Facebook and Google should pay for the news. Just don’t forget about us, says independent media outlet


As Ottawa plans to pay Facebook and Google for journalism in Canada, independent media outlets want assurances that they will get a seat at the table and the money will go into creating journalism jobs.

The news business is struggling after losing large amounts of advertising revenue to Internet platforms, and the federal government has decided to step in with a plan to ensure that digital platforms are giving media organizations a share of their advertising revenue Huh.

The federal government’s plan has not been released, but Heritage Minister Steven Guilbult has indicated that it will be ready by summer.

Emma Gilchrist, editor-in-chief of The Nervals and chairman of Press Forward, an organization of independent news outlets, says she hopes the government’s plan helps spur innovation in the industry, not just established news outlets To prevail.

She also wants to ensure that the money does not only go to the largest news companies in Canada.

Gilchrist said that, on the one hand, she does not believe that “newspaper companies have a goddamn right to the advertising market,” but she feels that Facebook and Google “have the potential to contribute to a healthy news ecosystem.” Responsibility. “

However, Ottawa decided to ease that tension, Gilchrist said, requiring that social media companies’ money go to journalism jobs rather than to executives, or to encourage “clickbait” articles.

Gilchrist said, “There is a real risk that this type of policy, if not deliberately created, can drive the sports sector away from innovation,” and it can strengthen media ownership, which is a major part of media consumers’ Is a bad thing for “

Local and independent media companies have seen financial success with various models involving membership and membership.

In Calgary, The Spiral’s editor-in-chief Jeremy Clazus began publishing online in 2017 and has since grown to rely on more than 2,000 members, supporting his stated policy of “depth”, Not width. Context, not clickbit. “

Sprawl can be accessed by anyone, but it also asks readers to consider supporting it through a paid subscription.

Clazus said Sprael recently received a $ 135,000 (US) grant from Facebook through a journalism program run by the company.

He said he would support a move to pay platforms for journalism, as long as independents are involved and “not only advance the model of solicitation.”

Clazas said that the government should also expand existing government programs set up for journalism in recent years, like local journalism initiatives, which fund journalism jobs, and labor exemptions for media companies, which reporter salaries Support.

The platform has a global push to pay for news, with Australia being the most notable case. There a fight ensued between the government and Facebook and Google, which threatened to pull their services from the country.

Finally, an agreement was reached that would pay news organizations by platforms, and several high-profile deals were reached between social media companies and some of Australia’s largest media organizations, such as News Corp, owned by Rupert Murdoch and Seven West Media Is in

But for Gilchrist, the Australian example showed how the biggest players could be favored.

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“If Facebook and Google have the responsibility to help build a healthy news organization,” he said, “then the government, through whatever mechanisms they choose … should do so and ensure that The money should be distributed equally in all the news. Organizations, not just a select few. “

Gilchrist said the government could also set up an independent fund that pays for the digital platform and then distributed to media companies.

“I think it would be the best way to do this as opposed to a link tax,” she said.

Social media platforms and some independent media companies argue against having a “link tax” that forces the platform to pay for news articles that are often linked there, often with a headline, short blurb and photo with.

Some news organizations say that the advertisement shown next to these links generates revenue for the digital platform, with a piggyback on journalism without compensation.

The president of News Media Canada, John Hinds, a group that lobbied on behalf of news organizations, including Torstar, the company that owns the Toronto Star, said it wanted to see news organizations big and small on the table. Huh.

Hinds said one way to ensure that the digital platform is moving to cash journalism jobs is to measure compensation based on the content being put on the platform.

“It’s part of the reason we don’t like the idea of ​​money,” he said.

If a company just receives a check from a fund that pays into the platform, “who knows where it goes,” he said. But if remuneration through licensing is based on journalistic content on a platform, “it is very clear that it should be about journalism.”

“It can’t be about winners and losers,” Hinds said, “Our view is that market-based solutions – you must necessarily be compensated based on your contribution to the market.”

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