Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ahearn 1 - Murdoch 0. The Future of Journalism

It was about a year and a half ago that I humbly declared that News Corp and Rupert Murdoch were doing all the right things on the 'Net, going to the extent of calling Murdoch a genius.

At the time, it may very well have been true but statements made throughout this year have changed the tide.

Murdoch has talked about outright blocking Google.  He's also talked a lot, along with a few others on micropayments, or paying for content on demand per article.

Some publications have been doing this for some time alongside News Corp's Wall Street Journal.  Long Island's Newsday and others have fielded the possibility.

Micropayments won't work.  They won't and can't generate the revenue needed to sustain the expenses (and payrolls) of news organizations.

For some reason, everyone's blaming Google.  While Google is increasing it's market share in search and trying a host of news delivery systems, there are numerous other ways to read the news on the Internet, whether it's local (the biggest challenge), regional or international ... and it's been that way since before Google was 'born'.

Enter Reuters' Chris Ahearn.  Like a true visionary, Ahearn is just excited and according to a brief speech at the FTC's Workshop on how the Internet has effected journalism, Ahearn declared the complete opposite of his competitors "I believe and support the value of the link economy".

While ad agencies are having a tough time deciding where and which media are best for clients despite tools such Google's Ad Planner, it's all part of the transition.

While citizen journalism may be difficult to filter, CNN has an assigned desk (for Twitter) ... and just this week Google embraced real-time from a variety of sources.

(Google's move may have been premature.  Not only did it remove some valuable landscape from the much coveted SERPs (Search Engine Relative Positions) but is also going to be VERY difficult to filter for relevant results).

Murdoch declared last week that 'the traditional ad model is dead'.  Assuming that may be true, what about a non-traditional ad model?

Embracing syndication (as Reuters did several years ago).  Embracing re-distribution ... maybe even promoting it, and, embracing the aggregators instead of blaming declining circulation on them.

Ahearn's  speech, as posted yesterday to can be found here.

See what you think.

Good weekend all.