BoingBoing reports on a benefit to raise funds for Jeanne Robinson, wife of Baen SF writer Spider Robinson, who is battling cancer and needs assistance with medical funds. A number of renowned artists are donating works to an eBay charity auction held by SF podcast Sci-Fi Saturday Night.

Journalist Alan D. Mutter, whose “Reflections of a Newsosaur” blog we’ve mentioned a few times before, has a post in which he talks about the best model for newspapers to charge for on-line content, as opposed to the models newspapers are currently trying:

The only way most publishers can charge for online content is by investing in the creation of premium products and services that readers can’t find anywhere else. So far, I haven’t seen much evidence of that.

Instead, most publishers feverishly are parsing the supposed merits of any number of pay schemes.

Ironically, he begins the post with a story about how he declined an invitation to give a free speech to a newspaper publishers’ organization because he felt “people should be compensated for their work.” But he then went and posted this article free on his blog. (Granted, it’s a reprint of a magazine article he was paid to write, but it still amused me.)

Here’s a report from the Journalism 2.0 blog on a news organization doing the opposite of paywalling. NPR has an API (short for “application programming interface,” a convenient “hook” that developers can use to make their apps or websites take advantage of a service) that allows it to “create content once and see it published anywhere that can be imagined.”

Of course, since NPR is “National Public Radio”, it does not rely on conventional methods such as advertising for financial support. As Mark Briggs notes in one of the comments, the more people NPR can reach with its news, the larger the pool of potential donors will be.

The BookSeller reports that Canadian publishing industry representatives are “disappointed but not surprised” at the Canadian government’s decision to allow to establish a shipping center there. They are not concerned over added competition, but over allowing foreign companies to gain footholds. Canada has a number of local ownership laws aimed at protecting Canadian culture from being overrun by foreign interests.

John Gruber has a lengthy analysis of the actions of Gizmodo and its unnamed source for the iPhone 4G prototype. He cites California case law to conclude that both of them have likely opened themselves to potential criminal proceedings.

Those proceedings would be at the discretion of the District Attorney, not Apple, though I would expect the DA would take Apple’s preference into consideration when deciding whether to file them.

Gruber further expresses astonishment and dismay at the hubris inherent in Gizmodo’s actions, cavalierly flaunting legal liability and making the extreme “dick move” of publicizing the name of the man who lost the device.

Meanwhile, BoingBoing’s Rob Beschizza actually posts a defense of Gizmodo’s journalistic tactics, though even he notes that the outing of the Apple employee’s name brought “a well-deserved backlash”. His stance is that real scoops, no matter how they’re gotten, are remarkably rare in “the PR-fed world of gadget writing.”

It’s hardly fair to complain about gadget writers rewriting press releases, then complain about how they get to real news, too. There’s just not that much on the beat that isn’t spooned out by PR people; if it takes a drunken employee’s mishap and a paid-off thief, that’s what it takes.

I’m not so sure I can agree with that, but it is at least a different point of view.


  1. One of the dumber ideas some print-based pay walls invoke is insisting you take paper delivery of something in order to get the electronic version. The Economist — great magazine — does that. Why the heck do I want the paper magazine, several days after I’ve read the electronic one? Get with the Green program, please! By all means make sure I can view a pdf edition as well so I can click past all the print ads.

    And as for Amazon being a bogey man in Canada threatening local culture … I fail to see how Canadian culture is harmed by ebay or sears or llbean or kinovideo or the biggest bricks and mortar music seller here, HMV. Amazon wants to open up warehousing in Canada, creating local jobs instead of offloading to a courier. That will increase their efficiency and likely lower shipping costs. And, hey, they’ll even start paying corporate taxes. Remind me again what the problem is?

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