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Should Journalists Accept Free Travel to Apple Events or Any Others?

This morning, I awoke to a perplexing question in the BetaNews Tips inbox. Reader Mark Bryant shares a story from Medium and asks: “Should Journalists be obliged to declare in their reviews that the company has paid for business class travel to the event and given them free devices?” It’s a goddamn good question given too little attention.

“The True Bendgate: How Apple Bends Reality and Why the Media is Playing Along”, by Richard Gutjahr with German-to-English translation by Elka Sloan, is excellent and informative reading. Medium is good forum for the tale. Richard tells about receiving an invite to last month’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch event, for which he reports Apple paid for transportation. [Read more]

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No Wonder Free is the Expected Cost

L month, I read frighteningly insightful analysis “How the Internet Killed Profit“. Ah yeah. Facilitated in part by the Google free economy, many things that were profitable suddenly aren’t.  There’s little financial gain giving away valuable content. Free isn’t necessarily bad, just a myth—the great Internet lie that reinforces the justification no one needs to pay for anything.

But as I explained five years ago in post “The Problem with Free“: “Free and the Internet go oddly together, and not necessarily well together…People will pay for anything for which there is perceived or actual value. Free is an acceptable price when there is perceived or actual value”. Pay or free are the same because value matters more. The 2009 analysis responded to Chris Anderson’s assertion that on the Internet “free really can be free”. He is misguided. [Read more]

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Twitter betrays You

Today, over at BetaNews, my colleague Mark Wilson asks:
Twitter may be within its rights to block ISIS beheading content, but is it right?” The social service did more—suspending accounts for some users who shared the gruesome video depicting the slaughter of front-line journalist James Foley, who was held in captivity for about two years. Mark writes:

Twitter has a responsibility to allow events to unfold without intervention. The sheer number of people using the site means that it is possible to get a fairly balanced view of what is going on in the world—do a little research and you should be able to find supporters of every side of just about any story or argument. But for this to work, censorship just cannot happen.

I agree but see far darker implications with respect to news reporting. [Read more]

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Aggregation is Plagiarism

On March 15, 2011, I started the post you now read with a headline left unanswered: “Is Aggregation Really Just Plagiarism?” Clearly, my answer—too long coming—is “Yes”. Unequivocally, news aggregation is plain, pure plagiarism.

Google enables, no encourages, content thieves, despite recent search engine penalizing strategies. Too often, the big G raps sites because of links to black-listed blogs. The problem is bigger: Mainstream blogs writing synopsis stories that include absolutely no original reporting but take away pageviews from the news site doing the real work.[Read more]

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When Media Values Collide

Overnight, I came out against my colleague’s story “New Mozilla CEO is allegedly anti-gay marriage—Firefox developers boycott” . Had I been editor on duty, the story wouldn’t have run, not because of the topic but the sourcing. However, response to the post—820 comments as I write—raises an interesting quandary about the cultural clash between old and new media.

Reader response is explosive, and comments are much more interesting reading than the story (no offense to buddy Brian Fagioli). Commenters largely fall into two opposing camps—those complaining about societal constraints on free speech and others disgusted by Mozilla’s CEO being allegedly anti-gay marriage.  The polarized ends, and even some discussion between them, is fascinating snapshot about freedom, community, and human rights—one person’s personal versus those of the larger group.[Read more]