It’s no secret that the newspaper business is in serious trouble. Circulations are plummeting and advertising revenue is in a free-fall. It’s widely agreed that the Internet is to blame, so you might think that newspapers would embrace new technology and work to establish strategic partnerships with companies that could help them deliver news in the manner that their readers prefer it. Instead many in the newspaper business seem to be waging an ongoing battle against all things new media. They’re responding in a way that media dinosaurs have traditionally responded to any new threat — with lawsuits and name calling.
A few weeks back I noted that would-be Tribune Co. owner Sam Zell doesn’t seem to understand the value of search engines. He’s not the only one. A number of European news services have been fighting Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft over links to European news websites. Apparently these publications prefer to limit their readership to the small number of individuals who might actually type the paper’s URL into their web browser. Since advertising revenue on the Internet is directly related to the number of visitors a website receives, suing Google probably isn’t the best business decision.