Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Should it stay or should it go: News outlets scramble to cover Britain’s decision to exit the European Union
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Jan. 26, 2009, 3:04 p.m.

GateHouse exec Kirk Davis: “What do you think, we’re stupid? Of course we like linking”

I just got off the phone with Kirk Davis, the newly promoted president and chief operating officer of GateHouse Media, who gave me his interpretation of their settlement with The New York Times Co., owner of The Boston Globe. “We believe the settlement provides GateHouse with all the essential relief on the issues that caused us to take the action we did, and we’re completely satisfied,” he said.

This much seems clear: The settlement prohibits the Globe from republishing the headlines and first graf of GateHouse content as they’ve been doing on three hyperlocal news sites rolled out last year. That’s how Davis put it, and when I posed that interpretation to Abbe Serphos, a spokeswoman for The Times Co., she said, “I think that’s pretty right on.”

The Globe’s Your Town sites could link to specific articles or blog posts published by GateHouse as long it doesn’t quote the headline or lede, according to Davis. “We don’t have an issue with deep linking,” he said. I asked Davis if it would be OK for a Globe blogger to quote a few grafs from an article in one of GateHouse’s community newspapers. “I would agree that’s fine,” he said, adding with a huff, “That takes a little bit of human effort.”

There’s the key distinction: automation vs. human effort. The finer points of this settlement will be ironed out in practice, but this definitely strikes a blow to automated aggregation. (It does not, however, set a legal precedent.)

Davis also spoke about repairing his company’s “progressive reputation on the web.” GateHouse was praised in 2006 when it made all of its content available under a Creative Content license, but its lawsuit against The Times Co. has been criticized by Jeff Jarvis and others.

“In the spare time I had to follow public sentiment about this case,” Davis said, “you’d see comments like, ‘GateHouse is against linking.’ You’ve got to be kidding me. What do you think, we’re stupid? Of course we like linking and of course we support linking.”

Under the settlement, GateHouse “will implement one or more commercially reasonable technological solutions” to prevent the Globe from subscribing to and copying from GateHouse’s RSS feeds, which is how the Your Town sites have been operating thus far. Davis wouldn’t speculate about what that solution may be, but it could be something like blocking the Globe’s IP address. The Globe is also prohibited from circumventing the agreement by doing the same sort of aggregation by hand.

Finally, while I was on the phone with Davis, Lisa Williams of Placeblogger asked me to see if the settlement prohibits GateHouse or Globe content from appearing in either company’s local search results. Davis said it does not. “We have no problem with being captured by search,” he said.

POSTED     Jan. 26, 2009, 3:04 p.m.
PART OF A SERIES     GateHouse v. NYT Co.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Should it stay or should it go: News outlets scramble to cover Britain’s decision to exit the European Union
Online, readers stayed up for the results: Peak traffic to BBC News, for instance, was around 4 a.m. GMT, and by 11 a.m. BBC.com had received 88 million page views.
Acast wants to get new audiences “in the podcast door” with more diverse shows and better data
With a new paid subscription option and its sights set on non English-speaking countries, the Swedish podcasting startup is looking for listeners (and shows) beyond the iTunes set.
“Medium’s team did everything”: How 5 publishers transitioned their sites to Medium
What happened when Pacific Standard, The Ringer, The Awl, The Bold Italic, and Femsplain moved their sites over to Medium.
What to read next
0What does it take to be a “full-service” digital journalism organization? Ask Discourse Media
“We’ve gone down lots of experimental rabbit holes.”
0Hot Pod: New podcasts, more existential public radio talk, and progress on intern wages
Plus: New big-picture views from Pew, Malcolm Gladwell hits the promo circuit, and more growth in branded podcasts.
0Hot Pod: Is the Stitcher deal a step toward a closed podcast ecosystem?
Plus: Midroll’s CEO steps down, Malcolm Gladwell goes audio, and how voice assistants (Siri, Alexa, Cortana) could impact NPR’s drive time programs.
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Vox Media
USA Today
Current TV
Yahoo
ESPN
Conde Nast
PBS NewsHour
The Daily Show
CBS News
Al Jazeera
Time
Foreign Policy