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I’m having the strongest sense of deja vu. It wasn’t all that long ago that I heard Emily Bell tell a news:rewired audience that she believed publishers would get into bed with Big Tech if they thought they’d get some money from it. Well, alright, it was almost a decade ago – but I’m still getting reminded of the early days where Facebook and Google were seen as frenemies and not just enemies.
Now, as Hanaa’ Tameez explains for Nieman Lab, another big tech company is looking to cut a financial deal with publishers for use of its content: “In an announcement on Tuesday, OpenAI said it will give $5 million to venture philanthropy firm American Journalism Project to figure out how artificial intelligence can best be used to support local news.”
Look, it’s a very different situation, and it’ll take a while before we even know what the relationship between AI-based organisations and publishers ultimately looks like. But you’d hope that this time, at least, publishers go into discussions with an eye on their own sustainability and less on short-term revenue.
I’m on this week’s episode of The Addition podcast, talking with friend of Media Voices Charlotte Henry about newsletters. It helps a lot that Charlotte is an award-winning newsletter writer, having taken home the best solo newsletter award at the inaugural Publisher Newsletter Awards, so I could sit back and bask in her expertise. I was able to share, though, some of the chat I heard at the awards, about how newsletters are still undervalued despite their offering to publishers.
An update on Peter’s story from yesterday on GB News’ Dan Wootton. The Guardian’s Jim Waterson is reporting that Wootton’s former employees the Mail and the Sun are investigating his conduct while he was at those titles. If you read Popbitch (which you should) you’ll know that allegations of his misbehaviour there were an open secret. I’m sure that the usual suspects will continue to reputation-wash GB News, but frankly this is another nail in the coffin of Wootton’s employers’ reputations.
This is related to my chat with Charlotte on The Addition earlier. I spoke about the disincentive big platforms have to actually invest in upcoming voices. That’s true even in podcasting, where some of the platforms commit maybe as much to supporting upcoming talent as they do to keep big and problematic names on-side. Just imagine if some platform actually invested as much in up-and-coming journalism…
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