‘Prisoner Of The Taliban‘ looked like a compelling, if slightly familiar, read. Spread across pages one, two and three yesterday’s Sunday Times News Review section, it was an American journalist’s account of his seven-month kidnap in the Afghan desert.
A quick scan to the end of David Rohde’s piece revealed all, in customary italics:
Extracted from an article that first appeared in The New York Times.
And that’s where I and, most likely, other Sunday Times readers had read the original in all its five-part glory.
Syndication is a normal part of the newspaper business, whether it’s a tabloid previewing the latest celeb photo-shoot from one of the glossies, a broadsheet recasting an essay from a highbrow monthly as op-ed, or – as here – a UK paper taking some of the best journalism from abroad.
But in the link economy, where access to the original source is only a click away, isn’t syndication increasingly redundant?
Last week, I suggested that the likes of the Associated Press were the real losers in a world where aggregation ruled. And that’s probably still the case for those whose business is predicated on providing copy for multiple sources. In other words, those businesses which conform to the most exact definition of syndication.
But for publishers there is another, softer reason to continue this content-sharing relationship besides any monetary exchange: profile.
And that, after all, is what I am doing by publishing this article here and here. Albeit on a much, much smaller scale.
– NewsNow: ‘End These Indiscriminate Attacks’