Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 11:46 pm
|Shhhh. Newspaper Publishers Are Quietly Holding a Very, Very Important Conclave Today. Will You Soon Be Paying for Online Content?Here's a story the newspaper industry's upper echelon apparently kept from its anxious newsrooms: A discreet Thursday meeting in Chicago about their future.
"Models to Monetize Content" is the subject of a gathering at a hotel which is actually located in drab and sterile suburban Rosemont, Illinois; slabs of concrete, exhibition halls and mostly chain restaurants, whose prime reason for being is O'Hare International Airport. It's perfect for quickie, in-and-out conclaves.
There's no mention on its website but the Newspaper Association of America, the industry trade group, has assembled top executives of the New York Times, Gannett, E. W. Scripps, Advance Publications, McClatchy, Hearst Newspapers, MediaNews Group, the Associated Press, Philadelphia Media Holdings, Lee Enterprises and Freedom Communication Inc., among more than two dozen in all. A longtime industry chum, consultant Barbara Cohen, "will facilitate the meeting."
One hopes it displays the same sense of purpose as, say, troubled world leaders did at Yalta in 1945 or, in a rather less respectable sector of the economy, beleaguered mob bosses did at a legendary Apalachin, New York, confab in 1957.
Cross one's fingers on their behalf, even if there's worry that some don't really possess the nerve and vision to exit a mess for which they hold significant responsibility.
There was a dinner Wednesday and, according to the agenda, Thursday begins with a quick declaration of goals at 8 a.m., then an 8:10 a.m. session labeled, "Fair Syndication Consortium/Attributor." It's described as a "presentation on technology/service to track content on the Web and to extract payments from third-parties and ad networks that have appropriated newspaper content."
Presumably, Google, Yahoo! and any one of thousands of websites could, and should, get mentioned with scant reverence. Perhaps the age of content theft is coming to an end.
That first session is followed by "Journalism Online: Presentation on proposed service to charge for access to newspaper content and to license that content that (sic) online aggregators" (the assistance of at least one of the many copy editors sent packing by the attendees might have been sought).
That presentation would seem quite important, with many conflicting ideas floating about whether charging will work and how to even try. The stark reality is that the industry will have to soon start demanding payment for at least some of its online handiwork
"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
Honore de Balzac
"Democrats work to help people who need help.
That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."
~Harry S. Truman