Thomson Reuters President of Media Chris Ahearn Does Not Mind Blogs

Posted Aug 8, 2009

The Chairman of The Associated Press said that he is “mad as hell” about those who “walk off with our work.”  Unlike The Associated Press, rival Thomson Reuters embraces blogs.  At least according Thomson Reuters’ President of the Media Group Chris Ahearn.

In a Reuters guest column written by Ahearn, the executive wrote: “To start, yes the global economy is fairly grim and the cyclical aspects of our business are biting extremely hard in the face of the structural changes. But the Internet isn?t killing the news business any more than TV killed radio or radio killed the newspaper. Incumbent business leaders in news haven?t been keeping up. Many leaders continue to help push the business into the ditch by wasting ‘resources’ (management speak for talented people) on recycling commodity news. Reader habits are changing and vertically curated views need to be meshed with horizontal read-around ones.”

I applaud Ahearn for embracing blogs.  The barriers to entry for online journalism are decreasing.  And the First Amendment backs them up.  Threatening to sue those that use the words of an Associated Press article may not be the best business strategy according to the Reuters exec.

“Blaming the new leaders or aggregators for disrupting the business of the old leaders, or saber-rattling and threatening to sue are not business strategies ? they are personal therapy sessions. Go ask a music executive how well it works.”

Ahearn said that a better approach to handling borrowing one another’s content is by giving credit where it is deserved.  When I quote from the Associated Press, I personally link to their articles and report that the AP deserves credit.  Does the AP always give credit back?  No.

Here is a news story about former Facebook application Scrabulous being renamed Wordscraper by the Associated Press.  Who broke the story?  Pulse2.  Who are the ones that gave us credit? Mashable and Ars Technica.  Who didn’t give us credit?  The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press.  Treat those how you would like to be treated, Associated Press.