How Journalists Plan to Shape the Digital Landscape
Much has changed since I wrote my very first PMG blog post two years ago. For one thing, I’ve realized that asterisk citations are pretty lame. For another, the news and social media relationship that I wrote about back then has become increasingly fraught and full of tension. Then, I wrote about how newspapers used social media wisely to get in front of readers but hadn’t found a way to monetize it effectively. I was clear that newspapers and digital platforms had a symbiotic relationship that could be used for good. What I didn’t realize at the time was that it could also be used to spread misinformation to the public at large. Politics aside, the way that news organizations plan to push back against the internet powers that be (Facebook and Google) will affect the marketing industry in the long term.
It was recently announced that a group called the News Media Alliance is teaming up to bid for an antitrust exemption so they can collectively negotiate with Google and Facebook. Their primary objective is to “focus the public and Congress on the anticompetitive behavior of the digital duopoly, especially as it adversely affects the news and information businesses.” Let’s break that sentence down a bit: Multiple news outlets (The New York Times, The Washington Post and others) want to legally form an alliance to have bargaining power on a few key issues. And yes, being part of an Alliance is the coolest a newspaper has been since All The President’s Men.
The Alliance is that Facebook and Google have too much power to distribute content, including untrustworthy sources, to too many people at once.
The Alliance wants Facebook and Google to hold themselves to higher journalistic standards because of their influence on the industry.
Quality journalism is expensive to produce: The Alliance wants a cut of the profits from their content that is now distributed alongside #fakenews and with websites that lift that same content and offer it to people for free.
Facebook and Google are already showing good faith to news organizations. This week, Facebook is focusing on ways that news sites can monetize their presence directly on their platform and Google has made changes to its algorithm to show quality news higher in feeds. While these changes are a good place to start, the Alliance wants more leverage and legal protections in their increasingly important industry. If the government allows this Alliance to form and these negotiations to take place, expect significant changes around how paid and organic content is distributed on these platforms in the future.
If this alliance takes place, expect significant changes in how paid and organic content is distributed in the future.
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And speaking of the future, if I look back on this blog post two years from now it will probably be because I want to reference how I called the amount of hilarious Facebook #realnews articles there are since The Rock started to run for president.
Posted by Katie Friedman
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