General, Journalism, MFW

Why, I suspect, DrudgeRetort might be the least of AP’s worries; the days of the re-hash houses may be numbered…

Given the nature of the subject matter, definitely a case of credit first, link afterwards…

First to Jeff Jarvis and Buzzmachine and from there on to DrudgeRetort, both of whom – and a whole host of people thereafter – have AP in their sights…

http://www.buzzmachine.com/2008/06/12/fu-ap/ and then…

http://www.buzzmachine.com/2008/06/14/a-proposal-to-the-associated-press-a-link-ethic/

And on to… note we link, we credit…

http://www.cadenhead.org/workbench/news/3368/ap-files-7-dmca-takedowns-against-drudge

It is a very, very interesting debate, because – for me – it takes us straight into the heart of all that Messrs Berners-Lee and Moore are up to with their winning entry in this year’s Knight News Challenge.

Or, at least, I hope that’s where they are going.

http://outwithabang.rickwaghorn.co.uk/?p=73

It is an intriguing prospect where that may all lead. For as we’ve muttered before, that could threaten a whole host of accepted norms. And now both good gentlemen have $350,000-worth of R&D funding to make it happen.

Timescale-wise? I’ve no idea. But, trust me, I’m more than happy to be their cheer-leader in chief on this side of the Pond.

I don’t have too much idea of how the whole AP thing works in the States, to be fair. But if that is anything like the Press Association model in this country, then it ought to get them thinking very, very hard.

Because suddenly – and without going over too much old ground here – the person stood at the ’source’ of that story is going to get his/her due reward. Some kind of authenticity ‘tag’ will embed itself into that story and follow that story on its path into the worldwide web.

And the audience – and the advertising dollars – will go straight to the ’source’. They may then re-interpret; re-write, re-think, re-hash, re-nose and remark thereafter, but what will be next to nigh-on impossible to do will be to re-sell that original copy. Not if it’s got a ‘tag’ attached.

That’s not yours to sell. That belongs to the person who sourced the story. Or, of course, the organisation that sent the person to source the story…

Now, if you don’t send then you might have a problem.

And what, for example, that then means for AP’s arrangements with its subscriber newspapers and their existing syndication model, I’ve no idea. Well, other than to suspect that it might drive a coach and horses through it…

For argument’s sake, say, big blue whale washes up on the shores of Martha’s Vineyard; junior reporter from ‘The Vineyard Gazette’ is early on the scene – or at least earlier than any AP ‘reporter’, gets the quotes, the colour, the story and duly files, as per normal.

Story is put up on the Vineyard Gazette website as it is ‘filed’ into the AP desk who crunch it down, package it up and throw it out through their subscriber chain…

Only now Vineyard Gazette has a ‘First to story…’ tag attached.

A tag, you have to suspect, that will be designed to be picked up by, say, the Google News spiders… and, maybe, a tag that is likewise not designed to be removed by the AP re-write desk. Or any other re-hash house. Ownership doesn’t pass on up the line; it stays with the Vineyard Gazette…

Every whale-loving, web-reading news-fiend in the world won’t settle for the truncated, homogenised re-write; they’ll go to the source – and because it’s a passion that’s close to their heart, they’ll read the full, 800-word colour-piece by the ’source’ reporter; they’ll wholly ignore the 250-word re-hash that’s doing the rounds on the wire…

Will the Vineyard Gazette mind? Not at all – huge traffic driver; brings the eye-balls straight to them; nice, long, engaging story – a sticky read – and as we start to work a time-metric into our advertising thinking… bingo. You’re onto a winner. And you can cancel your AP subscription… fill your paper with more longer, ’sticky’ reads now funded by your ‘tagged’ beached whale story…

Until the good, Knight-funded people of www.mediastandardstrust.org get their beta baby rolling, much of this remains speculation – or fervent hope, in my case.

For it suddenly adds huge value to everything that MyFootballWriter stands for – for having the determination to be the ones still having the eye-ball to eye-ball conversation with the players and the managers afterwards… for being ‘at source’, time and time again.

If you’re not there; not stood next to me in the corridor waiting for Hucks to shuffle through – you’re in trouble.

The web is about to find you out. And the fall-out from that is going to be fascinating.

Because for me, DrudgeRetort might be the least of AP’s worries.

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