By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions versus GateHouse redux’s Newton site debuted today. I’ll try to offer at least a quick assessment tomorrow. At first glance, it strikes me as an attractive mix of content from the Boston Globe, GateHouse Media’s Newton Tab, the Boston Phoenix and local bloggers.

Meanwhile, take a look at this video, posted on’s Green Blog. Be sure to watch the closing credits. Pretty aggressive, don’t you think?

More: It’s only fair to point out it’s virtually impossible to learn that the video is from the GateHouse’s Belmont Citizen-Herald unless you watch all the way to the end. Even if you go directly to the YouTube site, you’ll find nothing unless you click on “more info.” And even then, it’s pretty cryptic.

So I can believe it’s an innocent mistake — but one that should be corrected soon.

Still more: Now fixed — see fourth paragraph.

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Thoughts on the Globe’s Newton project


  1. Patricia of Trakai

    Yeah … But … What does Walden Pond have to do with BELMONT??? At least 20 years ago when I was there, Belmont was the most self-centered town in the whole region. I could tell you LOTS of stories….

  2. Tony

    Patricia: The town’s state rep., Will Brownsberger, was participating in the polar plunge. Since the Concord Journal couldn’t attend, Cassie Norton, the Belmont reporter covered it and shot the video. Dan: For a couple of months now, we have been publishing an intro to our videos telling viewers where they came from and where the accompanying story can be found. Obviously, the polar plunge video is a bit old and doesn’t contain that notice at the beginning. But most of our newer ones do. Heaven forbid there be any confusion as to who creates our videos. We thank the Globe for acknowledging that this is a GateHouse video.Anthony Schinella, Editor/Belmont Citizen-Herald

  3. Sean Roche

    Dan,A found another example of a commercial site using a full GateHouse Media YouTube video in apparent violation of its copyright.And, that site didn’t even acknowledge the source — the Newton TAB. Granted, this offending site is just a blog with a few ads. But, those ads make it just as commercial as Where is one to draw the line?I did find the Globe’s sourcing to the corporate GateHouse Media instead of the Belmont Citizen-Herald a bit of an over-the-top effort to avoid a hat tip to a branded newspaper. After all, nobody refers to a Globe story as a N.Y. Times, Co., story.

  4. Dan Kennedy

    Sean: Very funny. Except that I did acknowledge the source, by linking to the Newton Tab item, which included the video. Sure, I could have also put where I got it in writing, and maybe I should have. But a link is attribution.Where is one to draw the line? We all draw lines all the time. If my ad revenue ever matches my Internet-access fees, I’ll let you know.I don’t mean to speak for Steve Garfield, but he once talked with the Creative Commons folks and asked them to define “non-commercial.”Their response, as I recall, was that they had left it deliberately ambiguous. Until I start making money, I’ll hang my hat on that. And, of course, I acknowledge GateHouse’s right to ask me to remove the video.

  5. Sean Roche

    Dan,Obviously, I was having some fun with you, but how can GateHouse Media make a principled distinction between the Globe and your admittedly low-income effort. Based on profitability? I’m betting you show a better return on investment than the red-ink bleeding enterprise on Morrissey Blvd. It really boils down to the fact that the Globe is a competitor, and that’s a pretty weak justification for different copyright treatment under a Creative Commons license.When I went looking for the Lincoln-Sudbury principal’s video, I was sure that you had given credit to Chrissie Long at the TAB. I was surprised that you hadn’t. I don’t think a link is an attribution. This is a particularly relevant issue in light of the concern by some, including you, that the Globe will pull so much content from blogs that readers won’t bother to click through. If it’s a standing concern that a post about a post reduces the likelihood of a reader clicking through to the source post, the link itself cannot be considered an attribution. Otherwise, you’re saying it’s okay if it’s an attribution “seen” by only a portion of your readers. If the Herald carried a story and only 50% of its editions carried a necessary attribution to a Globe story, would that be an adequate attribution?I don’t mean to call you out for bad practices so much as illustrate that these are not simple issues.

  6. Dan Kennedy

    Sean: I think there are two different issues involved here.I absolutely believe a link is attribution.But if I had specifically credited the Tab and not just built in a link, that wouldn’t have helped drive traffic to the Tab’s site.What I probably should have done was not post the video. I could have done what I did with this post, in which I posted a picture of the video. Click on the video and it takes you to the Danvers Herald story, with the embedded video.I don’t want to get into this now, but by some interpretations neither the Globe nor Media Nation is engaged in “commercial use,” as we are both doing journalism. It’s the same principle by which you can run a photo of the soccer team on page one, but you can’t sell posters of the soccer team unless you get a release.Since the Creative Commons people are being ambiguous, who knows?

  7. Sean Roche

    Now there are three issues:1. Commercial use of material under a Creative Commons license. 2. Attribution.3. Driving traffic to another site.On point 1, your analogy is headed in the right direction, but this is really more like posting the broadcast of the entire soccer game.Attribution has a purpose independent of driving link traffic. Newspapers don’t insist on attribution to sell copies of papers the same day, they insist on it because failure deprives them of the credit for their work, credit that builds up over the long term into institutional reputations. Unless people click on the link (or read the underlying HTML source), there is no attribution. I urge you to rethink your position on this one.Yes, putting Chrissie Long’s name and the words “Newton TAB” in the post wouldn’t have driven more traffic to the source post. But, it would have been some nice recognition for a hard-working young reporter and it would have put a little shine on the Newton TAB name. (See above.)

  8. Dan Kennedy

    Sean: I’d be happy to rethink what I do for exactly the reasons you suggest. But it’s all a matter of degree.Every Monday night I write a 700-word column for the Guardian. I’m doing it (or, rather, I’m not doing it) right now. It is, in essence, an extended blog item, loaded with links. When I’m linking to something that I really think deserves to be highlighted, I’ll say, “As Jane Blaine writes in the New Yorker …” More often than not, though, it’s just a link — and my piece would be unreadable if I did it any other way.You asked where we should draw the line. I respond, again, that lines must be drawn.

  9. Sean Roche

    Here’s my admittedly amateur distinction. I give a textual attribution if I think that the source story is unique or treats the issue at hand in an unusual way. (Or, if the story’s treatment is the issue.) I just link to a story if all I want to do is provide a) a reported basis for my commentary, b) access to more details, or c) both. In the case of a), there are usually multiple linking options (say essentially similar Globe and Herald articles). Please don’t review my work. I’m sure I haven’t been consistent in my application of my own rules.

  10. MeTheSheeple

    Dan Kennedy: I … asked them to define “non-commercial.” … Until I start making money, I’ll hang my hat on that.I say this sadly and only simultaneously only half-jokingly: If that’s the standard to follow, then certainly many newspapers, and probably now* all newspapers’ Internet operations, could follow a similar standard as money-losing non-commercial operations.* Is the WSJ losing money on the Internet side of things now? I seem to recall they were supposed to be shifting from a subscriber model.

  11. Doug Shugarts

    MTS: Here’s a link (via Andrew Sullivan) to a speech Murdoch gave recently on newspapers’ future. Murdoch discusses his plans to offer “three tiers of [online] content,” presumably across all of his outlets.

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