This business of news.

From an early age, I was always fascinated by this business of news. Understanding news as a commodity is an essential background for people in the business. It helps if you are a fisherman. It is best you get the value for your product before it ripens.

One of my first jobs was with the Toronto Globe and Mail. It was experience in every department. While a titular national advertising sales person, I found myself in meetings with the publisher, getting banned again from the strictly union composing room, chatting with reporters, writing editorial for travel and trouble-shooting with annoyed advertising agencies.

This was all on top of some very good early training in broadcast reporting and production. I never liked my performance on radio or television but the experience was helpful to others. It provided an easy segue into a later role in the computer industry. I was an early adopter.

One of the most annoying aspects of news has been how computer services such as Google and Facebook think they know about news—and use it at their will, without payment or understanding of the product.

One of the best examples of the bad use of news has been by Microsoft. The computer company takes a mishmash of news, Hollywood pandering and hard advertising, mixes it for the opening pages of Internet services and might forget to pay the news companies that paid reporters to produce the news content.

What I have failed to understand was the unwillingness of politicians and regulators to recognize copyright on that news content. Even in the freely distributed product of the Hollywood gossip mills, there is an inherent copyright to the name of the personality being plugged. After all, how do the Kardashians make any money if their name is left out?

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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