(February 1, 2019) — Big news is doubling-down on big tech. David Chavern, the president and CEO of the News Media Alliance, is the voice of the business of news. In Thursday’s New York Times op-ed, he makes the case for the systemic issues facing the news media industry, stemming from the Facebook/Google duopoly.
Chavern, a Chamber of Commerce veteran who has led the NMA since 2015, challenges why these two tech giants are not only hoarding the majority of online ad revenue, but they are also controlling the frequency and visibility of news through algorithms.
He writes, “More important [than ad revenue], the platforms now act as ‘regulators’ of the news business — determining what information gets delivered to whom, and when. With the flick of an algorithmic finger, those two companies decide what news you see and whether a publisher lives or dies.”
“The demand for the
The op-ed notes that Facebook and Google “flatly refuse to pay for news” even though they license many other types of content.
Chavern is leading the charge to protect news by negotiating a fair, equitable deal with the tech giants. He contends that news organizations deserve the same intellectual property protections as songwriters and producers, a position European regulators are currently considering.
But beyond ad revenue and IP protections, Chavern faults Facebook and Google for the growing decline of local news: “A study by the University of North Carolina’s School of Media and Journalism found that more than 1,300 American communities have completely lost sources of local news.”
The NMA is encouraged by legislation sponsored by Rep. David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) that would allow news publishers to collectively negotiate a deal on revenue, data, and algorithms with Facebook and Google without violating antitrust rules.
Chavern is optimistic that a deal can be reached. “All it would take,” he says, “is a little enlightened self-interest and a real commitment to the continued existence of quality news.”
About News Media Alliance
The News Media Alliance, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., was founded in 1992 through a merger of seven associations serving the newspaper industry and was originally known as the Newspaper Association of America (NAA).
NMA’s work focuses on the key challenges and opportunities of today’s news environment: Freedom of the press, public policy and legal matters, advertising growth, new revenue streams and audience development across all platforms. The News Media Alliance is dedicated to working with its members, as well as other partner organizations, to advance the industry through advocacy, critical research and resources and events that connect and inspire.