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What happened to exclusivity and proprietary information, photos, etc.?
This morning, as I began my morning ritual of reading the print edition of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, I noticed something glaringly odd.
Both papers, which are already increasingly resembling one another after Rupert Murdoch bought Dow Jones, had the same photo leading their main story about the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India.
To have two leading newspapers publish and display the same stock photo on the very same day, underscores the commoditization of newspapers.
In my 15 years as a journalist, I've never seen the two leading papers publish the same main image on their front pages, let alone on the same day. (Update: My former boss Dave Callaway at MarketWatch just told me that unfortunately, this does happen occasionally.)
So much for proprietary and exclusive footage. Across the Web, similar footage is copied and used multiple times. That's expected.
Now, newspapers are starting to look like their online nemeses.
It's inevitable, given the state of crisis it's in. Just this week, the Newspaper Association of America released third-quarter data for newspapers. The report showed that classified advertising was down 31% in the third quarter, following a drop of 27% in the second quarter, and a decline of 25% in the first. Total advertising for print sank 19% in the third quarter, following a drop of 16% (2Q) and 14% (Q1). Online ads for newspapers sank for the second quarter in a row, down 3% in the third quarter, and down 2.4% in the second.
Advertising and circulation is down and many traditional journalists
have been fired or have left to work for new online publications, or
have begun independent bloggers. We know the industry is in bad shape.
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