Jim Beam Column: Tech Giants Get Free Information – American Press

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Jim Beam column: Tech giants get free news

Posted 7:28 a.m. on Sunday, August 21, 2022

Reading other newspapers these days is difficult. I have read many newspapers for over 60 years. Before the Internet, the American press bought exchange newspapers that arrived by mail. The internet has made it possible to read them online.

Now even that is getting difficult. Here’s what you get on many local and national newspaper websites:

“This content is only available to subscribers. Get unlimited digital access. $1 for 6 months.

I was able to read an article on The Guardian website, but it said that I had read 5 articles in the last year and went on to explain that it was a reader-funded newspaper and told the end: “Support us today for as little as $1. Thanks.”

The Washington Post let me read a story and told me on the second attempt, “Try it FREE for 4 weeks. Election coverage you want. Clarity you need. Cancel anytime.

I received two paragraphs about an article about the Inflation Reduction Act on the Wall Street Journal website and the message said, “Keep reading your article with a WSJ membership. Special offer. $8 per month.

Stories are available on The Advocate of Baton Rouge’s website, but reading the newspaper page by page online for wider coverage costs $9.99/month. It has statewide coverage and investigative capabilities and is a major sports newspaper.

Friends often send me links to stories they think I might like, but some of them are hard to read.

OK, so what’s the problem?

Lynn Hohensee sent me a story written by Sioux Falls Argus Leader News Director Cory Myers that explains it well.

Myers said that in the past 18 months alone, South Dakota has lost 17 logs. He added that this is a trend across the country. The news industry has lost more than 28,000 jobs since 2008, he said, “and more than 1,800 communities have lost their local newspapers since 2004.”

I recently tried to read a story on the Lafayette Daily Advertiser website that had the message “$1 for 6 months” but I couldn’t. When I typed in the title of the story on Google’s website, the story came up immediately. It was on Yahoo with a message at the bottom that said the story originally appeared in The Daily Advertiser of Lafayette.

That, my friends, is the problem.

Myers said: “A big part of the problem is that two tech giants, Google and Facebook, have a stranglehold on online news and advertising, depriving newspapers of the revenue they deserve. The same goes for local broadcasters.

Tech giants distribute news content provided by newspapers, which increases their advertising revenue. Myers said he made a business decision to pay publishers little or nothing for their journalism, “unlike the corporate practice of compensating music publishers and other creators.”

A 2019 article in The Salt Lake Tribune said Congress was considering legislation “to allow news organizations to work with search engines like Google and social media providers to recoup a portion of their content’s profits in the purpose of ensuring that newsrooms are not dug”. or closed completely.

The same story stated that the News Media Alliance estimated that Google alone made $4.7 billion in ad revenue in 2018 by “cutting content from news publishers.”

Google disputed that figure and said the company actually helps news outlets by nudging readers in their direction.

The Journalism Preservation and Competition Act grew out of that 2019 discussion, but it’s still pending in Congress. This would allow a temporary antitrust exemption to allow news organizations to negotiate with Google and Facebook to obtain fair compensation for journalism produced by newspapers.

The Mankato (Minn.) Free Press, in an August 5 editorial, called for the legislation to be passed. He said weeklies and small dailies are often the only source of local news.

“When they close there is usually no one watching the town councils, county councils, school boards and law enforcement,” the editorial said.

Another idea circulating in Congress is the establishment of temporary tax credits for media outlets that hire or retain local journalists. This would certainly encourage newspapers to continue their activities.

Unfortunately, the chances of the current Congress helping newspapers appear to be slim to none. Newspapers therefore look to readers, and some to donors, to help them survive.

Those newspapers that survive also become better and more efficient because they know it’s hard to get help from Congress in the times in which we live.

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