Last week, a U.S. Senate committee engaged in the sort of navel-gazing about the future of journalism that is usually confined to, well, journalists. And this week, the usual suspects are pontificating about what the hearing meant.
There's a lot that could be said, but my attention was caught first and foremost by a sharp exchange between James Moroney, publisher and CEO of the Dallas Morning News, and Google Vice President Marissa Mayer. Moroney showed himself to be particularly well-informed about a certain legal doctrine, created for The Associated Press and recently reinvigorated in a lawsuit brought by that journalism organization: the "Hot News" doctrine.
Committee chairman Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) teed up the exchange between Moroney and Mayer by asking the latter if she thought news organizations were paid enough for readers finding stories through a news aggregator like Google News. Kerry said:
"If you're you're out there doing the footwork and you've got a top level reporter in a bureau somewhere in the world, or you're doing a major investigative story and you put the pieces together... that takes money, it takes time, it takes skill... They're not going to get remunerated, for the level they put into that ... Is there a fairer way to try to spread the cost here?"