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Exclusive Power of Newspapers Over

15 Jul 2009

John Hartigan, News Ltd's CEO has come under attack for his address at the National Press Club last week in relation to his comments regarding online journalism and the so called exploitation of journalists by online bloggers as reported in last weeks Publishing Edge.


Scott Bridges filing in, got straight to the point in his response to Hartigan stating, "When this news and journalism environment started to change dramatically about a decade ago, newspaper media companies initially refused to change with it. They whacked their stories online, slapped a couple of ads up with them, and sat back waiting for the rivers of internet gold to flow. But people don't use the internet like they do traditional media forms, and most attempts by traditional players to adapt to this new form have been contrived and poorly executed. The failure to adapt a product to a market is bad business, but the petulant bitching and moaning from dinosaur media chiefs who want the world to stop moving so they don't have to get off their arse and move with it is just bad form."


Bridges went on to say, "When News Ltd CEO John Hartigan addressed the National Press Club he angrily took aim at absolutely everyone in a lumbering speech of contradictions and on-sequiturs." He added. "Some of Hartigan's best venom was reserved for bloggers, who he said produced content of "limited intellectual value as to be barely discernible from massive ignorance". Along with news aggregation services (Google and others) and non-traditional media outlets like Crikey, bloggers are despised by Hartigan for shamelessly reproducing his outlets' content instead of producing their own. I know this because I read his speech on a webpage at The Australian's site, at the bottom of which was this giant invitation to share the paper's content with bloggers, news aggregators and Google."


This view was shared by Tim Burrowes in his widely read media blog mUmBRELLA. Burrowes took aim at Hartigan with an analysis of his address critically dissecting Hartigan's statements.


Burrowes has received significant feedback on his analysis of Hartigan's address which provided highly relevant and interesting reading. This can be found at his online media portal mUmBRELLA under the heading "mUmBRELLA isn't the cause of your problems, Mr Hartigan."


Bridges continued the argument by stating "Often these blogs refer to articles published by mainstream media organisations, quoting sections of text under the fair use provisions of the copyright act, but they're also adding significant content of their own. In effect, bloggers and their readers are merely discussing those news stories in the same way that people discuss the content of a physical newspaper around the water cooler. Ultimately, this quoting and discussion leads to readers' awareness of Hartigans publications and directs their eyeballs towards Hartigan's ads."


Bridges concluded by saying, "There is room in this multidirectional environment for traditional journalism, blogs, news aggregators, independent media and social networking to all play important roles. The days of newspapers holding exclusive power over their readers eyeballs are over, as are the days of unilateral communication from powerful journalist to subservant reader. Hartigan can feel his power slipping away and he's not humbled, just frightened and pissed off."



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