I tuned in for most of Sen. Kerry’s hearing on the future of journalism and it was mostly as useless as I had thought it would be when I first heard about it. The short version of what those representing the mainstream media had to say was that they want congress to rescind anti-trust laws for the news industry and also allow them to go nonprofit. Well, they can go nonprofit, all they need is a lawyer – not the help of congress.
And as the recent financial shenanigans have shown us – what could possibly go wrong if you allow industries to collude and work together in an un-competitive way towards consumers?
Another concept being pushed was from writer David Simon who seemed to want papers to go back into their walled gardens or even offline. That’s never worked for news online, and is even less likely to work into the future.
The silliest beef of the dying mainstream media seemed to be versus Google. They seem to think that they should be paid because Google links to them. But as Marissa Meyer of Google noted – Google News sends out about 1.5 billion people to news sites per month. And if that’s so bad, it is really simple for newspapers to opt out of Google search – it’s just one text file.
The hearing didn’t resolve anything beyond making it abundantly clear the government shouldn’t be involved in the news business, and especially shouldn’t be in the business of giving life support to dying business models.