The expression “rip and read” is used scornfully by print journalists who are annoyed to turn on their radios and hear one of their stories being read- after a possible light rewrite- by a radio news reader.
I was a radio news reader many years ago, possibly as punishment for sin in a previous life; or perhaps it was my listeners who were being punished.
At WUOM, the broadcasting service of the University of Michigan, we subscribed to an Associated Press wire that regularly scrolled out fifteen minute news summaries, five minute “splits,” and assorted features. We dutifully ripped and read, occasionally rewriting to suit our individual speech rhythms and providing segues between stories. We never lifted stories from Michigan newspapers and we paid the Associated Press for the content.
The modern equivalent of the worst of “rip and read” is the practice of commercial web sites (Huffington Post, for instance) using newspapers to provide their journalistic content. (For Free? I imagine so.) You know the drill...you click on the BIG HEADLINE and up pops the Washington Post or The NY Times. This practice is called “news aggregation,” and I’m not totally opposed to it. After all, that’s what most bloggers do although, we seldom make a buck at it.
There has to be a limit to it, however, or we’re going to be like the town in which everyone makes a living by taking in the other guy’s laundry.
This brings us at last to the TucsonCitizen.com, which will be modeled after the HufPo. In a recent post Mark Evans introduced a daily feature, his Top Ten News Digs...ten stories he thinks are particularly interesting and his comments on the stories.
I quite like the idea. We’ll get to know Evans, what his tastes and interests are and the stories he likes (or doesn’t.) We’ll look forward to his choices, or we won’t. If
his choices don’t ring our bells and whistles we’ll read elsewhere, or rant in the comments thread. If we go elsewhere in TucsonCitizen.com, or swell the comment thread, it’s more eyeballs for the site and better ad revenue for Gannett.
Now here’s my question: Did TucsonCitizen.com pay anyone for the stories he linked to? Seven of the links were to papers owned by Gannett: USA Today, and the Republic. Three stories were from the Arizona Daily Star. Perhaps the quotes from other Gannett papers were simply some sort of bookkeeping swap. I don’t know.
What about the Star stories? Did the Star make a buck or two?
And simply as a point of information I’d like to know if Gannett has a prior financial agreement with AP to link to any copyrighted AP story.