Ann Pettifor

Sharing intellectual capital with the FT

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then we are flattered that the FT have adopted our ‘Econoclast’ identity for their site….It is edited by Gavyn Davies, and is a good read. Furthermore, we have at times partaken of FT generosity, by using their logos, without permission, for stories…and so declare that we are quits.

This again is an example of what Clay Shirky calls the “creativity and generosity of our interconnected age” in his new book: “Cognitive Surplus“.

He makes an interesting point in an interview with the Guardian, when discussing paywalls.  I quote: “When we talk about newspapers, we talk about them being critical for informing the public; we never say they’re critical for informing their customers. We assume that the value of the news ramifies outwards from the readership to society as a whole. OK, I buy that. But what Murdoch is signing up to do is to prevent that value from escaping. He wants to only inform his customers, he doesn’t want his stories to be shared and circulated widely. In fact, his ability to charge for the paywall is going to come down to his ability to lock the public out of the conversation convened by the Times.”

No one can say that we at debtonation lock anyone out of our conversations!  Yet.


2 thoughts on “Sharing intellectual capital with the FT”

  1. No one should be surprised about Murdoch trying to enclose everyone into his narrow domain. What Murdoch is doing this time around is bad enough, but everything he touches he turns to crap. Two examples: the Sunday Times under the editorship of Harold Evans was destroyed by Murdoch, and the editorial section of the WSJ has been described as rubbish. Both Paul Krugman and Michael Lewis, among others, have complained about the editorial section of the WSJ. Everyone who avidly read the Sunday Times misses the Insight Team’s analyses. Because the commons has been denigrated to such a devastating extent in recent years, Murdoch’s attitude is seen as unexceptionable and thought to be worth copying or seen as the only way out of a difficult economic situation.

    One issue surrounding Murdoch’s “vision” is that web documents and print documents are read quite differently, often by the same reader. But one way a printed paper could positively complement its online counterpart is to signal an analysis a la an Insight Team treatment in a forthcoming edition of the paper in its online edition to alert the reader both to its upcoming publication and to the fact that it will contain interesting content not to be found online. Of course, the analysis must be worth reading. Unfortunately, in Murdoch’s hands, it almost certainly won’t be.

    Another path would be to find a way to make the online edition pay without charging the average reader. Since knowledge is now more powerful than ever, this is the best way forward for society as a whole, however difficult it makes Murdoch’s goal of trying to gain control of the world’s newspapers and visual media, or reduce to impotence those not under his control, and this includes television in general and the BBC in particular. All are under threat because of the ubiquitously pernicious influence of this particular model, which Murdoch has made his own.

  2. larry brownstein

    It isn’t only Murdoch. As a consequence of the consistent denigration of the common weal over the past 30 years, organized power exercises more control than ever. Although he may be a bit over the top, Josh Silver has an interesting post on a potential future of the internet based on his view of the possible consequences of the impending Google-Verizon deal that complements Ann’s post. Unsurprisingly, Google appears to have attuned its views to the times.

    The general public has not often been effectively well organized. Is this no longer a viable option?

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