The role of news aggregators was defended yesterday by journalists at an event for City University’s journalism students.
Speaking at ‘Pimp My Blog’, Patrick Smith, Karl Schneider, and Tim Glanfield argued that news aggregators add value, rebuking claims by former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie Jr that news aggregators are “parasites living of journalism produced by others”.
“I do think we are adding value,” said Smith, the editor of news aggregation site TheMediaBriefing. “We have got a semantic tagging system that actually makes this industry searchable and navigable and I think that has got a good value.”
Patrick Smith at Pimp My Blog:
Glanfield, a former Times journalist and co-founder of Beehive City, echoed Smith and questioned whether newspapers added any value or helped readers by simply “copying each other’s stories over and over again”.
“There are plenty of people who call themselves journalists out there who are basically just copying stuff from each other.
“Whereas what TheMediaBriefing and organisations like that are doing is aggregating news which is adding value.”
Schneider, the editorial director at Reed Business Information, criticised newspapers for blaming their failures on others.
“I think there are lots of examples of newspapers trying find someone else to blame, whether it is bloggers, Google, or Craigslist, it is always someone else’s fault,” he said.
“Actually I think newspapers have sat on their backsides and failed to respond effectively to a completely changing media landscape till it is pretty much too late.”
Schneider added that in the future newspapers will have to “fundamentally reinvent themselves” online, because the aggregation found in print does not make sense online.