Wednesday, March 14, 2007

New Canton Rep Owner Applies Creative Commons to Papers.

GateHouse Media, the media company that just purchased nine Copley News Service papers including The Canton Repository, caused a stir by applying the Creative Commons license to its newspapers last year. GateHouse was the first, and so far as I can tell, only, media company to embrace the modified, open license that is Creative Commons. Because Creative Commons encourages broad use of content, adopting the license suggests friendliness to Web 2.0 activities like blogging.

The story about the Creative Commons link notes additional indications of blog-friendliness:

    Over the weekend, the Watertown TAB of Watertown, Massachusetts, revamped its website. The result is, for now, strikingly bloglike: a wide center column with items in reverse chronological order. And at the very bottom, a small silver badge with a line of text that reads: "Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license."
    CC licensing is only one of three actions taken by GateHouse that point in the direction of greater openness. The CC badge appeared on the company’s TownOnline sites this weekend as part of a sweeping overhaul whose main objective is to move the sites firmly into the two=way web. The newspapers now under CC licensing are gathered together under the umbrella of Both TownOnline and another GateHouse property,, feature user-generated content.
Beyond the indications of openness, I am hopeful but cautious about the sale. After what David Black has done to the Akron Beacon Journal, I'm happy he didn't get the paper. That, and I don't want to see anyone monopolize news outlets in the region. Also, the Repository's website is in dire need of overhaul.

On the other hand, GateHouse is currently losing money and is a publicly traded company. David Black looked good and talked the game about being a news man, but when the bill came due he ravaged the newsroom. The economic pressures GateHouse is under make me nervous for their new aquisitions.