[video] “Two pipsqueaks sitting around talking”: PD’s Kroll sweeps up Diadiun’s dust

If only pipsqueak dust was as magical as fairy dust.

Two pipsqueaks sitting around talking

Hattip to Jay Rosen and Chris Geidner for the heads up about this video, posted this morning and featuring Plain Dealer news impact editor, John Kroll.  Kroll responds to reactions to Reader Representative Ted Diadiun’s video from last week, which was about reaction to Connie Schultz’s column from the week before that. (I’ll have a separate post about today’s video.)

To recap: Connie wrote about a plan suggested by proposals written by a First Amendment lawyer and his brother, who is an economist.  Their last name is Marburger.  John Temple, former editor and publisher of the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News, has several blog entries posted with links to primary sources and first-person exchanges with lawyer Marburger, in chrono order:

Before journalists go too far lobbying Congress…

Connie Schultz v. Jeff Jarvis…

Lawyer central to Connie Schultz column speaks out… (primary documents attached)

Read how the lawyer central to Schultz’ column has to say about what happened, what he thinks…

In an extreme nutshell, the plan involves the re-assertion of copyright in a way that some readers (including journalists) found to be unacceptable and overreaching, but also of limited value to the plight of newspapers and provocative to the work and passion of many who produce content for the Internet.  The best place to start, for seeing reaction to Connie’s column, is at her columns (the first and the follow-up) in the comments and at Jeff Jarvis’s post.  A google search on “Schultz Marburger” gets you more.

My reax to everything before today’s video:

At a minimum, bloggers can’t do it all (I give credence to the expense, need and value of investigative journalism, particularly overseas) and online-only outlets aren’t accessed – still and will not be for the foreseeable future – by significant portions of the U.S. population.  A time of transition in news gathering, production and consumption started more than fifteen years ago and will continue for the foreseeable future – but news doesn’t stop happening and news gathering and production and consumption doesn’t stop either.

However, other than saying that Dick Feagler’s December 2005 column about blogs was the meanest thing I’d ever read (he eventually had me on his television show twice so I think that’s kind of a retrenchment in itself), I’ve refrained from name-calling.  And Ted should have too.

I don’t have a problem with newspapers looking to shore up their enforcement of copyright statutes and case law.  Rather, I look to why they’re doing so only now, after decades of pushing rights-grabbing freelance contracts that no doubt have in fact given them all kinds of rights they could be aggressively enforcing successfully.

If I worked on the business or legal side of newspapers, I’d be looking for and deploying every tool I could craft to prop up, save, modify and move forward the business of newspapers.  I don’t blame Connie for putting the Marburger’s plan out there in defense of that perspective, though I think others have made interesting points about whether or not she is the best messenger for mainstreaming the Marburger plan.  There are just so many other ways it seems that could have been done – maybe even a way to get online journalists vested in the concepts too without igniting truly distracting flame wars.

I don’t know any blogger who isn’t as interested in news as people in the bricks and mortar newsrooms.  The sooner and tighter that fact is grasped and used as a basis for saving whatever parts of traditional news gathering and provision are in danger, that deserve to be saved, the better for everyone.

And it can all be done without calling anyone a pipsqueak.

5 thoughts on “[video] “Two pipsqueaks sitting around talking”: PD’s Kroll sweeps up Diadiun’s dust

  1. The scariest part of the narrative here is that there are several well-run, dead-tree media outlets in the country (2 of which are local to Cleveland) that are actually showing a profit. I have to wonder what those papers are doing that the PeeDee isn’t…

    Also, what happens at the bottom of an organization also happens at the top: what is the PeeDee’s leadership like, if their minions are crying foul and calling people names?

    What is their leadership’s attitude? Hint: the other day, cleveland.com not only printed the name of a person who committed suicide — they put his name in the headline (he was neither a public figure nor under investigation)! When asked about it, they lied made up an excuse of “SEO purposes.”

  2. I totally agree. I have not read the Marburger docs so I can’t say who these orgs are but I would hope someone is providing a spreadsheet to show who they are and how they are taking from the traditional print outlets. Someone somewhere must have these numbers, right? /only partly sarcastic

  3. What’s baffling me is this narrative that there are all these bloggers or “parasitic aggregators’ out there who are making a real bundle by “stealing” newspaper content. If it’s about copywrite, they already have the laws and the laws are on their side. They can enforce them now. But it seems to me they’ve created some kind of fantasy world where they see people getting filthy rich off their content and they want some of that money. Who? What money? Where? Connie said she was working on a list of these so-called “aggregators” and I am eager to see it. As a plan of attack for newspapers, it just isn’t making sense to me.

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