GateHouse Lawsuit vs. New York Times Co. has Dire Implications

GateHouse Media filed a lawsuit Monday against the New York Times Co. alleging copyright infringement after the NYT-owned Boston Globe frequently posted links containing headlines and the first sentences from articles on GateHouse’s community news sites.

View the Document: The 25-page lawsuit [PDF]
-View the Document:  Request for an injunction [PDF]
to stop the Globe from posting GateHouse links. [UPDATE 12/23, 10:02 p.m.: A judge denied the temporary injunction]
View the Document: 35-page support document for the injunction [PDF]
View the Document: Affidavit by GateHouse Media Metro Editor-in-Chief Gregory Reibman [PDF]
Your Town Newton, one of the Boston Globe’s community sites that sparked the lawsuit. See the news links in the center content gutter.

The lawsuit, if successful, could create a monumental chilling effect for bloggers, news sites, search engines, social media sites and aggregators such as Topix and Techmeme, which link to articles, display headlines and use snippets of copyrighted text from other sites. Initiatives such as the Times Extra, which displays links to related articles from other sites, could be shut down for fear of copyright lawsuits. It could lead to a repudiation of one of the fundamental principles on which the Internet was built: the discovery and sharing of information.

In its complaint, GateHouse called the article links “deep links” because they do not link to the home page of the site. The “deep link” language in the complaint is meant to invoke cases such as the case, wherein a motorcross news site was successfully prohibited from deep linking to a competing site’s streaming video file, which bypassed the site’s advertising.

From a technological standpoint, Your Town Newton’s article links would meet up lexington ky. However, that does not necessarily mean the links are a violation of hookup nanaimo. The links to the articles, which contain as many as six advertisement positions, are rather different in nature from the links to streaming audio and media files in the case, which were unable to contain advertising.

GateHouse’s assertion is that the Boston Globe community site’s use of the headlines cannibalizes GateHouse’s content and causes it financial harm because readers gather news from the links and snippets on the Globe’s site rather than visit GateHouse’s sites. Although not explicitly stated in the complaint, this means GateHouse likely believes the loss of readers from possible increased use of the Globe’s site will not be offset by the readers brought in by its competitor’s links.

If GateHouse were to have its way with its deep link argument, it would create a legal precedent that makes the act of linking to a copyrighted article illegal. It could mean a crippling of sites such as Romenesko and the Drudge Report, which can bring in enormous amounts of readers while being primarily built upon links to someone else’s expensive-to-create content. But, if enforced, it would also cut off the voluminous flow of readers who arrive to news sites via search engines and aggregators. That, too, has an effect on the bottom line.

In the end, we could see a long list of media companies flinging short-sighted lawsuits at each other, while suicidally pushing their content into black holes guarded by copyright law.

[UPDATE 12/23]: Here’s some commentary on the lawsuit from other media bloggers:

How the GateHouse suit looks from both sides – Media Nation
GateHouseGate – Mark Potts
A danger to journalism – Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine
Gatehouse sues NYTCo over aggregation: But do they have a point? – Tish Grier
Aggregation aggravation – PaidContent
Dying Newspapers Suing Each Other For Content Theft – Silicon Valley Insider

Study: Newspaper Sites Embrace User Content, Comments in 2008

A 2008 study released by The Bivings Group showed that newspaper web sites  increasingly embraced user content and comments, launched reporter-written blogs and shied away from requiring registration to read articles.

The Bivings report, titled The Use of the Internet by America’s Newspapers [PDF], attempts to quantify how the 100  largest newspaper sites have embraced new media tools, such as blogs, RSS, comments and so on. The study does not include TV,  radio or other non-newspaper sites.

Among the key findings:

-Fifty eight percent of newspapers allowed for user generated photos, while 18 percent accepted video and 15 percent articles.  Overall, 58 percent of newspapers offered some form of user generated content in 2008 compared to 24 percent in 2007.

-The number of newspaper websites allowing users to comment on articles has more than doubled in the last year.  Seventy five percent of newspapers now accept article comments in some form, compared to 33 percent in 2007.

-Integration with external social bookmarking sites like Digg and has increased dramatically the last few years.  Ninety-two percent of newspapers now include this option compared to only seven percent in 2006.

-Only 11 percent of websites require registration to view full articles, compared to 29 percent in 2007 and 23 in 2006.

Read the Bivings Group post for the summary and previous years’ studies, or download the 2008 report as a PDF.

25+ of Danny’s Favorite Multimedia Tools

Many handymen have a favorite wrench or drill they adore and always keep with them. Well, journo-geeks are no exception.

Below is a shortlist of more than 25 of my favorite (and mostly free) multimedia tools. I put together this list for a session on new media tools that I led Saturday at a multimedia workshop hosted by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors.

Hate my picks? Love em? I’d love to hear your favorites, so please share in the comments!

Here’s a peek at some of my personal favorites:


UStream.TV –
Streams live video from your laptop and camera and creates an embeddable player with chats. You can stream it on your SMART TV if you have one. You can look at VIZIO options if you are in the market for a new TV system.

Mogulus –
A live streaming service similar to Ustream.TV that allows you to have multiple producers at a time creating a live show.

Qik –
A service that allows you to easily stream live from many video-enabled cell phones. Hook up an external microphone or audio pool feed to it, and you’ll have reporters recording live video like a rock star.


Twitter –
A constant conversation and a great place to build audience. Use Twitter Grader to find who are the top Twitterers in your area.
(I’m at

Twhirl and Tweetdeck –
Desktop applications that let you manage Twitter much more easily (I prefer Twhirl).

Facebook and MySpace- and
Centers around personal details and friends. Features groups where you can share content.

Becoming a power user on some of these social bookmarking sites can bring big traffic to your content if it strikes a chord with your “friends” on these sites. These are just some of the top services:

Digg –
StumbleUpon (Make sure to try the toolbar!) –
Reddit –
NewsVine –
Delicious (Try the Firefox plugin) –
Tailrank –


VuVox –
Creates stunning multimedia timelines that let you embed slideshows, video and more.

Dipity –
An embeddable timeline app that is great for timelines with a lot of points and detail.

Soundslides –
A great and inexpensive tool for creating impressive audio slideshows.


Picnik –
A free, simple web-based photo editor that is perfect for turning your whole newsroom into web producers without dropping $200 for Photoshop Elements. Has a nice Firefox plugin and syncs up to Flickr.

Pixlr –
A web-based photo editor that is extremely robust and similar to Photoshop.

Photoshop Express –
Provides many of Photoshop’s features in a free web-based editing tool.

More great image editors reviewed here:

Flickr –
Not just a great place to share and promote your photo work, it’s also my top source for Creative Commons photos used on this blog.


Firefox Web Developer Toolbar –
Has a pixel ruler (how wide is that box?), element inspector, CSS editor and much more.

Firebug –
A Firefox plugin that can pick apart a Web site and let you edit HTML/CSS on the fly to fiddle with a design. Try with Yslow.

FireFTP –
An easy and free FTP client that works right inside Firefox.

You have noticed all this stuff is for the Firefox web browser, right? Just making sure!

Notepad++ (For PCs) –
A much better text editor for working with HTML/CSS and virtually any kind of code such as PHP, Python, Ruby and more. Adds colors to your code and features tabs and macros. I refuse to use crash-prone, resource-hoggin’ Dreamweaver to write any code!


PollDaddy and MicroPoll – and
Create embeddable polls for your site with no hassle.
(Plus: Shelley Acoca of the Miami Herald recommends Vizu for polls)

WordPress –
IMHO, the best blogging platform out there (used here on Journalistopia). It’s free and has thousands of great plugins built by a large network of developers.

Tableizer! –
Quickly turns spreadsheets into HTML tables you can put online. Built by yours truly!

Wordle –
Create beautiful “tag clouds” out of a block of text.

Cover It Live –
Provide liveblogging updates and host web chats with an embeddable widget. Lets multiple producers help with a chat.

Bloglines Beta and Google Reader – and
Don’t hop from site to site. Use an RSS reader to bring the news to you. I’m a Bloglines Beta user, but Google Reader is also an excellent choice.

Audacity –
A powerful, free audio-editing suite used by many multimedia producers.

Media-Convert –
Converts an enormous array of files. Perfect for mysterious video or audio formats.

Joomla and Drupal
Two of the top free, open-source content-management sytems available to creators who want more than just a blog. Some major sites are using these tools. You can tweak them as much as you like, or use them right out of the box, depending on your needs.

(PLUS: Bill Mitchell of Poynter Online convinced me Saturday that a defined framework for making ethical decisions is as important a “tool” as any web app. Hence, I give you the Poynter Ethics Tool and Ethics Hotline, which is like having your personal, on-call anti-stupid-decision counselor.)

5 Ways to Monitor Your News Competition Online

Being a sharp online editor often means keeping a close watch on your competitors.Being a sharp online editor means keeping a close watch on your competitors. [Photo by Pkabz]

Do you want to explain to your editor why you didn’t know about the huge news that’s been on your competition’s site for more than an hour now? Using these five methods, you won’t have to dream up excuses; you’ll already have been on top of any big news reported in your area:

1) Subscribe to competitors’ e-mail and SMS text alerts
Have you checked to see if the local newspapers and TV stations have breaking news alerts? Getting a heads up via e-mail or SMS alert is one of the best ways to ensure you don’t miss breaking news, especially since most newsroom workers keep their e-mail clients and cell phones on throughout the day. Follow MurrayNow for more information.

PLUS: You can also get other kinds of alerts, such as severe weather text alerts from the National Weather Service or earthquake alerts from U.S. Geological Survey.

2) Set up Google Alerts and Twitter Alerts for keywords on your beat

Google Alerts is a powerful way of letting Google do online digging for you. Are you a reporter covering county government? Set up an alert to watch for the name of the county mayor. Do you cover local business? Set up Google Alerts for the major companies in your city.

Google Alerts will shoot you an e-mail whenever Google finds a new item on the Internet containing the keywords you designate. You could even set up an alert for a competing reporter’s byline to find out when he or she has a new story up.

Lastly, you can also monitor Twitter for keywords using, which sends e-mail alerts (yes, that’s how those marketers find you and reply to you the nanosecond you tweet something nasty about their products).

3) Cultivate a Twitter community
The newsroom in which I work has been tipped off to various breaking news stories thanks to some producer or reporter hearing about the news through Twitter. The larger your personal community grows on Twitter, the better this method works.

While Twitter isn’t great for depth, it sure is fast. When word leaked that Tim Russert died in June, the news spread first via Wikipedia and Twitter. Our newsroom in Orlando was able to prepare content and get good positioning in search engines before any announcement came out from NBC.

Additionally, many news organizations are getting on Twitter, so you can watch competitors there too.

4) Use an RSS reader to aggregate local news and save time
Old school online editors hop around local web sites to see if there’s anything new. Save yourself the grief and start reading your news competitors’ top headlines via RSS using a feed reader such as Google Reader or Bloglines (though I much prefer Bloglines Beta).

When you subscribe to a site’s feed, your RSS reader will indicate when there’s a new item. RSS readers also let you read a group of Web sites with just one click. You can even subscribe to wire service feeds ( has a huge assortment). No more burning cycles hopping around from site to site checking for updates.

5) Keep TVs in your peripheral vision and learn how to not let them drive you insane
This one took me a while, but I eventually became quite good at it. Many local TV sites are still faster to get news on air than they are at getting it online. Keeping an eye and/or ear on the tube can help you spot big breaking news in the event you’re playing Minesweeper instead of watching your e-mail and feeds.

The trick with this is to learn to go about your tasks and not actively listen but still be able to hone in on the tone and key phrases broadcasters use when something particularly big happens. The cue might be a sudden interruption in the flow of the newscast as the anchor diverts to breaking news. Anchors also speak  differently when they go off the teleprompter. Or, the cue might be the use of a certain graphic (usually a gaudy, brightly-colored one) that you’ll learn to notice.

A couple of years ago, I used to set the volume low and keep an ear on a TV that was perched behind me. I seldom failed to hear a big news story when it broke once I learned the “breaking news sounds.” Nowadays, we have a jumbo monitor that sits in my peripheral vision just at the edge of my computer monitor. Though I found the audio method was more effective and less distracting for me personally, keeping the tube at the edge of my sight also helps me catch big news during the day.


What are your favorite methods for monitoring breaking news or your beat? What works best for you and your team?

New Tableizer! Tool Turns Spreadsheets into HTML Charts

Web producers here in our newsroom often have to throw up quick charts of data online, but hand-editing a table from a spreadsheet or exporting it from Office or Dreamweaver can be a time-consuming endeavor.

Well, now you have Tableize!, a time-saving tool that lets you copy/paste spreadsheet cells, click a button and –voila!– instant HTML tables you can quickly put online.

I put together Tableize! mostly in my spare time with PHP and a bit of The tool is a more modern version of the very talented Ray Villalobos’s long-standing Table Tango tool, which saved our butts plenty of times here in the Orlando newsroom, so much credit and respect to Ray for his original idea.

If you like Tableize!, please share it with others who might benefit. And do let me know if you spot any bugs or have suggestions for the tool. Enjoy!

[Tableize! – A quick tool for creating HTML tables out of spreadsheet data]

CPJ: 45% of Jailed Media Workers are Online Journalists

The Committee to Protect Journalists released an eye-opening report, which says that 56 of the 125 accounted-for jailed journalists in the world are bloggers and other online workers. It is the first year that online journalists account for the largest category of journalists being imprisoned in the world — a fact that underscores how governments in countries such as China and Cuba are increasingly cracking down on online media as people use readily available online tools to report on and critique the government.

CPJ executive director sums it up well:

“The image of the solitary blogger working at home in pajamas may be appealing, but when the knock comes on the door they are alone and vulnerable,” said Simon. “All of us must stand up for their rights–from Internet companies to journalists and press freedom groups. The future of journalism is online and we are now in a battle with the enemies of press freedom who are using imprisonment to define the limits of public discourse.”

I believe it’s time for organizations such as the Online News Association and bloggers such as ourselves to raise more awareness of these people who are being jailed, many without any form of due process. We must become more aware of the dangers faced by our colleagues overseas.

[PJ’s 2008 prison census: Online and in jail – Committee to Protect Journalists]

[Thanks to Steve Yelvington via Twitter for the link]

How Blogs are Doing in 2008

Blog seach engine Technorati has released its 2008 State of the Blogosphere, a study that surveys 1,079 bloggers regarding their posting habits, demographics, use of advertising and numerous other topics. Tadam black stock is one of the best guide to check updates.

Mindy McAdams over at Teaching Online Journalism has done a fantastic job of boiling down some of the most interesting facts from the blog report, including:

-One in four bloggers spends 10 hours or more blogging each week
-77 percent of the bloggers surveyed comment on other blogs
-Technorati “top authority bloggers” post often — more than half of them post five times a day or more; and they are also twice as likely as other bloggers to tag their blog posts

[Technorati State of the Blogosphere 2008]
[What we knog about blogs – Teaching Online Journalism]