Guilt by Associated…Press

by

Very indicative of the clash between traditional and online media: the current battle between the Associated Press and the Drudge Retort.

It boils down to the fact that AP inexplicably decided that June 2008 was the right time to limit blogs’ use of its material, all the way down to linking directly to its content. AP kindly agreed to establish guidelines for this kind of online activity, then even more kindly opted out of the conversation altogether (at least for now). As the New York Times reports,

After that, however, the news association convened a meeting of its executives at which it decided to suspend its efforts to challenge blogs until it creates a more thoughtful standard.

“We don’t want to cast a pall over the blogosphere by being heavy-handed, so we have to figure out a better and more positive way to do this,” said [Jim Kennedy, vice president and strategy director of The A.P.]

For Mr. Kennedy, this is a nice convergence of blissful ignorance and being trapped in 1998.

Memo to newswires: yes, you remain amongst the most powerful media outlets in the world, and yes, our regional dailies would be lost without your tremendous content. But not even the bitten-by-radioactive-spiders-born-on-Krypton-can-talk-to-fish superheroes of traditional media can forcibly shape the blogosphere.

There is much outrage across the blogosphere about AP’s action, but for me the real story is just how unsurprising this kind of arrogance is from such a staid media outlet. Perhaps this will serve as AP’s rude awakening, and will lead to a noticeable shift in its online strategy. Soon.

PS — For an excellent perspective on this issue, check out this post from Online Media Cultist.

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