Jim Beam column:Tech giants get free news – American Press

Jim Beam Column: Tech Giants Get Free News

Published at 7:28 am Sunday August 21st 2022

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

Now, that too is becoming difficult. Here’s what you find on many of the 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 a story on The Guardian website, but it said I had read 5 articles in the last year and went on to explain that it is a reader-funded newspaper and finally said, “Support us today for a minimum. $ 1. Thank you. “

The Washington Post let me read a story and on the second try said, “Try FREE for 4 weeks. Coverage you want. Clarity you need. Cancel anytime.”

I received two paragraphs about a story about the Inflation Reduction Act on the Wall Street Journal website and the message read: “Keep reading your article with a subscription to the WSJ. Special offer. $ 8 per month.

The stories are available on The Advocate of Baton Rouge website, but reading the newspaper page by page online to get broader coverage costs $ 9.99 a 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 Cory Myers, news director of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, which explains it well.

Myers said South Dakota lost 17 newspapers in the past 18 months alone. She added that she is a model across the country. The news industry has lost more than 28,000 jobs since 2008, she 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 contained the message “$ 1 for 6 months” but couldn’t. When I typed the title of the story on the Google website, the story popped up. It was on Yahoo with a message at the bottom saying the story originally appeared in Lafayette’s Daily Advertiser.

This, 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, denying newspapers the revenue they deserve. The same goes for local broadcasters.”

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

A 2019 article in The Salt Lake Tribune stated that Congress was considering legislation “aimed at allowing news organizations to work with search engines such as Google and social media providers to reclaim some of the profit from their content in an effort to ensure that the newsrooms are not emptied. or closed completely “.

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

Google disputed that figure and said the company actually helps the news by pushing readers their way.

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act grew out of that 2019 discussion, but is still under discussion in Congress. It would allow for a temporary antitrust exemption to allow news organizations to negotiate with Google and Facebook to ensure fair compensation for the journalism papers produced.

The Mankato (Minn.) Free Press in an editorial on August 5 urged the approval of the legislation. He said that weeklies and small newspapers are often the only source of local news.

“When they close, there is usually no one keeping an eye on city councils, county councils, school boards and law enforcement,” the editorial says.

Another idea revolving around Congress is the establishment of temporary tax credits for news outlets that hire or retain local reporters. It would certainly give newspapers an incentive to continue their operations.

Unfortunately, the odds of the current Congress helping the newspapers seem slim. So the newspapers are reaching out to readers, and some to donors, to help them survive.

Those newspapers that survive are also getting better and more efficient because they know that getting help from Congress is difficult in the times we live in.

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