“At a certain point, once arguments have gone around in circles for a number of years, it’s best to just agree that all the contrasting points have been made, and move on,” wrote Hamilton Nolan yesterday. He was responding to a speech former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie Jr. made in London about how news aggregators are “parasites.” Mr. Downie made special mention of The Huffington Post.
Ms. Huffington responded to Mr. Downie’s speech in The Guardian last night, too. Here are some keywords from her column, just to get the flavor: “Some in the old media … schoolyard inhabitants …indiscriminately… aggregation … copyright law… 300 original blog posts a day….links … original source …’Way Back Machine.'” There was also a link to 2008 Jeff Jarvis under the words “link economy.”
This part of Ms. Huffington’s response felt insincere. Once you’ve commented on something aren’t you done with it?
We adhere to copyright law and “fair use” guidelines, and when excerpting a story, we only offer enough of it to give readers a flavour and the ability to comment on it, without gutting the incentive to go to the original source to read more.
If we were Ms. Huffington — and we were getting invitations to speak to Senate subcommittees and at Bill Clinton’s conference, and our website was beating nearly every traditional media outlet in traffic — we probably would have just ignored Ms. Downie, a retired newspaper editor. His speech was entirely backward-looking, and Ms. Huffington is doing her best to live in the future of media that she has created.
Mr. Nolan said it best yesterday after Mr. Downie’s speech: “Can I fly to London and re-enact 2005, too?”