June 19, 2008

Hot Head Bloggers vs. Cool Headed Journalists

More on the AP/Rogers Cadenhead story (covered already here and http://napsterization.org/stories/archives/000700.html).

So.. Saul Hansell sez in his condescending and rude blogpost: The A.P., Hot News and Hotheaded Blogs,

There was a lot of anger in the blogosphere last week over The Associated Press's assertion that some blogs were infringing its copyright by publishing excerpts of its articles. When I finally reached Jim Kennedy, an Associated Press vice president, he told me that the news agency now feels its demand was heavy-handed and was rethinking its policies.

What it really sez: bloggers are out of control little children having temper tantrums.

Since when is passion for your craft and the right to free speech, and belief in Fair Use as a constitutional right, something bloggers should be casual about?

A number of bloggers I respect a great deal didn't find the A.P.'s openness to their ideas to be enough and have declared war on it. As someone who is both a blogger and an employee of a mainstream news organization, I worry that this hotheaded response is part of what gives blogs a bad name. And it doesn't reflect the complexity of the underlying questions, which can be traced back to when the telegraph was the revolutionary technology of the day.

What it really sez: I respect you, even if you are out of control at times. But since I'm the parent and your the children, let me school you on how to think about this. Because otherwise you'll hurt yourselves even more.

The current dust-up involves seven blog posts on the Drudge Retort (not the bigger Drudge Report) that contained short excerpts of A.P. articles. Last week, the A.P. demanded that the Drudge Retort remove the posts because they violated its copyright. Mr. Kennedy now says the news agency plans to create new guidelines for how blogs can use its material, after discussions with representatives of blogging groups and others.

What it really sez: you bloggers get into these tiffs all the time, and now one of yours has been spanked with C&Ds to remove the quotes he overused. But the nice man at AP will create guidelines for you, after meeting with your institutional representative (hopefully a grown up).

In reaction to what Mr. Kennedy said in that article, Michael Arrington declared on TechCrunch: "So here's our new policy on A.P. stories: they don't exist." Jeff Jarvis, on BuzzMachine, wrote: "Back off, A.P. Because we won't."

What it really sez: evidence that you bloggers are out of control.

This is followed by examples of the hot news doctrine, what AP could do to handle the situation and a little history. Consider yourselves schooled.

At the end of the article, it's particularly rude and condescending:

I don't know what the A.P. will do. But neither do the bloggers calling for a boycott of the A.P. (By the way, that's a silly concept as none of these blogs actually pays the A.P. any money. If CBS News or The Huffington Post -- an A.P. client -- began a boycott, that might hurt.)

What it really sez: You bloggers are so silly, how can you boycott something you don't pay for? You can't hurt the AP. (Um, what about all those links and traffic driven to AP articles.. I believe attention is the most valuable thing on the internet, and if that's true, and bloggers stop linking and sending readers, well, that's a huge loss!)

Mr. Jarvis, in particular, often talks about blogging as a conversation. It seems like the A.P. wants to talk, and many bloggers would prefer a temper tantrum to a discussion.

What it really sez: You bloggers want to converse but like little children, throwing temper tantrums, you are being spiteful about conversing here.

So, if I were to follow what Saul sez, I would believe that I was a little child, out of control, refusing to talk, and he was the calm, cool, collected dad, who will set things straight, make me see reason, and stop quoting those darned AP stories or thinking I have any power with my linking habits, before I go have a talk with the nice folks at AP.

Saul, please. The narrative and tone in your post isn't a good one to get anyone to "see reason." It's parental and I'm an adult. Let's start over, and try this again.

How about a headline like: Bloggers, Passionate about Their Fair Use Rights, Defend Them Vigorously

Posted by Mary Hodder at June 19, 2008 08:13 AM | TrackBack

I find it totally shocking that a writer for such an esteemed venue as the New York Times would miss the danger in a blogger strike of the AP. Your point about blogger links increasing its value from a revenue and brand standpoint are totally right on. Also, the AP does not exist in a vacuum. There is competition. And there will be more competition from a vast, dispersed group of bloggers and new media journalists that continue to improve their reporting and ability to filter the massive amounts of content they produce. This is a sign that the New York Times still misses the point on new media in one of two ways:
1. They don't understand its impact which leads them to make such ridiculous points.
2. They don't respect it. Proof of which causes them not to pay attention to what kind of crazy arguments are being made on their blogs.

Posted by: mike at June 27, 2008 08:41 AM