11 MARCH 2021
Earlier this week, Jamie Irving, the vice-president of Brunswick News and vice chair of News Media Canada wrote an op-ed that was published in the Globe and Mail about the important need for federal action to compel Facebook and Google to pay for news.
Real journalism – reporting real news – costs real money. With the exception of state-owned broadcasters, news media have two sources of revenue to fund that reporting: advertising and subscriptions. That’s true in print and broadcasting. And it’s just as true online – where news media, like their readers, have migrated over the past two decades.
The problem is the gatekeepers of the online world – Google and Facebook. A U.S. Senate report late last year, entitled Local Journalism: America’s Most Trusted News Sources Threatened, put it clearly: “These trillion-dollar companies scrape local news content and data for their own sites and leverage their market dominance to force local news to accept little to no compensation for their intellectual property. At the same time, the marketplace for online advertising is now dominated by programmatic ads, with digital advertising services claiming half of every ad dollar, further diverting funds away from local journalism.”