While Google and the Newspaper Association of America scheme on how best to nickel and dime readers in the States, a group of German bloggers recently banded together to provide their take on how journalism in the world of the Internet really works.
The result is the Internet Manifesto.
The Bavarian e-tome consists of 17 points that should give journalists a lot of hope for the future — news executives … not so much.
A few great points:
- If media companies want to continue to exist, they must … embrace [users'] forms of communication.
- The publication and dissemination of media contents are no longer tied to heavy investments.
- … journalistic quality … distinguishes itself from mere publication.
- … blocking access to the Internet endangers the free flow of information and corrupts our fundamental right to a self-determined level of information.
- Individuals can now inform themselves better than ever.
- Those who do not use [links] exclude themselves from social discourse.
- … no differentiation should be made between paid and unpaid journalism, but rather, between good and poor journalism.
- Only those who are outstanding, credible and exceptional will gain a steady following in the long run.
- Not the journalists who know it all are in demand, but those who communicate and investigate.
And my favorite:
- Journalism needs open competition for the best refinancing solutions on the net, along with the courage to invest in the multifaceted implementation of these solutions.
Google on the other hand, in an attempt to work out that awkward sexual tension with the oft-leery NAA, responded to the group’s call for plans to “monetize digital content, either through transactions (pay for content) and/or through collection of user data for enhanced advertising targeting or other ‘access to content programs.” The Nieman Journalism Lab has kindly posted Google’s “vision of a premium content ecosystem.”
I would think it would be smarter to practice to actually make lemonade before you set a price for it and build a sidewalk stand. If I were the NAA, I’d think about how to go about supplying premium content in a period of bankruptcy, layoffs and information commoditization — because it’s not really here now.
In the meantime, maybe the association should listen and learn from zee Germans.