Fun_People Archive
29 Apr
Excerpted: Communications-related Headlines for 4/29/99

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 99 11:48:46 -0700
To: Fun_People
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Subject: Excerpted: Communications-related Headlines for 4/29/99

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649
Forwarded-by: Nev Dull <>
Forwarded-by: Rachel Anderson <rachel@BENTON.ORG>

Issue: Journalism/Content
The New York Times' agreement to post Barnes & Noble "buy" buttons next to
its online book reviews should continue to raise questions about the
relationship of news content-providers and e-commerce companies. However,
much of the initial criticism has died out and the news industry has largely
followed the Times' lead into e-commerce. Content from The New York Times
recently brings the relationship into serious question. In one remarkable
35-day stretch in February and March, the Times ran five articles and two
opinion columns, effectively sullying the reputation of, Barnes
and Noble's biggest competitor. In only one of the articles did the Times
disclose its influential agreement with Barnes and Noble. Nancy Nielsen of
the Times said there is no reason to question the impact of the Barnes &
Nobel business relationship on the paper's coverage. Bruce Oakley of the
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette agrees. "A Web books section with book site ad or
even a link to an e-bookstore is not very different from a newsprint sports
page with an ad for a sporting goods store." Author's conclusion: If The
New York Times' coverage of Amazon -- and its routine lack of disclosure of
the Barnes & Noble agreement -- is anything to go by, the top news
organizations still have more questions to answer about exactly how their
e-commerce relationships will not be allowed to erode confidence in their
[SOURCE: Online Journalism Review, AUTHOR: Matt Welch]

Issue: Internet
Use of the MP3 technology on the Internet threatens to upset the entire
structure of the popular music business. The music industry is worried,
worried that MP3 not only will cut out the middleman in the record industry,
but the record store, and much of the rest of the traditional business
structure. The format is popular with listeners who say they are introduced
to music that they might not otherwise hear and with the midgets of the
industry -- independent record labels, offbeat artists -- who can get
national distribution simply by placing a song on the Web, a song that can
be downloaded in the MP3 format for free. Nobody is getting rich from MP3,
but it provides great promotion. Some people see Web downloads as offering
a replacement to purchasing CD's or offering the option for some artists to
sell music via subscription.
[SOURCE: Washington Post (A1), AUTHOR: Rob Pegoraro]


(c)Benton Foundation, 1999. Redistribution of this email publication -- both
internally and externally -- is encouraged if it includes this message.

The Benton Foundation's Communications Policy and Practice (CPP)
( Communications-related Headline Service is
posted Monday through Friday. The Headlines are highlights of news articles
summarized by staff at the Benton Foundation. They describe articles of
interest to the work of the Foundation -- primarily those covering long term
trends and developments in communications, technology, journalism, public
service media, regulation and philanthropy.  While the summaries are
factually accurate, their often informal tone does not represent the tone
of the original articles. Headlines are compiled by Kevin Taglang
(, Rachel Anderson (, Ted Tate
(, and Alicia Kemmitt ( we welcome your

The Benton Foundation works to realize the social benefits made possible by
the public interest use of communications. Bridging the worlds of
philanthropy, public policy, and community action, Benton seeks to shape
the emerging communications environment and to demonstrate the value of
communications for solving social problems. Through demonstration projects,
media production and publishing, research, conferences, and grantmaking,
Benton probes relationships between the public, corporate, and nonprofit
sectors to address the critical questions for democracy in the information
age. Other projects at Benton include:
Connect for Kids (
Open Studio: The Arts Online (
Destination Democracy (
Sound Partners for Community Health (

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