We're protecting our craft by 'outing' our competitors
Imagine for a moment that you owned a craft business. In your craft business, you invested much money and worked hard day and night to sell the best crafts you could, original hand-made crafts you were proud to display. Each morning, you carefull...
Imagine for a moment that you owned a craft business.
In your craft business, you invested much money and worked hard day and night to sell the best crafts you could, original hand-made crafts you were proud to display.
Each morning, you carefully displayed the crafts outside your shop and placed a small but fair price on them.
Imagine then that every day you did this, shoplifters would stand wait to steal your crafts, strip them down to their bare essentials and peddle them to passers-by as their own.
Sounds unfair, doesn't it?
But that's the world of modern-day media, where newspapers and their related Web sites produce most of the world's news for everyone else to steal and peddle as their own.
Well, we're here to tell you today that we're sick and tired of it and we're not going to take it anymore.
The Forum last week joined what's starting to become a national newspaper movement to take back our intellectual property - news, and all it encompasses.
We notified The Associated Press that we were "outing" our local media competitors, meaning soon they will not be able to use our content without crediting us. If they do take our work and don't credit us, we'll take aggressive steps to stop the thieves.
Here's today's picture:
The Forum and several TV and radio stations in our market belong to The Associated Press, essentially a news co-op that allows media everywhere in the world to share news because we can't all be everywhere at once.
Those who subscribe to the AP pay a hefty price to belong.
Still, of all the news in the world, most people tend to be more interested in news that hits close to home. That's just natural.
So, local news is of great value. We share that belief and sink a lot of money and resources into gathering it on a daily basis.
But because our competitors are AP members as well, they have access to what we produce and, because of the AP's rules, don't have to source the original info back to us.
So, boiled down, we gather news and pay a lot of people to do it, while our competitors can get by with skeleton staffs and just have to pull our work off the wire and distribute it as their own.
But newspapers like The Forum are now turning to an AP option called "outing" that allows an AP member like us to specifically prohibit certain other AP members from using our material.
We're outing every commercial TV and radio station, and their related Web sites, in our market, except WDAY-TV and WDAY-AM radio, both owned by The Forum's parent company.
This doesn't mean competitors can't use our news; they just have to be honest and say where they got it from.
We think it will be eye-opening for people in our area to realize how much news we produce compared to all other area media.
And, yes, we expect our competitors will turn around and out us, too.
Frankly, we welcome that move. We're that confident in our ability to remain by far the area's No. 1 source of original information.
Von Pinnon is editor of The Forum. Reach him at (701) 241-5579 or email@example.com