Google “stealing” from papers is misguided notion

College of Communication Dean Tom Fiedler, a Pulitizer winner and former executive editor of the Miami Herald, says the threat by the Associated Press to take on Web aggregators who distribute news stories without paying for them is misguided.

“I think the AP and its newspaper members have more to lose than to gain from this threat.  Journalists typically are thrilled – as they should be – when their stories are picked up by Google because it brings readers that otherwise wouldn’t be there.  Have no doubt that readers are lifeblood to journalists, not the incidental advertising dollars that might stay in Google’s hands.

“The notion that Google is stealing content from newspapers and profiting from that theft is misguided.  The fact that a reader who clicks on a headline link in Google News goes immediately to the host’s paper’s site underminds the ‘theft’ argument.

“In fact, if any organization should be charged with stealing content from newspapers it should be the AP, whose staffers rewrite newspaper stories thousands of times every day, often with the barest of credit going to the originating reporter or newspaper.”

Contact Tom Fiedler, 617-353-3488, tfiedler@bu.edu

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