead, to go to the g-d, boring meetings! Arianna isn’t.

May. 13 2009 01:23 AM
Hal O'Brien

David Simon says, "The day I run into a Huffington Post reporter at a Baltimore zoning board hearing is the day that I will be confident that we've actually reached some sort of equilibrium."

My first reaction was, Hang out at a lot of zoning board meetings, do you, David? Why do I find that unlikely for a guy who hasn't had a newspaper job in 14 years?

But the other problem is bigger: There *isn't* a "Baltimore zoning board." There's the "Board of Municipal & Zoning Appeals," but their web site uses "the Appeals Board," as their short name.

This is one of the prime problems in journalism. Once upon a time, a reporter could make a gross factual error like that and be secure that no one would check him on it. Today... Well, things have changed a lot in the last 14 years, David.

May. 12 2009 11:38 AM

After listening to this story, I am left with the impression that the arguments before the committee were chiefly anecdotal and that these anecdotal arguments were put forward chiefly by celebrities. I hope there were also witnesses that make their livings studying these issues.

May. 10 2009 07:19 PM

Jim Moroney pointed out a big problem with web content providers such as Amazon and Huffington Post is they want to pay as little as possible or free for the hard leg work but want to get rich from ads. They want the ISPs pipes to give them free transport under the guise of Net Neutrality.

I admit as a end user I don't want to pay anymore than I have too so I will say I am part of the problem.

May. 10 2009 04:37 PM
Mart Moore

Can someone please explain to me why the podcasts, which used to be 20-22 Megabytes, have now blown up to 60 MB? Unless your connection is blazingly fast, it just takes too long.
On an extended biz trip to a land which doesn't carry it, I'm missing my OTM!

May. 08 2009 08:37 PM

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