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Speech from Les Hinton, Dow Jones CEO, to World Association of Newspapers conference

Speech from Les Hinton, Dow Jones CEO, to World Association of Newspapers conference

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Published by Journalismcouk

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Published by: Journalismcouk on Dec 02, 2009
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04/17/2010

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FINAL Hinton WAN Hyderabad1 Dec. 2009
Thank you.I was invited here to talk about the value of journalism. About howwe at News Corp and Dow Jones have worked to create a debateabout the future of journalism in the digital world.We have deployed some lavish language to stir things up.We have called Google a digital vampire, and a parasite.We have pointed the finger at the content kleptomaniacs of theinternet whose business models depend on purloining theexpensive journalism of mainstream media.But now a little context. I use Google just as most of do. What itdoes to enhance and enrich our lives makes it a true wonder of the age.
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It is true that Google is at the heart of the crisis confronting journalism today. That their almost incalculable – and growing -power warrants great vigilance.But the main, and most uncomfortable, truth is that this industry isthe principal architect of its greatest difficulty today.We are all allowing our journalism – billions of dollars worth of itevery year – to leak onto the internet. We are surrendering our hard-earned rights to the search engines, and aggregators, andthe out-and-out thieves of the digital age.It is time to pause and recognize this – Free Costs Too Much.News is a business, and we should not be ashamed to say so. It’salso a tougher business today than ever before. We havesurvived other perceived threats - radio, television, cable TV.But this time it is different.
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How can it be that the Internet offered so much promise and solittle profit? I guess a lot of newspaper people were taken in bythe game-changing gospel of the internet age. It was a newdawn, we were told. A new epoch, a new paradigm. And we justdidn’t get it.Like an over-eager middle-aged dad, desperate to look cool, weended up dancing obediently to other people’s tunes. For a while.You can almost hear the music – an algorithm and bluessoundtrack – accompanying the harbingers of the new economywith the new rules of the new age. Their rules.These digital visionaries tell people like me that we just don’tunderstand them. They talk about the wonders of theinterconnected world, about the democratization of journalism.The news, they say, is viral now – that we should be grateful.Well, I think all of us need to beware of geeks bearing gifts.Here we are in 2009 – more viral, less profitable.
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