New OECD report on “The future of news and the Internet”

The death of the newspaper is greatly exaggerated — generally speaking from the point of view of the OECD. Aside from in the U.S., the decline in revenues is on par with the general financial decline in recent years.

Figure 1. Estimated newspaper publishing market decline in OECD countries, 2007-2009 (in per cent)

…[A] new OECD report looking at “The Future of News and the Internet”. It contains new data and analysis on the global newspaper industry and the challenges presented by the Internet. Its main message is that “large country-by-country and title-by-title differences and the data currently do not lend themselves to make the case for “the death of the newspaper”, in particular if non-OECD countries and potential positive effects of the economic recovery are taken into account.” The full report, including data and charts, is available at,3343,en_2649_34223_45449136_1_1_1_1,00.html

After very profitable years, newspaper publishers in most OECD countries face declining advertising revenues, titles and circulation. The economic crisis has amplified this downward development.

About 20 out of 30 OECD countries face declining newspaper readership, with significant decreases in some OECD countries. Newspaper readership is usually lower among younger people who tend to attribute less importance to print media. In OECD countries, the general, regional and local press have been hardest hit and 2009 was expected to be the worst year for OECD newspapers, with the largest declines in the United States, the United Kingdom, Greece, Italy, Canada, and Spain (but much a much smaller impact on countries such as Austria, Australia (See above).

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techPresident Wins $10,000 Knight-Batten Innovation in Journalism Award

Congrats to all of the excellent sites that placed in the 2007 awards (press release). I became familiar with techPresident after meeting Micah Sifry at EconSM and then examining the site further at the Knight New Media Center Tech & Politics Conference, which I blogged. My favorite parts of techPresident are the news aggregators by candidate and the charts detailing social network and Web 2.0 presence and support.

The First place, $2,000 winner is the much-deserving Council on Foreign Relations. Their Crisis guides, such as this one on Darfur, are excellent. It would appear CFR is going to take it from there in developing a more robust Web presence — I’ve noticed that they’ve been seeking Web producers throughout the summer.

Other notable sites that won awards/mentions:

The Forum, an all-volunteer online newspaper for Deerfield, N.H.

On Being, WaPo’s twist on NPR-style citizen narrated content, in video form. NOTE: The Post’s Jim Brady was among the dozen or so esteemed advisory board members judging the nominees.

Assignment Zero, the first Pro-Am Journo project to come out of Jay Rosen’s NewAssignment.Net initiative (I participated in editing a few articles and with this contribution).

The Politics of Online Content

It’s often striking to note that the same rules and laws, from libel to copyright, apply online as they do in print. Until copyright laws are updated to reflect the Internet’s spirit of sharing, everything that is posted online is copyrighted by default. In backwards fashion, one must be *proactive* to indicate that sharing/lifting/reprinting of content, videos and photos is acceptable and *not* all rights are reserved.

The attitude of many publishers towards the Web, no thanks to Google/YouTube, is — “if it’s not fair use, what, are we gonna get sued?” And when a takedown notice comes through, the image, video, or other content is removed and usually the conflict is resolved. In other instances, however, a photographer is completely entitled to send a bill to a for-profit publication or organization that uses a photo or video without the creators permission. In the old days of print, I believe they called it “plagiarism.”

There are exceptions, of course. When user-generated content (UGC) is submitted through a module or service that requires agreeing to terms (i.e. checking a box without realizing what exactly you’re doing), the original producer of the content typically often signs off their rights completely on a non-exclusive basis.

In the case of Jamal Albarghouti’s infamous cellphone video of the Virginia Tech shootings, CNN contacted Albarghouti minutes after his submission was received to negotiate exclusive rights (for an undisclosed sum. Surely the creator was aware of the key terms and the key opening clause — submitting content meant no payment from CNN or its affiliates in exchange, automatically, for “a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide license to edit, telecast, rerun, reproduce, use, syndicate, license, print, sublicense, distribute…” (emphasis mine). Yahoo!/Reuters YouWitness News has similar terms, as do other sites, although to see a YouTube “exclusive” on CNN would probably be a first. In other words, no other UGC provider likely had the breadth of worldwide video distribution outlets (and cash) as did CNN (a Time-Warner company).

I wonder if any outlet has ever “bluffed” a claim of exclusive rights to user-generated content and/or how competitors could confirm the nature of their exclusive arrangement, but then again, the distortion of the term “exclusive” (not to mention “breaking news”) throughout the media is for another blog post / conference.

How do you know what you can post and what *might* get you in trouble? I use a Creative commons license or badge to indicate content that I’m happy to share for non-commercial use with proper attribution. In other instances, I’ll gladly accept cash or PayPal. NowPublic, AP’s UGC partner, was friendly enough to send me a message via flickr asking permission to use CC-licensed photos of mine on a couple occasions. Is a CC license legit? Well, your work is copyrighted whether or not you ever file or register a copyright and — after only 5 years of operation, there are over 140 million pages with CC licenses. Where can you find CC-licensed content? They’ve got a search tool.

* C-SPAN’s CC-style license.
* BBC’s Creative Archive Licence Group.
* Poynter’s David Shedden’s guide to copyright & fair use.

Originally posted in the Digital Political Communication class blog on April 20, 2007