The value of exclusives

Maybe its the old hack in me but I still think exclusives are worth having. Jeff Jarvis does not. “The value of an exclusive today lasts about 30 seconds,” he says at Buzzmachine.

I find his reasoning rather hard to follow. It centres on CNN paying for a campus video of the Virginia shootings — long shots of police, noise of gunfire and lots of pavement.

Jarvis raised the question at a conference he was attending with someone from CNN asking whether they had paid for it. It had, apparently been uploaded by the creator who was then contacted by CNN who negotiated exclusivity. He says: “I criticized the notion of exclusivity and argued that they’d be better off putting the video out there with a CNN ID to take credit for having gotten it and to get the idea across that one can submit news video to them.”

He seems to be suggesting that they should have put their logo on it and then distributed free to anyone who wanted it. I cannot see how they could have done that without negotiating with the creator over rights and probably making a payment.

The video was certainly distributed and not held for exclusive use by CNN. I saw it on either BBC or ITN news, I forget which. It is also on YouTube.

Ok, an exclusive does not last long these days. Newspaper tricks like waiting for the second edition to stop others following-up are little use in a 24/7 media world.

But the reputation brought through exclusives does last. They build the reputations of broadcasters, newspapers and websites. By helping to build audiences they have commercial value.

And what would journalism be without the excitement of getting exclusives?

  • Jeff Jarvis

    But I think you’re looking at this from the perspective of the journalist rather than the readers. The news can and should come to them. If that news were linked and embedded, it would get wider distribution.

  • Andrew Grant-Adamson

    Jeff Jarvis is dead right. I am looking at this from the perspective of a journalist: one who likes to get paid. News organisations have to take every comercial opportunity they can find. That also serves the interests of readers most of whom still go to mainstream sources and do not have hours to trawl the net in search of raw data.

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