Google to publish Associated Press, other news content

googlenews.jpgIn a significant first, Google will begin hosting Associated Press stories on its own site, according to an AP report. Another good report, this one by InformationWeek, is here.
Here’s an example of a Google-hosted story.

The AP story sums it up well:

The change affects hundreds of stories and photographs distributed each day by the AP, Agence France-Presse, The Press Association in the United Kingdom and The Canadian Press. It could diminish Internet traffic to newspaper and broadcast companies’ Web sites where those stories and photos are also found – a development that could reduce those companies’ revenue from online advertising.

For now, it appears Google is thoroughly blending its newspaper-site results with its Google-hosted results. Also, there is no advertising on the news stories and the related links draw from other Web sites.

Of course, that could all change.

MORE: Eric Schmidt discusses copyright with Danny Sullivan here.

L.A. Times editorial board decries Google News comments

The L.A. Times editorial board on Saturday scoffed at the principles of free speech and open information with an editorial claiming that “Many publishers consider the Internet, and Google in particular, a greater threat to their livelihoods than Osama bin Laden.”

The Times is upset by the fact that Google will be allowing the people who are written about in stories to comment via their Google News service. It says that Google “isn’t journalism.”

Google is a search engine and content aggregator. This huffing about Google not being journalism is akin to lambasting the guy who drives the newspaper delivery truck for not having a journalism degree.

Nevertheless, the Times does not cite copyright issues in its editorial.

It does not discuss the difficulty in managing such a comment system.

It does not even ask how it will verify the contributors’ identities (never mind that Times editorials carry no bylines — a whole other issue).

But it does assert that “a seemingly heartfelt comment may carry the CEO’s name, but the words will probably have been typed by corporate flacks.” Fair enough, but what about the comments made by experts with thoughtful insights? What about the lady who was inaccurately reported dead telling the world she is, indeed, alive. What about the families of disaster victims who simply want to thank the world for their prayers? You can visit Mitcccny for that.

I quote from the Times’ own editorial board mission statement:

On the editorial page, the newspaper sets aside its objective news-gathering role to join its readers in a dialogue about important issues of the day.

The Times is offended by the notion that the people who contribute comments to Google News will be making them “unedited.” This means the comments will not be altered and filtered by people like the writer of the Times editorial, who has such splendid judgment as to compare a medium we use to learn about the world in unprecedented ways as being equivalent to an extremist who murdered nearly 3,000 people.

This is exactly the kind of idiotic hubris online dating photographer and, by extension, the journalism they produce. It is also the sort of attitude that could throttle the life out of newspapers online and make the prophecies of out-of-touch opinion mongers come true.

I can only pray that today’s newspaper leaders do not have the same lowly opinion of the Internet and public forums as do the Times‘ editorial board. If so, we journalists are in worst trouble than I thought.


More responses from party hookup, date rich women and australian love island.

And a reminder of exactly to what the editorial board has compared Google:


12 tips for growing online communities


The Knight Citizen News Network has produced a list of 12 tips for growing positive online communities. This is as dead-on a list as I’ve ever encountered, so be sure to give it a read.

Among the tips:

The “if you build it, they will come” approach to online community rarely produces good results. Most people don’t want to be the first one to strike up a public conversation. It’s helpful to do some behind-the-scenes recruiting of knowledgeable, reasonable, friendly, interested, and gregarious people to check in with your community regularly.


If possible, find a way to spotlight the best posts and threads from your community. does this in its political forum, The Fray. That forum’s main page highlights the following kinds of contributions: editor’s picks, most read, and highest rated.

Read more from this great list.

And, check out this Journalistopia list of more resources on communities and citizen journalism.

[Photo by aleske]

Looking at the big media picture with Google, AOL, Yahoo

Amy Webb over at MyDigiMedia cuts through the media circus around newspaper acquisitions and has a moment of clarity when she surveys the bigger picture and looks at “who owns what.”



Amy has drawn up a handy chart showing the acquisitions made by IAC, Google, Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft and, yes, News Corp. Us newsie types like to think newspapers are the center of the universe, but there’s a much larger landscape to be surveyed.

She writes:

“The future of media isn’t only about content, it’s about delivery. While journos are busy bickering about whether or not to allow visitor comments on their websites, other companies are moving full-speed ahead with radically different business models. They’re thinking broadly: aggregator + search + content + mobile + gaming = sustainability.”

In other words: If you’re worried primarily about what to call the lifestyle section on your news site and not about, say, delivering content to mobile devices, then it’s time to take your head outta your arse and start seeing the potential of slot online games.

80 awesome Photoshop text tutorials

photoshop-text.jpg I just love it when someone does the work for me of compiling awesome tutorials. Check out this list of 80 Photoshop text tutorials that covers everything from text written in the sand to the Superman effect.

And yes, these are great for the display type on those interactive graphics I was just writing about. While you’re at it, check out this huuuuuuge collection of totally free Photoshop brushes.

[Via Lifehacker and Planet of the Web]

Knight-Batten Award finalists announced

jlab.gifJ-Lab has announced the 2007 winners of the Knight-Batten Awards. The finalists include’s OnBeing, Reuters’ Second Life reporting and the Orlando Sentinel‘s Varsity MyTeam site (woo-ha!).

See the list of finalists here (with links), as well as the 2007 notable entries. The winners will be announced at a Sept. 17 symposium.

Visualize your news graphics’ possibilities


Smashing Magazine has produced an excellent list of some of the best data visualization examples on the Web today (hat tip to Melissa Worden). Examine each of these visualizations closely because you’re looking at the first step in the future of your news site’s Flash graphics. Though these particular graphics are a little trippy for your average reader, such experimentation should yield sweet results for mainstream design. You’ll see many of the same principles at work in this New York Timescampaign finance graphic.

Now I’m going to make a prediction here that news sites will somewhat move away from using Flash as a tool for packaging different story elements (video, slideshows, text, photos, the kitchen sink, etc.) and more toward using the data manipulation capabilities of Flash to produce rich infographics.

What I love about these data-backed graphics is that a reader can “play” with the graphic and truly interact with it. The more the graphic allows manipulation from the user, the longer she’ll stick around. If you’re a designer who has only been using Flash as a shell to hold content, push the envelope with some XML files powering your Flash graphics.

What the heck are you waiting for? Here’s a good video tutorial from Flashmastah Ray Villalobos on how to use XML and Flash, as well as many more Flash and XML resources at Kirupa and advice from Mindy McAdams. Gowan, getouttahere!

NY Post report: TimesSelect is a goner

timesselect-thumb.gifThe New York Times is poised to eliminate its TimesSelect product, making its popular columns, discussion boards and other features free to search engine spiders and all the denizens of the Internet, according to a report in the New York Post. If true, this effectively ends the most prominent example of putting popular news content behind a pay wall (outside of the Wall Street Journal, of course).

friedman.jpgI’d mourn thee, TimesSelect, save for the fact that I can now e-mail Thomas Friedman columns to my fiancee and friends. Come on, who could keep that cuddly, pouty face behind a pay wall for long? [Link via Romenesko]

[TimesSelect page]

Roundup of Minneapolis bridge collapse interactive coverage

st. petersburg times bridge graphicBelow is a roundup of links to interesting infographics, maps, databases and other types of interactive coverage of the Minneapolis bridge collapse. Also, IRE has an excellent set of bridge-related resources.

(NOTE: I’ve updated the list a few times with more links from people who’ve written in; many thanks.)

New York Times
Interactive graphic with step-by-step look at how the collapse occurred

Map of the collapse site and a historical look at other major bridge collapses

Washington Post
Interactive graphic analyzing each portion of the destruction

St. Paul Pioneer Press
Community-contributed photos | Audio slideshow

Miami Herald
Interactive mashup map of South Florida bridges in poor condition

Palm Beach Post
Searchable database of Florida bridges

Cleveland Plain-Dealer
Interactive map of state showing deficient bridges by county | Searchable database of all Ohio bridges | Interactive state-by-state map of U.S. showing deficient bridges

Des Moines Register
Searchable database of Iowa bridges

Orlando Sentinel
Interactive mashup map of Central Florida bridges in poor condition

The Oregonian
Interactive mashup map of structurally deficient bridges in Oregon

St. Petersburg Times
Flash graphic with map, statistics and bridge construction graphics

Interactive Flash map of state-by-state deficient bridge tallies

Community-edited article about the bridge
Guest book for Minneapolis bridge victims

Florida Today
GIS-based map of all Brevard County bridges