Monday, June 22, 2009

So Strange

I continue to be puzzled by this bizarre new bit of journalist conventional wisdom that they deserve to be compensated every time someone makes use of their material in any way.

Google’s promotion of Wikipedia content is hardly new: its search engine routinely lists Wikipedia articles as the first result for a search. But their use on the news site — especially as newspaper publishers have been complaining that Google was building a competing news site using headlines and snippets of newspaper articles — adds a new wrinkle to the question of how publications can control and charge for their content.

In response to critics’ concerns over the accuracy of what appears on Wikipedia, the articles there, particularly about breaking news, can be meticulously sourced. The article “Iranian Presidential Election, 2009,” for example, had more than 200 footnotes by the weekend. So, in essence, many Wikipedia articles are another way that the work of news publications is quickly condensed and reused without compensation.

Because journalists never make use of information or research from other people or publications without compensating them.