Record companies have found it almost impossible to control the distribution of music. The Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis is trying to tighten control of its news.
Local Associated Press boss Dave Pyle confirms that starting on Monday, the Star Tribune will restrict the use of AP stories that are rewritten from the Minneapolis newspaper. Currently, media organizations pay the Associated Press — a news cooperative — to use the stories of other news organizations. In exchange, the media organizations make their stories available, via AP, to other news sources. MPR is a member of the cooperative.
Starting Monday, no AP member broadcast news outlet within 30 miles of Minneapolis will be permitted to use Star Tribune material.
Pyle believes it’s an issue that springs primarily from the ability of Web sites owned by traditional media companies to use Star Tribune content.
It’s not a policy without risk, however. Although the Star Tribune clearly is the dominant news provider in the Twin Cities, there is value to the viral nature of distributing content based on Star Tribune reporting.
Similarly, if other stations and news outlets follow suit, and retaliate by prohibiting the use of their news content, it becomes more difficult for any news outlet to fill its pages at a time when original reporting staffs are being cut.
Can news organizations put a cork in the news bottle and control the distribution of their content in the digital age? Perhaps we should ask the record companies.