Well that didn’t take long. iLeech is an application for downloading from shared iTunes 4 music libraries. Just like that.
Reuters is reporting that Roxio is close to buying Pressplay, the loss-making online music service from Universal and EMI. Perhaps this is a sign that record companies are giving up the idea of ousting third parties from the distribution chain. Or perhaps it’s a sign they are skint.
Dave Winer wonders how Andy Orlowski keeps his press badge, because Andy wrote a story suggesting that Google was going to remove blogs from its search engine. It’s a great example of the general misunderstanding that many people have about journalism – and about how smart people like Dave can easily be taken for a ride by companies.
First up, what did Andy say? In his original story, Andy took a quote from Google CEO Eric Schmidt, which said that “Soon the company will also offer a service for searching Web logs, known as ‘blogs,’ “. All on the record, and good. Secondly, Andy looked at what Google had done with Dejanews, and noted that when it developed a special service for searching news, it hived it off into a separate section – the Search Newsgroups tab on the main page. From this, Andy surmised that Google would do the same thing for blogs. Note that Andy does not say Google would do this – merely that “precedent suggests it will be.”
Cue Dave going nuts, accusing Andy of having “invented a ‘news’ story that Google was going to take blogs out of the index”. As is clear from the above, Andy did no such thing: at no point in his story does he say that Google “is going” to do so. What’s more, Andy makes it very very clear which bits of the story are speculation, based on the company’s previous history.
I suspect that the reason that Dave went nuts has more to do with Andy’s very public “weblogs – they suck” position than anything to do with the story. The problem is that he also exposes exactly what the difference between a journalist and a non-journalist is in his posting. Let’s look at some points:
1. Acceptance of company statements as fact. Dave points to a Google PR statement, which he claims proves Andy is wrong because it says “there’s been no consideration of removing weblogs from our index”. Actually, of course, the statement is in no way contradictory: Google hasn’t removed newsgroup postings from its index, it’s merely flagged them as newsgroup postings and hence filtered from the Web search (Andy, here is guilty of a little slack writing, as he conflates “index” with “the web search tab”). The first thing you learn as a journalist is that, while PR statements rarely lie, they almost never actually contradict the ultimate point to you’ve written.
2. Getting simple facts wrong. Dave consistently concatenates Andy with “print journalist”. As far as I’m aware, Andy hasn’t done print since he worked for Ziff (I think), unless The Register has started a print mag on the sly.
3. When your enemy says it, it’s bullshit: When your friends say it, it’s gospel. When Robert Scoble goes on, post-Andy, to say that he’s pretty sure Andy didn’t make any of this up, Dave replies that he’s changed his mind. How does that work?
Really, if Andy’s guilty of anything, it’s of writing more like a blogger than a journalist. The first four paragraphs of his piece are a news story. After that, Andy mixes in lots of comment, gossip and analysis, none of which actually adds to the clarity of the initial story.