Tag Archives: steve yelvington

Yes, yes, yes. Newspapers didn’t let the ‘genie out of the bottle’: they just lost their bottle

genie in a bottle

Genie in a bottle image by Herval

Steve Yelvington has a great phrase for the oft-repeated claim that newspapers ‘sowed the seeds of their own demise’ by putting their content online for free many years ago:

He calls it the ‘original sin’ myth:

“The most charitable thing I can say about it is: This is bullshit.”

I’ll let you read his post to get the full background, but as someone else who was there at the time I can only say: He’s right. What choice did publishers have? Let AOL or MSN steal an emerging fast-growing market as theirs declined?

The thing about this myth is that it relies upon some sort of ‘genie in the bottle’: the idea that news organisations had something special that they ‘let out’. That’s a nice story, but it’s only half the story. Continue reading

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