Why I believe in the link economy

By Reuters Staff
August 4, 2009

The following is a guest column by Chris Ahearn, President, Media at Thomson Reuters.

“Do unto others”

It’s a simple standard my mom taught me when I was a kid – yours probably taught it too. It isn’t always easy, but in business it’s a good guiding light if you don’t want your company to be evil.

Recently there has been a rising crescendo of finger-pointing, shrieking, braying and teeth-gnashing about the future of the news. In the last couple of weeks there have been many comments on the AP’s proposals, Attributor’s proposals, Ian Shapira’s story and fair use.

After some of the AP commentary, I posted a tweet directed at Jeff Jarvis that prompted some members in the community to ask me to be more outspoken, asking me to be blatant about it, to post a public statement. For those who know me, I usually don’t need to be asked.

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.

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.

A better approach is to have a general agreement among community members to treat others’ content, business and ideas with the same respect you would want them to treat yours.

If you are doing something that you would object to if others did it to you – stop. If you don’t want search engines linking to you, insert code to ban them.

I believe in the link economy. Please feel free to link to our stories — it adds value to all producers of content. I believe you should play fair and encourage your readers to read-around to what others are producing if you use it and find it interesting.

I don’t believe you could or should charge others for simply linking to your content. Appropriate excerpting and referencing are not only acceptable, but encouraged. If someone wants to create a business on the back of others’ original content, the parties should have a business relationship that benefits both.

Let’s stop whining and start having real conversations across party lines. Let’s get online publishers, search engines, aggregators, ad networks, and self-publishers (bloggers) in a virtual room and determine how we can all get along. I don’t believe any one of us should be the self-appointed Internet police; agreeing on a code of conduct and ethics is in everyone’s bestinterests.

Our news ecosystem is evolving and learning how it can be open, diverse, inclusive and effective. With all the new tools and capabilities we should be entering a new golden age of journalism – call it journalism 3.0. Let’s identify how we can birth it and agree what is “fair use” or “fair compensation” and have a conversation about how we can work together to fuel a vibrant, productive and trusted digital news industry. Let’s identify business models that are inclusive and that create a win-win relationship for all parties.

This is not code for some hidden agenda – it is an open call for collective problem solving. Let’s do it wiki-style and edit it in the public domain. Let’s define the code of conduct and ethics we would all like to operate under.

My suggestion is we start with “do unto others” as our guiding spirit – I bet it would make all of our mothers proud.

Post your comments below (good, bad or ugly) or send me an email. You can reach me directly at chris.ahearn@thomsonreuters.com or via twitter @cjahearn.

81 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Yes, I agree as well. I run a informative blog that deals with news and commentary on the banking, real estate and financial issues. Reuters among other news sources are my source for breaking stories. Because I didn’t create the content I do handle it in a “fair-use” way by always sourcing my material and linking back when appropriate which is usually always. By sourcing others content, taking excerpts and linking back, I believe I am not only adding to the discussion but giving value back to the news organization by linking and giving them prominence to my readers. Just because you can create a blog in 5 mins doesn’t mean you shouldn’t act like journalist.LJ Miehe

Chris,Its heartening to see you take a pragmatic approach to this debate. Two things are very clear- Link economy will continue to thrive with/without organizations onboard – the ones that fail to adopt it will slowly perish- Content producers need to make money or get something in return.Its about working together to figure what the return needs to be. I would encourage you to elaborate on what different options that you are willing to look at. A good number of aggregators are startups and hence money off the bat would be an issue.I do have thoughts/ideas around the same and would be happy to discuss the same with you. Lets connect on twitter – @arjunram.Kudos on a thoughtful post.Cheers!

This is why Reuters is likely to replace AP. AP alienates while Reuters collaborates: http://www.newsfuturist.com/2009/08/ap-a lienates-while-reuters-collaborates.html

Amen Chris.It is great to see such a sensible position–and I hope that Reuters now publishes stories with permanent URLs. (I haven’t checked).To your point about ‘appropriate commercial relationships’, as media de-verticalises, there will be roles for intermediaries and distributors and media companies need to come up with ways of slicing the pie that allow distributors to play fairly.The trouble is that the mental model has been about taking a good which can be super-distributed and make it rivalrous and excludable by layering IP rights over the top.Part of the brainstorm you refer to requires players to ask the question: ‘Given we can push this out ubiquitously at low cost, what kind of relationships do we have with our distributors that can benefit all of us’?Two final thoughts:A. Apture is very cool but the use of icons before terms breaks up the eyeline and I wonder whether from a basic usability standpoint those icons shouldn’t run after your twitter name, etcB. Why not use Disqus or Echo for your comments? I would like to tweet this comment and it isn’t easy.

Great initiative Chris. My response and some suggestions have been posted to my company blog: http://blog.newscred.com/?p=200

Good approach and I agree that the incumbent news industry is not about to just flip over and die. It is, however, standing to make a lot less money than it used to (which is true for all industrial media segments). The fact of the matter is that in the age of the Internet any piece of content will sooner or later get digitized and distributed on the net. Content-owners are not going to be in control over this – not through technology and not through legal means. Hence the business of selling copies of content is far less viable – it may persist in some market, but will dwindle in the consumer market.

Posted by Igor | Report as abusive

Great to see Reuters doing this. It would be interesting if you could clarify what you mean by this, though:”If someone wants to create a business on the back of others’ original content, the parties should have a business relationship that benefits both.”It sounds like Google News and similar services to me.

It’s good to know some organizations get it, if it weren’t for Google or Yahoo I’d probably never read any ap stories, especially the ones that are just rehashed press releases from the originating company.

[...] Reuters digital boss Chris Ahearn stands up in favor of the link economy (as opposed to someone else we know). It’s sensible talk and he [...]

“Once you open a can of worms, the only way to recan them is to use a larger can.” — Zymurgy’s First Law of Evolving System DynamicsThe can is open, and AP can attempt to cling to their outdated models all they want. We’ll happily watch them squirm and die.

Posted by TSO | Report as abusive

[...] Blogs: From Chris Ahearn, President, Media at Thomson Reuters. Why I believe in the link economy. var addthis_pub = ‘benjaminjtaylor’; var addthis_language = ‘en’;var addthis_options = [...]

[...] Reuters Blogs: From Chris Ahearn, President, Media at Thomson Reuters. Why I believe in the link economy. [...]

[...] President, Media at Thomson Reuters, has taken us up on the offer, writing a nice little manifesto: Why I believe in the link economy. And, of course, helping to prove that, he linked to a bunch of other sites — including our [...]

[...] MediaFile » Blog Archive » Why I believe in the link economy | Blogs | [...]

[...] von Konstantin Klein am 6. August 2009 I believe in the link economy. Please feel free to link to our stories — it adds value to all producers of content. I believe you should play fair and encourage your readers to read-around to what others are producing if you use it and find it interesting. Chris Ahearn, President, Media bei Thomson Reuters, via blogs.reuters.com [...]

[...] Why I believe in the link economy Nice to see someone in the mainstream media talking sense. Go Reuters. (tags: Reuters news media) [...]

You may be interested to read “On the Web, It’s Freedom 2, Publishing 0″:http://gaggle.info/post/141/on-the-we b-its-freedom-2-publishing-0:) nmw

[...] in a blog post titled “Why I believe in the link economy,” Chris goes further, writing “Let’s stop whining and start having real [...]

Chris,Encouraging to hear a voice promoting collaboration to improve the status quo instead of defending “what is.”Bloggers, news aggregators, and traditional media all have opportunity to create new value for consumers and thus new revenues and profits.We are passionate about the value of creativity. Our economy has suffered by a lack of creativity. One reason is the marketplace has pushed all the risk on the creators.To “spread the risk” of creating, the market needs a 1 click transaction system that rewards quality content, media that inspires responsive audiences, and audience participation with integrity.There are multiple ways Reuters may benefit from this kind of system. Ranging from the revenues generated from licensing its content to the new prospective content that could emerge from independent creators who would be enabled financially by a transaction system that connects quality content supply with the demand for it.Consumers are demonstrating they will pay. Consumer purchases for media surpassed ad revenues in importance to communication revenues in 2004 (VSS). HBO, Showtime, et al are enjoying record subscription levels and profits.Once a transaction system exists, creators and technology companies can focus on how to compete for those revenues.More here: http://twurl.nl/nmtzrjSincerely,Katherin e Warman Kernkatherine (at) comradity.com

[...] been missed by Chris Ahearn, President of Media at AP rival Thomson Reuters. This week he responded with a blog post comparing AP to the lawsuit-happy music industry, saying that the incumbents “haven’t been [...]

Finally someone with a brain!! Great article!

[...] wrote a piece on a Reuters blog (Via SIA), calling for publishers, bloggers, aggregators, search engines and ad networks to get [...]

[...] wrote a piece on a Reuters blog (Via SIA), calling for publishers, bloggers, aggregators, search engines and ad networks to get [...]

Wow, good stuff. This “it is an open call for collective problem solving. Let’s do it wiki-style and edit it in the public domain.” especially. Glad you are one of us here at TR.

Posted by JGK | Report as abusive

Thank you for the level-headed analysis. All of the shouting and finger-pointing gets so tiresome.

Posted by Adam | Report as abusive

You are right on. An old salesman told me, “It’s only a good deal if both parties benefit.”That advice goes for life as well as for web news and content. Keep up the good work.

As soon as I saw the Murdoch wants to start charging, I just thought I won’t be reading anything he owns. When the NYT started charging online, I stopped reading anything there, and now that they stopped that, I have no interest in them now, they lost me for good.My habit changed and I found other, better places to get news. I believe most people online like me will do the same.

Bravo!

Posted by Tim | Report as abusive

People want to voice concerns and opinions to mold their environment. The news is only part of that. One glance at the “OPED” section of the newspaper reveals how inadequate that is for giving people a true forum. Newspapers should have a section called “Message Board” which would charge someone a minimal fee to post on a particular subject. The posts are screened and published in the newspaper. Now that would sell along with small Google-type ads next to the posts. Come on! JR

Posted by Jolly Rancher | Report as abusive

Good ideas. The minute any news website starts to charge, I will not view and will look for others that do not. Our local city/metro newspaper changed to 3/4 digital subscrip. and only deliver 3x a week. I stopped my subscription.

Posted by Nancy | Report as abusive

As an internet news junkie I want to thank you for your position on this matter, which is very important to me.

Posted by LMGordon | Report as abusive

Wow. I’m one of those readers. I am so impressed with your words that I am still sitting here bemused. I may link to your article and send that around in email to all my contacts just to say that there is hope in today’s world. Integrity and Honesty and basic courtesy hasn’t vanished. There are others practicing it out there.May God Bless you and your business.

Posted by dort | Report as abusive

I too changed where I got my news when some of the websites started charging for content. I read much more widely now, and that’s a good thing. Keep it up Reuters…my new homepage

Posted by Alan Montgomery | Report as abusive

Thank you. Some people, fearing change, cling to the past and old, familiar ways. The paradigm has shifted whether those dinosaurs care to acknowledge it or not. Time to adapt, New York Times. Now, if Reuters could up the culinary content and hire some more freelancers…

If you want to sell news keep it honest. Keep the bias out of it and leave the liberal and conservative slants to the op-ed pages.I really go out of my way to avoid newspapers and news sites for this reason. If I’m not reading them for free what makes them think I’ll pay to read them?

Posted by The Kentuckian | Report as abusive

It seems to me Murdoch has blended the lines between entertainment and news so well he now wants to be paid as an entertainer-the thing is it isn’t that good. For free, okay, I take look. Charge me and I will readily go elsewhere. The point is most citizens already know our media has a blackout to real info. and good journalism. The stories are weak and divulge no depth or truth, why would I pay for it? Murdoch, your stuff isn’t that good-thank you Reuters (for now) keeping the status quo-now how about real news stories, too! When WSJ wouldn’t let me read there article off I went…your loss.

Posted by Lindsey | Report as abusive

On the whole bloggers help the trad media, we link to their stories, most bloggers are not a business just an interest in a subject. A good article will now start to link to reuters, was not sure of your policy when it came to bloggers, but it seems the bosses at Retuerns know we are in the 21 century, Excellent Article.

Simply put those who choose to impose nazi style authority on the internet will find themselves ignored and there business in decay. In order to succeed news companies need to embrace the internet and determine how to use its strengths to profit. I know only a few people who pay for internet content and those individuals usually limit it to something they are quite interested in or emphatic about. Perhaps in a similar light news companies should try charging people for radio airtime. Wait they did that sattelite radio and it is falling on its face.. Sirius and XM have merged and their combined stock is worth 50 cents a share. Good luck to the companies commiting corporate hari kari and bravo to Reuters.

Posted by Sid | Report as abusive

I couldn’t agree more with Linda. I had the same experience with the NYT. I will never pay Rupert for his news. Notice the ads on the top & side of this page. The more people that visit the site, the more money Reuters make. Rupert should remember that the cost of a newspaper covered the actual printing & distribution. Advertising is what made the profit for his papers. Create sites people want to visit by providing news without a slant.

Posted by John Ernst | Report as abusive

Finally a business man with common sense. The reason some of the other news sources are losing readership therefore profits is simple. They have lost the ability to publish sound news and investigative reports. Rather than present the facts they engage in slanted, biased piffle that insults the intelligence of their readers. I did not buy the ploy when it was free and I certainly will not spend money to read any more of it. I have always liked Reuters because they maintain a level of competence that the others have lost. Linking stories to spread the content provides credit to the originator as is their due while furthering the spread of information which is the intent of publishing in the first place. All benefit from the result.

Posted by Peggy | Report as abusive

[...] Ahearn, Thomson Reuters, to AP on banning links: Go ask a music executive how well it works; http://tr.im/vKTE [...]

[...] responds to AP’s deranged attempt to charge up to $2.50 a word for content. Blaming the new leaders or aggregators for disrupting the business of the old leaders, or saber-rattling and threatening to [...]

Absolutely Brilliant, Reuters has always been a world class provider of quality unbiased news. It is heartening to note innovation is another attribute they can add to their resume’

FOX = BIAS = RIPOFF It’s good that you will allow people to link to your stories. You will survive for a very long time. Fox is all about bias and money, more bias and money, and control. They don’t believe in fairness although they claim to. Just watch them on TV -everything that they do is biased. And now they want to charge you to tell you what they think. People wake up, don’t do it. Advertisers pay them enough money.

Posted by Tazil Black III | Report as abusive

Refreshing to hear from someone in the news media who gets. So many are stuck in the past and refuse to adapt to the way communications and media work today.Face it, the news organizations that embrace the Internet and search will thrive. Those who still think the news business is supposed to work the way it did 30 years ago will fail.

I will NOT pay for any of greedy Rupert Murdoch’s enterprises. I won’t miss Fox as I’ve already banned it from my bookmarks because of its sleazy front page tabloidism. Actually, Murdoch has done me a favor by identifying up front all the “news” sites he owns–it will simplify my ignoring them.

Posted by S Shannon | Report as abusive

I won’t be reading any news from Murdoch’s news outlets if he goes through with his plans to charge internet users to read the news. I’ll miss the SUN and all of his other trashy papers too, NOT!I wonder when he is going to trash up the WSJ?

Posted by Bubba B | Report as abusive

excellent piece and approach! As someone that works for a major music conglomerate. not only was the comparison dead on. the record labels are now the enemy. it will be interesting to see if major media learns the history lesson of major music. it’s sink or swim time. :)

Posted by nick | Report as abusive

[...] MediaFile » Blog Archive » Why I believe in the link economy | Blogs |. Share and [...]

I have been using the Internet since the early 1990s, when you had to compile Mosaic to have a browser, and am a global news junkie. Reuters is the site for well balanced view of news occurring around the world at any given time. 99.9% of the time, no politics, no spin, no bull and it is very hard to get that from any organization. There are billions of web pages and tens of millions of sites but there are less than five places on the Internet that one can go to and get the type of information Reuters gives to visitors, without a fee.I know it is a balancing act some days, but if I had any suggestions they would be: There can never be too much information. The content of each story could be longer and more in depth. You could increase the number of stories. You could increase the turnover/rotation of information.I think it is time to reach out and try to make partners for carrying content. Reach out to all of those recently laid off writers and editors! They are valuable resources for local news, and hard hitting writing, and if you could get some of them to participate on Reuters once in a while it would be win-win. Above all, maintain the balance. Truth carries no affiliation to right, left, conservative, or liberal.Hang in there for all it is worth! In the end, if there is just one place for news on the Internet and it is Reuters, we all win.Thanks!

Posted by Thomas | Report as abusive

I think it would be a great thing if both sides could come together and work it out. I also think it would be great if we could solve global warming too.There is no way these two sides could agree. One side has a valid point: it costs money to report the news and it costs even more money to report well and cover production. They are a business, just like any other, and they are there to make a profit.The other side is right as well. Who would want to pay for something that is/has been abundantly free? In a world so connected, news does not travel soley through the news channels as it once did. There would be no way to police the number of people sharing information through all our varied modules of communication. What would be the going rate for a tweet? A text message? A comment on a message board?Some might pay for a service, but I do not believe that the numbers will justify the course.I believe Vivian Schiller, former GM of NYtimes.com, had it right, describing the pay-for-news idea as a “mass delusion.”If you don’t believe it, like Mr. Ahearn said, just ask a record executive. Ask them how much money they have lost to the likes of napster and kazaa. Albums sales are down and file sharing sites are on the rise.It would be great for us all to come together and decide to play nice, but it just doesn’t work that way. It is naive to think otherwise. It is unfortunate, but it is the truth.I think one way to combat this would be for news sites to offer their “product” in a way that they could not get it anywhere else with an unmatched convenience. Perhaps a way to let the users personalize their options, a la IGoogle.It’s not much, but it would be a start.

Posted by Lucy | Report as abusive

Right on, right on…In my business, I treat most customers as family and they keep coming through the door. Let’s see…that COULD be called traffic, the keep coming through the door thing? The “traffic” keeps the cash register bell ringing. DING DING DING…we have a winner! Imagine that, customer service with a “CARING” smile! That is a difficult concept for corporate America aka the scheming scrooges of capitalism who get their exercise jumping to conclusions, running each other down, stabbing their customers in the back, etc., etc., you know the drill. The Walmart founder knew a thing or two about customer service…you know, the company with the smiley face and greeters at the door? Wally World has drifted in the wrong direction in some cases and if they don’t steer the ship in the right direction, they could lose the wind in their sails, founder and sink beneath the waves. They need to honor their original Captain’s mottos and policies lest they find themselves in the watery graveyard of scrooge driven wrecks!

Posted by ETA | Report as abusive

[...] is not lost.  There is some hope for big media.  Reuters president, Chris Ahearn, believes in the link economy.  Read it while cutting off your nose to spite your face, Associated Press. … yes the global [...]

nice job

[...] vez foi a Reuters: Our news ecosystem is evolving and learning how it can be open, diverse, inclusive and effective. [...]

How dare you address this issue in a calm, rationale manner beneficial to both creators and readers of news!? I have become desensitized to coherent thought by embracing the sensationalized biased slant of most media outlets (*cough*FOX*cough*).People should have the opportunity to shop around for real news if they cant get the straight story from a single source. I applaud your efforts to keep your links and content available.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

Wonderful article, and I’m happy (as a blogger as well as a consumer of internet news stories) to see that Reuters is not interested in joining Rupert Murdoch in his bid to charge for news.Murdoch commented that “quality reporting is not cheap”. Unfortnately, I’m not sure he’d know “quality reporting” if it bit him in the backside. News reporters have gotten so used to just taking the press releases from government officials and businesses and advertising them as “news” instead of doing a bit of investigative journalism themselves that there is no such thing as “quality journalism” anymore.

Thank-you. This is a very well thought out answer and solution to the problems the news is facing.Also, in response to the person who pointed the finger at Fox News, I would add CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Wall Street Post, LA Times, …. do I need to go on.. No, the truth is..if anyone is relying on one source for news (biased in either direction) then please don’t consider yourself well informed.

Posted by Katherine | Report as abusive

The quote “Do unto others” doesn’t mean anything. I’m so tired of seeing and hearing people too lazy to write or say the entire quote. At least quote it this way “Do unto others…” to indicate that you know there’s more to it. Anything less just makes the writer/speaker appear ignorant.

Posted by Maggie McIntyre | Report as abusive

[...] Link to Reuters [...]

[...] pages are the banks of the link economy, and some media companies are certain to see in Google’s latest move something akin to a [...]

[...] been missed by Chris Ahearn, President of Media at AP rival Thomson Reuters. This week he responded with a blog post comparing AP to the lawsuit-happy music industry, saying that the incumbents “haven’t been [...]

Great article. I’m not happy with Murdoch’s announcement as I really enjoy Fox News (the only news outlet daring to be critical of Obama) and I feel that paying for news is a devolution, whereas this article’s point embraces the evolution of the news industry.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

[...] • Concerning Today’s Twitter Meltdown: Twitter – Mashable – Reuters • Reuters on moves to restrict online news: “I believe in the link economy. Please feel free to link to our stories…” [...]

[...] OUR STUFF: Speaking of the Dinosaurs… looks like Reuters is starting to learn. But frankly, I’ll belive it when I see them not responding to links and quotes with [...]

Bravo. It’s SO REFRESHING to read this. Thank you.

I don’t get Murdoch..I get some of my best news of the USA internationally..Rupert, it is called the World Wide Web? You may want to think about selling a few of those corporate extras you have laying around..I think your gonna need the bucks.

Posted by Sandori VonRoth | Report as abusive

[...] Ahearn, President at Thomas Reuters, on the Reuters Blog: “If you are doing something that you would object to if others did it to you – stop . . . [...]

[...] of Reuters Media, fired back at the A.P. and came out as a proud member of the Link Lovers: “I believe in the link economy.” The Internet isn’t killing the news business any more than TV killed radio or radio [...]

[...] President, Media at Thomson Reuters, has taken us up on the offer, writing a nice little manifesto: Why I believe in the link economy. And, of course, helping to prove that, he linked to a bunch of other sites — including our [...]

If I wanted to get Obama’s take on all the news, why would I link to Reuters or the AP? Wouldn’t it just be easier and quicker to read the Whitehouse website?

Posted by schoendog | Report as abusive

Dear Reuters:Why would we want to link to Reuters when we can get your talking points from the DNC and Obama each day?Journalism is dead in the US except possibly at the Wall Street Journal. It is very sad.

Posted by walter | Report as abusive

Sure, why not!?! Give it away I say! The jobs too. Your idealism is foolish and it is killing a faction of four society. The most important one that separates your ideas from others; from formal functional pragmatic logical societies to ones that governmets oppress. The right to own something! Ownership rights, property rights are what makes a society legally possible and politically possible. Right now the internet is the 1890′s in it’s structure. Murdoch is dead on correct. No question. It’s an absolute. Piece by piece this backwards mindset is infesting what has taken a century to build. The internet is a fantastic mode with so many applications. It should mirror the tangiable world. How can it be free? This is not a game.

Posted by Jack Turnbull | Report as abusive

Anytime, particularly in business-time, someone inserts honest values into anything it tends toward a good ending. I think that the golden rule is especially timely in todays world of he said, she did, lawsuit dystopia. A popular image is exactly that, popular. The more someone attempts to control their image, the more the situation is frustrated both inside and out. In terms of news and production of content, I agree that there is a need to recoup cost, especially when you are such a heavy lifter, as is Newscorp. Similarly, with the growing intelligence of consumers and thus related the lagging ad revenue, which I also consider blow back from pirate salesmanship and recession spending, companies need reliable income streams. Another factor that must be understood is more political. Fox News is on of the only outlets which is honestly reporting on the actions of the liberal Obama administration. While the political leanings of an individual may blind them the truthfullness of said content, it has regardless created a new industry of conservative consumers who are certainly willing to pay for honest news reporting as opposed to “state-run” media which fawns and puffs the “magic negro” so to speak. The cult of personality can only last so long, whether it is Jackson or Obama or whoever and the tides, they are a changing. What the media creates, as is the case in my humble opinion with Obama, it can also destroy and the likes of Fox News are making a killing at it. One need only look at someone the likes of Palin to understand this phenomenon where the media effectively gasped in delight for a whole two days when she was thrown into the spotlight, and has since been on a rabid feeding frenzy. Does anyone even know what exactly it is that so many people hate about this woman. She “stupid” right? Well, what kind of news is that anyway? Fox News has the American dream, and capitalism on its side. I see it making a lot of money regardless of it’s charge for news or not. The fact that Reuters is here promoting an honest, traditional value, should be a similar lesson of what’s good, and what’s bad.-DjacK

re: Maggie McIntyreI think you are correct – I should have expressed the sentiment with … at the end or used the complete phrase. Thanks for pointing it out

Posted by Chris Ahearn | Report as abusive

[...] Why I believe in the link economy Recently there has been a rising crescendo of finger-pointing, shrieking, braying and teeth-gnashing about the future of the news. In the last couple of weeks there have been many comments on the AP’s proposals, Attributor’s proposals, Ian Shapira’s story and fair use. [...]

In business as in life, “the more the merrier” is the most profitable! Murdock is cutting of his nose to spite his face. The more clicks, the move valuable the advertising in net-world. For some greedy creeps that is not enough…so they will end up with little.

Posted by Sara | Report as abusive

I’m glad someone gets it.

Posted by earls | Report as abusive

It’s a good story, but Reuters never bothers linking out to anyone else…it’s always, “as reported by WSJ” or “according to Blog X.” Yes they attribute, but they don’t link to the source.When MSM links out to smaller websites and blogs, then we’ll be getting somewhere…

Posted by Colin | Report as abusive

If only the U.S.congress could agree to live by the same rules and laws they create.”Do unto others”!!!

Posted by DK | Report as abusive

[...] been missed by Chris Ahearn, President of Media at AP rival Thomson Reuters. This week he responded with a blog post comparing AP to the lawsuit-happy music industry, saying that the incumbents “haven’t been [...]

[...] been missed by Chris Ahearn, President of Media at AP rival Thomson Reuters. This week he responded with a blog post comparing AP to the lawsuit-happy music industry, saying that the incumbents “haven’t been [...]

[...] you get people at Reuters Financial, saying on their blog that they are happy people are linking to them and they are making plenty of [...]

Mr. Ahearn, you get it!I will now link to a Reuters story rather than an AP story.

Posted by Jonno | Report as abusive

[...] Why I believe in the link economy Reuters MediaFile | August 4, 2009 Chris Aheam, President of Media at Thomson Reuters says: “I don’t believe you could or should charge others for simply linking to your content. Appropriate excerpting and referencing are not only acceptable, but encouraged. If someone wants to create a business on the back of others’ original content, the parties should have a business relationship that benefits both.” [...]

[...] you, Reuters, you understand, or at least you understand you don’t really have a choice. Read the excerpts that Reuters are [...]

[...] MediaFile » Blog Archive » Why I believe in the link economy | Blogs |blogs.reuters.com [...]

[...] other news about the pathetic state of the news, a Reuters exec has given the Associated Press a richly deserved smackdown for their BS whining about link sharing. Murdoch is on track to start charging for all News Corp [...]

[...] MediaFile » Blog Archive » Why I believe in the link economy | Blogs | [...]

[...] Why I believe in the link economy – Chris Ahearn, President, Media at Thomson Reuters 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. [...]

[...] Thankfully, Reuters isn’t that stupid. They encourage people to link, quote and blog their content. [...]

Two thoughts. First, I agree that digitization of any information has the potential to be widely disseminated at little to no cost to the consumer. Whether it’s top secret material released illegally or music, once digitized there is risk of this occurring. A new way of researching, reporting and distributing news must be found because none of the current models are working.I believe the primary issue will be the desire for income by all parties involved in making the information available and demonstrated resistance by consumers to pay. There will be any number of political issues – new definitions of roles that may be evolving, ethics and attribution to name a few – that will arise. But I think they will be background for the battle over money.It’s only right that the people who devote their time and talent to collect and report the news should be compensated. But I keep reading the same weary line about advertising dollars or paid subscription models as the only income options. We don’t want the government to dictate the news so maybe those of us who want, need, desire, and must have reliable news need to find a way to pay as much as the news providers need to find a way and someone to charge. This isn’t optional – if we want news we are going to have to pay for it one way or another.Which brings me to my second point. How does Reuters survive during this time? I admit to knowing nothing about the company’s business model. But I suspect they are not immune to the same financial issues plaguing many information companies. I applaud their encouragement of linking and excerpting their product and I understand that the links increase income from ads but is it enough? Or is Reuters so well-situated that current income isn’t a concern? It sounds like Reuters is riding in on a white horse but I long ago learned that it’s not the color of the horse or the hat, it’s the soundness of the heart that matters.Ahearn’s comments are the first I’ve found from someone taking a broad view of new terrain and suggesting a meeting of all the players or their representatives before deciding how to proceed. It is essential that this happen soon because reliable news is critical.The old foundation is crumbling fast; I hope that a better foundation will replace it, soon.

Posted by Dulcimera | Report as abusive

[...] MediaFile » Blog Archive » Why I believe in the link economy | Blogs | [...]

[...] been missed by Chris Ahearn, President of Media at AP rival Thomson Reuters. This week he responded with a blog post comparing AP to the lawsuit-happy music industry, saying that the incumbents “haven’t been [...]

[...] CEO is going at online content distribution just like the AP…but the exact opposite. “I believe in the link economy.” Great [...]

[...] is carrying an enlightened column titled “Why I believe in the link economy” by Chris Ahearn, President, Media at Thomson Reuters. On a day when Murdoch is promising to lock down his online newspaper sites by charging for them, [...]

[...] MediaFile » Blog Archive » Why I believe in the link economy | Blogs | From the chief of Reuters, Chris Ahearne [...]

[...] wrote a piece on a Reuters blog (Via SIA), calling for publishers, bloggers, aggregators, search engines and ad networks to get [...]

[...] don’t want to get all apocalyptic and say the AP is dead, but … this post from Reuters basically means that the AP is dead. Here’s the salient part: I don’t believe you could or [...]

[...]  Reuters MediaFile blog is carrying a column by Chris Ahearn, President of Media entitled, “Why I believe in the link economy.”  Some points he makes are that if you link and attribute, he has no complaint, and [...]

[...] Chris Ahearn, President, Media at Thomson Reuters [...]

[...] been missed by Chris Ahearn, President of Media at AP rival Thomson Reuters. This week he responded with a blog post comparing AP to the lawsuit-happy music industry, saying that the incumbents “haven’t been [...]

[...] been missed by Chris Ahearn, President of Media at AP rival Thomson Reuters. This week he responded with a blog post comparing AP to the lawsuit-happy music industry, saying that the incumbents “haven’t been [...]

[...] wrote a piece on a Reuters blog (Via SIA), calling for publishers, bloggers, aggregators, search engines and ad networks to get [...]

[...] boss Chris Ahearn concurs and goes even further: To start, yes the global economy is fairly grim and the cyclical aspects of our business are [...]

Nice words, Chris, but have you figured out how to actually make any money for Reuters in this new link economy? Or is running a business that actually makes money an “old economy” concept? I guess as long as you make money for yourself and bloggers like you . . . .

Posted by EK | Report as abusive

[...] unlikely ally. Chris Aheam, the President of Reuters Thompson, has written a column called “Why I believe in the Link Economy,” where he explains how Reuters will embrace opportunities created by the internet, rather [...]

There seems to be a lot of talk that is more about self preservation taking place with the lament by mainstream journalists when they discuss the decline of news profitability and need to preserve good journalism.On the other hand, the internet has opened up a whole barrage of would be journalists who rarely get opportunities within the mainstream media now able to express their point of view.Journalism has two facets. The reporting of news and the publication of opinion.Anyone and everyone has an opinion. There is nothing to say only the opinion of those employed in the mainstream is of value while the rest is not. The internet has become the great equalizer. Opinion makers are now a dime a dozen, as it should be.

Posted by Rasmuncher | Report as abusive

[...] Why I believe in the Link Economy (reuters.com). We have a linking policy here at Boing Boing, by the way. [...]

At this point, I completely agree with your concept of “link economy.” However, it was the news media that killed itself by going completely free online. Google became a $20 billion company on the back of news media shrinking by $20 billion.

[...] is carrying an enlightened column titled “Why I believe in the link economy” by Chris Ahearn, President, Media at Thomson Reuters. On a day when Murdoch is promising to lock down his online newspaper sites by charging for them, [...]

[...] 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 [...]

The first rule of winning in a conflict is to get the other side to “talk” as much as you can. Chris is obviously well trained. What I don’t hear are his specific ideas for what will work. No ideas? Seriously? Really? Not likely. He’s just waiting to be able to present them in the most favorable light. This isn’t a conversation starter. It’s a political gambit.

Posted by no | Report as abusive

[...] MediaFile » Blog Archive » Why I believe in the link economy | Blogs | [...]

Thanks for your comments. I hope they prevail in the industry. Those of us who run collector sites are not looking to “steal” anyone’s content. If anything, I think we help drive more people to the source site. I try to use other collectors like Daily Beast and Huff Post, but if I want to share an interesting article from somewhere else, I always attribute where it came from. I will start looking at Reuters much more often from now on. Thanks!

[...] wrote a piece on a Reuters blog (Via SIA), calling for publishers, bloggers, aggregators, search engines and ad networks to get [...]

[...] wrote a piece on a Reuters blog (Via SIA), calling for publishers, bloggers, aggregators, search engines and ad networks to get [...]

[...] of those competitors is Chris Ahearn, President of Media at Thomson Reuter. In a blog piece at Reuters earlier this week, Ahearn [...]

[...] Here’s the famous blog post where Chris Ahearn “believes” in “the link economy.” I don’t see where belief has ever been a part of economics… http://blogs.reuters.com/mediafile/2009/ 08/04/why-i-believe-in-the-link-economy/  [...]

[...] has elaborated on his “alternative” in a blog post, writing that too many traditional media organizations waste manpower “recycling commodity [...]

[...] a guest column on the Reuters website, President of Media at Thomson Reuters, Chris Ahearn has told readers that [...]

[...] prompted by this and this in response to this and this, I feel obligated to suggest one way for you all can make money off of your content without being [...]

[...] has elaborated on his "alternative" in a blog post, writing that too many traditional media organizations waste manpower "recycling commodity [...]

[...] And for the full article from Reuters: blogs.reuters.com/mediafile/2009/08/04/w hy-i-believe-in-the-link-economy/ [...]

I agree totally, it should be a way that we can help each other in the New Age Digital marketplace, as Print is almost gone what is AP going to do when the Bloggers, are the number one source for information. People are spending around 85% of their free time in front of, you guess it, a computer not a television, and surely not reading some printed paper!With various organizations with Blogs, RSS Feeds, and content agreements open enough for the small players to build upon it only helps the overall community to have the content in various sources with what is know as a pingback, or comment pingback, so that the community has further reach and more comments on the news, opinions that matter, opinions that would not normally be seen or heard other than the Internet.Thank you so much for your article I feel inspired now that someone in the industry actually is coming into the 21st Century instead of staying in the 18th…..

Posted by Rodney Payne | Report as abusive

What a sensible attitude! I’m bookmarking your news site, so if I refer to a current event I can link to somebody who’ll appreciate the traffic.(See how this works, AP? I would never have thought to distinguish between news sources if you hadn’t started this. And so what if I’m just a little fish? Enough of us doing the same thing can have a big effect!)

[...] wrote a piece on a Reuters blog (Via SIA), calling for publishers, bloggers, aggregators, search engines and ad networks to get [...]

[...] ist. Das geistige Eigentum ist nicht das Problem – wer klug ist als Verlagsmensch liest dies hier zum Thema. Es sind die Adepten der Religion des Codes namens Schrift oder Zahl. Die sind etwas [...]

Chris Ahearn’s view fits hand and glove with the Hiawatha Triad proposal for Website 3.0, using the MIT Collaboratorium and linking Sustainable Local Enterprise networks to elevate the less economically advantaged. Another year or so and it might be worth some column inches.

[...] Why I believe in the link economy | MediaFile: Chris Ahearn, who’s President, Media at Thomson Reuters, provides an interesting counterpoint to Associated Press’ aggressive anti-linking views. [...]

[...] wrote a piece on a Reuters blog (Via SIA), calling for publishers, bloggers, aggregators, search engines and ad networks to get [...]

[...] wrote a piece on a Reuters blog (Via SIA), calling for publishers, bloggers, aggregators, search engines and ad networks to get [...]

[...] Chris Ahearn, President, Media at Thomson Reuters, has been watching and learning: 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. [...]

get em!

Posted by ccluskin | Report as abusive

[...] oder offene globale Attacken zu fahren: Das Urheberrecht und seine Vermarktung im Netz. Reuters versteht die neue Welt schon, vielleicht auch bald andere [...]

[...] wrote a piece on a Reuters blog (Via SIA), calling for publishers, bloggers, aggregators, search engines and ad networks to get [...]

[...] MediaFile » Why I believe in the link economy [...]

It’s common courtesy amongst journalists to cite a source (“According to a report in Reuters…”). The web further extends the courtesy by being able to link to the source, so people can get the background and the “content creator” gets an extra reader.The only real issue I can see is with the extent of the quoting. But that is already covered by jurisprudence.

“But the Internet isn’t killing the news business any more than TV killed radio or radio killed the newspaper. “That’s what I say. I use Michael Jackson as an example. TV didn’t kill his music, it made him a star.You can either stay with the old “news” model and get left behind, or change with the times and move forward.

I’m a former print journalist turned blogger who often writes about poliotics and world events. The Associated Press’ new litigious attitude toward the online use of its content is as wrong-headed as that of the recording industry toward online music file sharers.I, for one, am certainly appreciative of Reuters’ more realistic approach to online media. Indeed, my blog articles — which are syndicated by BlogBurst and Newstex — often appear verbatim on Reuters’ own Web site, even when they contain Reuters material (always accompanied, of course, with the proper attibution credit).

[...] Reuters gets it right when it comes to responsible bloggers and the sharing/disseminating of the new… “Do unto others” It’s a simple standard my mom taught me when I was a kid – yours probably taught it too. It isn’t always easy, but in business it’s a good guiding light if you don’t want your company to be evil. Recently there has been a rising crescendo of finger-pointing, shrieking, braying and teeth-gnashing about the future of the news. In the last couple of weeks there have been many comments on the AP’s proposals, Attributor’s proposals, Ian Shapira’s story and fair use. [...]

[...] leader of a major news service proclaimed his support of hyperlinking on the Web.  Chris Ahearn, president of media at Thompson Reuters, published an editorial celebrating the [...]

[...] Chris Ahearn, Thomson Reuters [...]

Long live Reuters !

[...] In all the comments about paid content for newspapers, and the silly proposal by the Associated Press to charge bloggers who use as few as five words of an AP story, here’s a breath of fresh air. [...]

[...] de golpe aparecen tipos como Chris Ahearn, Presidente de Medios en Reuters que son capaces de mirar a la industria y decir (desde…: “Yo creo en la economía de los links… Yo creo que se debe jugar de forma sana y [...]

yeah, who are you with, the NWO or the people. the NWO won’t save you. i am referring specifically to the attempts by google to subdue or eliminate viral information that is “inconvenient” to the NWO.whatever is happening on this planet earth must be dealt with holistically. we are lurching towards some change-point coming very fast. steven jobs managed to bridge the past and future at apple. it’s a wide-open future and it seems the dindosaur forces have had their day.

Posted by tom paine | Report as abusive

[...] directly at chris.ahearn@thomsonreuters.com or via twitter @cjahearn.SOURCE (you can comment there) reuters.com* nice to see somebody that makes sense for a change. [...]

[...] me, the current debate about the “Link Economy” in content terms is [...]

Way to go Reuters. Thank you!

Posted by Sunseeker | Report as abusive

[...] directly at chris.ahearn@thomsonreuters.com or via twitter @cjahearn.SOURCE (you can comment there) reuters.com* nice to see somebody that makes sense for a change. [...]

[...] Please feel free to link to our stories: Reuters – [...]

[...] want to see a genuine bright spot, read this Aug. 4 commentary by Reuters president Chris Ahearne: Why I believe in the Link Economy. He wrote: “I believe in the link economy. Please feel free to link to our stories — it [...]

[...] Journal have starting swinging back at “parasites” like Google News, other news organizations like Reuters have embraced the “link economy” and the traffic sent along by bloggers and other aggregators. The argument seems to have swayed in [...]

Actually, any attempt by established media to enforce “rights” and charge for links to them is hilarious, and just shows how out of touch they are. Its partly American-led thinking, where a powerful but bankrupted country is doing all it can to retain power and control, and labelling that as “freedom”, as if they own the term. Much of the rest of the world is unimpressed, if not downright disgusted in some places. The internet is free, and their pathetic attempts to assume power over it will fail. They are better to get with the 21st century, and adopt a realistic approach as suggested by Chris Ahearn.You cant send an aircraft carrier into cyber space to “restore order, freedom and rights for its citizens”. Better try something else, or change your thinking.

[...] been missed by Chris Ahearn, President of Media at AP rival Thomson Reuters. This week he responded with a blog post comparing AP to the lawsuit-happy music industry, saying that the incumbents “haven’t been [...]

[...] of the journalism industry, including the President of Media at Thomson Reuters Chris Ahearn. He wrote a response in which he outlined his support for the so-called “link economy,” which the AP’s [...]

[...] of the journalism industry, including the President of Media at Thomson Reuters Chris Ahearn. He wrote a response in which he outlined his support for the so-called “link economy,” which the AP’s [...]

[...] of the journalism industry, including the President of Media at Thomson Reuters Chris Ahearn. He wrote a response in which he outlined his support for the so-called “link economy,” which the AP’s [...]

[...] of the journalism industry, including the President of Media at Thomson Reuters Chris Ahearn. He wrote a response in which he outlined his support for the so-called “link economy,” which the AP’s [...]

[...] of the journalism industry, including the President of Media at Thomson Reuters Chris Ahearn. He wrote a response in which he outlined his support for the so-called “link economy,” which the AP’s [...]

[...] of the journalism industry, including the President of Media at Thomson Reuters Chris Ahearn. He wrote a response in which he outlined his support for the so-called “link economy,” which the AP’s [...]

[...] I believe in the link economy [Reuters MediaFile] This post is extra fascinating because it was written by Chris Ahearn, President, Media of Thomson [...]

[...] been missed by Chris Ahearn, President of Media at AP rival Thomson Reuters. This week he responded with a blog post comparing AP to the lawsuit-happy music industry, saying that the incumbents “haven’t been [...]

[...] of the journalism industry, including the President of Media at Thomson Reuters Chris Ahearn. He wrote a response in which he outlined his support for the so-called “link economy,” which the AP’s deal with [...]

[...] 4. Bloggers of the world, Reuters got our back [...]

[...] pages are the banks of the link economy, and some media companies are certain to see in Google’s latest move something akin to a masked [...]

[...] the same thing, but in any case it was and is quite useful. Among others we had an intervention by Chris Ahearn from Reuters, that I consider very important because it addresses both sides of the fence. Which is, [...]

Great to hear!Erecting walls around sacred content won’t help, but using the content as a baseline and then hooking people through services on top will help. Bundling with other products is one easy way to start, there are others.More on the theme here: http://threedimensionalpeople.com/2009/0 8/3d-contentDo keep up the blogging.Stephen

[...] of the journalism industry, including the President of Media at Thomson Reuters Chris Ahearn. He wrote a response in which he outlined his support for the so-called “link economy,” which the AP’s [...]

[...] Chris Ahearn, Präsident für Media bei Thomson Reuters, sieht das übrigens auch so, wie er in diesem grossartigen Blogeintrag schreibt. Er schreibt unter anderem: Blaming the new leaders or aggregators [such as Google] for [...]

[...] Chris Ahearn at Reuters encourages the media to act more like a community. Stop finger-pointing! He also believes in the “link economy.” [...]

[...] of the journalism industry, including the President of Media at Thomson Reuters Chris Ahearn. He wrote a response in which he outlined his support for the so-called “link economy,” which the AP’s [...]

[...] has elaborated on his “alternative” in a blog post, writing that too many traditional media organizations waste manpower “recycling commodity [...]

[...] is a copyright issue. Then, Chris Ahearn, President, Media at Thomson Reuters, basically told the AP to stop whining and evolve with the link economy. In a blog post, Ahearn wrote: Blaming the new leaders or aggregators for disrupting the business [...]

Dear Writer,After reading of your article and wide responses from readers shows that,fine for discussions.What you said is true to certain extents.There should be self,transparent codes for web journalism.Always repeating the same events by all media networks.Old wine in a same bottle,only lid had been changed.There are lot of day today topics from this vast universe has not been covered by these journalists,reporters and even from world notable figures in writing fields.Here after,there will be changes in writing ,fair reporting for all benefits.Freedom of expressions to be always goal for any independent journalist.Very great profession with great clarity for enriching and upholding ethics of journalism.Thanks for giving an opportunity for sharing of my views with you through this news website.Hope to get more updates from you in twitter social website.With best wishes.,

gooooooooooood

[...] We’ve labeled the guidelines 0.9 for a reason – they are  imperfect, yet we trust that the spirit and intention behind the effort will be respected and useful to build upon by others, or as Chris Ahern, President, Media at Thomson Reuters, implored, “Let’s stop whining and start having real conversations across party lines. ” [...]

excellent article. I agree with you fully that there should be a symbiotic relationship and bloggers should not leach content but instead enhance or promote it. Now if we could get all bloggers to respect content providers it may be easier to get content providers to loosen up on bloggers.

[...] universale di tutta l’editoria. Tant’è che c’è già chi ha preso le distanze. Come l’agenzia di stampa Reuter o l’Abc, che per voce del suo capo Mark Scott ha definito quello del magnate australiano “il [...]

[...] universale di tutta l’editoria. Tant’è che c’è già chi ha preso le distanze. Come l’agenzia di stampa Reuter o l’Abc, che per … Per leggere tutto articolo vai al sito ufficale Senza [...]

[...] been missed by Chris Ahearn, President of Media at AP rival Thomson Reuters. This week he responded with a blog post comparing AP to the lawsuit-happy music industry, saying that the incumbents “haven’t been [...]

[...] for Reuters, president Chris Ahearn said in August that he believes in the link economy. No threats at Google at all. Instead, he blamed news [...]

[...] pages are the banks of the link economy, and some media companies are certain to see in Google’s latest move something akin to a masked [...]

[...] of the journalism industry, including the President of Media at Thomson Reuters Chris Ahearn. He wrote a response in which he outlined his support for the so-called “link economy,” which the AP’s [...]

[...] link back. Link economy is not to be taken lightly. Chris Ahearn’s very famous article about why he believes in it has made its way around by now, and it’s a topic that should be involved in every conversation [...]

[...] summer, I published a blog post that laid out my feelings about the link economy and its positive contribution to the evolution of the business of journalism. One year later, [...]

Hi there, admin can I utylize a little of the info from this article if I provide a link back to your website ?

Posted by centrum | Report as abusive

[...] Media at Thomson Reuters: Last summer, I published a blog post that laid out my feelings about the link economy and its positive contribution to the evolution of the business of journalism. One year later, [...]

Whoa. A. no noun containing the word link, will ever be attached to a viable economic system. Fortunately (well kind of) you didn’t really mean economy did you? B. Believing in things is dead. But I don’t mean that in the cutoff jeans way. I mean that the market will always be composed almost entirely of people who are influenced by media, not convinced by argument, the very small portion that is convinced by argument probably either doesn’t care about your opinion, disagrees with it and knows exactly why, or has already come to that conclusion themselves.

http://andalsothis.squarespace.com/

Posted by RealJake | Report as abusive

Also, centrum. There is this whole meticulous mechanism called citation. He published, its out there, the info is up for grabs as long as you cite it properly, you don’t have to ask permission.

Posted by RealJake | Report as abusive