What am I missing, Part II?

I was tempted to headline this post “Die Newspapers, Die” (no, not as a nod to The Simpsons and translated as “The Newspapers, The”).

I simply cannot understand their beef with GoogleNews. GoogleNews posts a headline and the lede of an article from news organizations worldwide with a link to the full piece on that outlet’s own Web site, and includes hundreds (often thousands) of other links from other papers on the similar topic.

I was on GoogleNews earlier and I saw links to articles from the New York Times, Reuters, the Baltimore Sun, the Miami Herald, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Sun-Times, USA Today and dozens more. Do newspaper executives like Thomas Curley at the AP really expect me to remember and type wwww.nytimes.com, uk.reuters.com, www.baltimoresun.com, www.miamiherald.com, www.bloomberg.com, online.wsj.com, www.suntimes.com, content.usatoday.com and so on and then dig through their various sites to find whatever time-wasting esoteric article I was looking for?

Do they really except me to fill up my bookmarks with their sites, and then spend hours clicking each one of them simply to read whatever superficial “coverage” they’re providing today, complete with lightweight sound bites and pointless man-on-the-street perspectives from their Masters Degreed journalists without a hint of Woodward and Bernstein or Jimmy Breslin gumshoeing, lunch-pail reporting? Do they really want to piss off consumers by making them log in to home page after home page, rather than by using GoogleNews’ simple link-through service, which benefits them if they would just put a cork in their collective whines and see that?

If news organizations pull their content from GoogleNews, which news outlets can easily do through coding, as Google’s Eric Schmidt “rather pointedly” (in Carr’s words) noted, here’s one consumer that won’t bother following them to their home pages — or more accurately, who’s going to pick one of them (likely the biggest fish, like the NY Times), and then permanently ignore the irrelevant rest of them.

Again, newspapers and their dimwitted executives continue to miss the forrest for the trees and miss out that this is their chance to bring more eyeballs to their online sites and, by extension, directly to their advertisers. The Golden Goose may not be laying enough golden eggs to save them all, but I’ll tell you this: I wonder how many readers they would lose without the GoogleNews Golden Goose.

“It truly was historic, the industry came together for the first time,” Curley told David Carr in regards to their concerns about GoogleNews. “I have never seen that degree of consensus in my career.”

Except, that members of the industry (read: newspapers) come together every day on GoogleNews.

The only beef I can maybe see the papers having is the reposting of the headline and lede on GoogleNews, with their concerns that this is all a reader will want to read. (Mind you, GoogleNews only reprints the opening ’graf on one article per topic.)

To that, I say to Newspapers: write better and more compelling headlines and ledes and you’ll get those desired click-throughs. Either that, or build a more trusted and relevant brand (like the NY Times) and people will want to read more.

Oh, you still possess relevant and trusted brands, don’t you? It’s not that you continue to subtly (and not-so-subtly) mimic GOP talking points masquarading as legitimate coverage (after all, we all know that the Recovery Act’s popularity has waned — GOP leaders said so). And you certainly don’t promote superficial coverage of world affairs or McNugget journalism. And nothing ever happens that creates mistrust and anger in your readership like shameful bald-faced old white guys raping and pilaging once important, stellar and respected newspapers. Of course, dear newspaper executives, your properties are still quite relevant.

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One Comment on “What am I missing, Part II?”

  1. jenx67 says:

    This is such a large issue – any comment I make seems so short-sighted. Being in PR, I’ve been looking at this for a long time, and I’ve been watching the slow desperation of newspapers. They tried to reinvent themselves in the same media for so long – then tried to look like TV stations – only the online version. It’s been a disaster. We need professional journalists – paid to do fact gathering and FACT CHECKING. I just don’t understand why newspapers were so slow with all the changes whirling around them. Their death was predicted 10 years ago.


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