Huffington on Journalism, Response to Murdoch

If you don't keep up with large traditional media's continued efforts to remain both large and traditional you might have missed Rupert Murdoch's latest thoughts on the topic. Here's what Mashable's Pete Cashmore had to say about them:
Microsoft and News Corp in Discussions to Remove Newspaper Content from Google

Yes, really. Rupert Murdoch’s crusade to blame Google for the failing newspaper business model continues today, as it emerges that News Corp has conducted talks with Microsoft about de-indexing the company’s sites from Google and (presumably) being paid to include them in Bing instead.

The concept makes sense only if you buy Murdoch’s claims that Google is "stealing" content rather than simply helping people find it.

A number of people have responded to Murdoch's proposed (threatened?) business model but Arianna Huffington really hit the nail on the head in a talk she gave at a recent journalism conference in the US.

In responding to Murdoch and traditional media, she said:
In most industries, if your customers were leaving in droves, you would try to figure out what to do to get them back. Not in the media. They'd rather accuse aggregators of stealing their content.


Thinking that removing your content from Google will somehow keep it "exclusive" shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the web and how it works.


In his speech this morning, Rupert Murdoch confused aggregation with wholesale misappropriation. Wholesale misappropriation is against the law -- and he has legal redress against that already. Aggregation, on the other hand, within the fair use exceptions to copyright law is part of the web's DNA. Period.

She then went on to talk about what the future of journalism will (and is starting to) look like:
We hear lots and lots of talk these days about saving newspapers -- Congressional anti-trust exemptions, perhaps? -- but we mustn't forget: the state of newspapers is not the same thing as the state of journalism. As much as I love newspapers -- and fully expect them to survive -- the future of journalism is not dependent on the future of newspapers.

Indeed, the future of journalism is to be found, at least partly, in the rapidly growing number of people who connect with the news in a whole new way.

News is no longer something we passively take in. We now engage with news, react to news and share news. It's become something around which we gather, connect and converse. We all are part of the evolution of a story now -- expanding it with comments and links to relevant information, adding facts and differing points of view.

In short, the news has become social. And it will become even more community-powered: stories will be collaboratively produced by editors and the community. And conversations, opinion, and reader reactions will be seamlessly integrated into the news experience.

It's an excellent speech that's well worth the read.