Are News Aggregators the way of the future? Or are they contributing to the decline of the Journalism Industry?
Over the past decade, the internet has become an essential news source for most Australians. This has led to a rise in ‘news aggregators’. So what is aggregation? Well, according to Steve Buttry, “Aggregation is the technique of using content from other sources to provide content for your audience. They occupy overlapping spaces”.
Whilst many people are of the opinion that news aggregator services are a recent phenomenon, Steve Buttry noted that they are not a new concept. In a recent article he explained that “aggregation has a long, proud and ethical history in journalism… The Associated Press is largely and aggregation service, except that its member pay huge fees for the privilege of being aggregated”. Why then, is there a school of thought that suggests news aggregators are the reason for the decline of traditional journalism?
According to this theory, news aggregators are free-riding, reselling and profiting from the factual information gathered by traditional media organisations at great cost. In 2009, Rupert Murdoch went as far as say that news aggregators “wholesale misappropriation of our stories is not fair use. To be impolite, it’s theft”.
There has been lots of debate as to whether news aggregators are in fact breaking any laws. And for all the debate that the battle of ‘Traditional Newspapers’ versus ‘The Online Sphere’ has caused, there has been no case in that has definitively addressed the question of whether news aggregator’s activities are legal.
Whilst news aggregator’s may have a direct link to the decline of traditional journalism, they do manage to provide a valuable service, that is becoming more and more prominent and relevant in today’s society.. This is, of course, as journalism progresses on it’s long and bumpy journey from print to the net.
N.B: I completely understand the irony of me writing an aggregated post about the issues of aggregated posts!