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The Thin Line Between Blogs and News

July 10, 2010
by

I read this article over at MediaPost News this week about an interesting case.  In Colorado there’s been a bit of controversy over the rights of bloggers to distribute and/or quote news about “hot topics” posted on other, real, news sites.  The blog ColoradoPols.com is apparently under fire for quoting and discussing fresh news items from other Colorado-based news sources, namely The Denver Post.  The Denver Post posts their stories online for free, and the ColoradoPols blog has apparently been quoting parts of these news items on their blog.  The newspaper says that the blog has been posting excerpts from “hot news” items almost as quickly as they appear on the newspaper’s website.

I found this to be an interesting article relating to fair use.  Since we now live in the age of  Twitter and “real-time” search, it’s interesting to ponder just how quickly a story can gain momentum and make the rounds on the internet. If The Denver Post gets an exclusive scoop, maybe one they even had to pay for, and posts that story on their website, does someone tweeting or blogging what they read in that article infringe on those exclusivity rights that the news organization had to bargain for?  Apparently Google and Twitter don’t think so.  The article states that “Google and Twitter have asked a federal appellate court to say that it no longer makes sense to allow companies to sue for hot news misappropriation, given that publications can lose their exclusivity as soon as someone tweets the headline.”  I know these exclusivity contracts happen often in the entertainment world, where a magazine might pay to get first dibs to run an article about some as-yet-to-be revealed film (think “New Dark Knight film exclusive details!”).

All of this begs the question: In an age of instantaneous news, does an exclusive scoop even matter anymore?

-Olin

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Shaunt Hamstra permalink
    July 10, 2010 5:11 pm

    The question for me is whether the motivation for hard-working, honest journalists working for traditional news outlets will diminish if their work is appropriated almost as soon as it is published.

    • clementmunns permalink
      July 12, 2010 6:39 pm

      Journalism as we know it is dead; not sure what replaces it but the desire to “know stuff” is deeply ingrained in all of us. What is sure is that the title should be “what’s ‘news’?” not what medium one consumes said.

  2. July 10, 2010 6:12 pm

    I don’t believe there is anything that is an exclusive scoop anymore. Once it hits the news and then the internet, I think it spreads everywhere like on Twitter or Google. I wonder if there should be anything called exclusivity rights because you really can’t sue everyone that posts something they’ve read on their Twitter account.

  3. yesterdaystuba permalink
    July 10, 2010 8:47 pm

    I have to agree with Shaunt Hamstra, I too wonder how many people will want to become good journalists if their work becomes obsolete.
    I also think that there is a very big difference between taking a story and copy/pasting it to your blog and tweeting a headline with a link to the story though…

  4. July 10, 2010 9:49 pm

    News libraries are also fast vanishing as traditional news outlets hit the skids. How will we categorize/organize something that has become so casual? Will there be a Twitter archive next? (Imagine indexing that, ugh!) I wonder how our democratic society will react once it finally realizes the extent to which our knowledge bases are becoming socialized… and imagines that opportunities for personal (proprietary) profit may be slipping away for good.

  5. herrzrbo permalink
    July 10, 2010 9:53 pm

    “Will there be a Twitter archive next?”

    You must have missed this story aquarabbit!

    http://www.livescience.com/technology/Library-of-Congress-Twitter-Archive-100414.html

  6. July 11, 2010 12:07 am

    I’ve wondered this about AP (Associated Press), whose articles get re-published on websites like Yahoo under the heading of “Yahoo News”. Sure, the AP byline is still there but did Yahoo pay to re-publish the article?

    Dave

  7. July 12, 2010 10:58 am

    Re: my earlier post in this thread:
    Our office just received the current issue of Online – which identifies several approaches to indexing/archiving Twitter. (Who knew?!) The column isn’t this month’s free PDF link on the website (http://www.infotoday.com/online/jul10/index.shtml) – but here is the info: On the Net: Changing, Charging, Archiving; by Karen Blakeman, p. 45.

    I seem to have lost SJSU database access over the summer; otherwise, I’d try to search it somewhere on there to give you all a link.

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