MediaOne's Cheap Trick 

Who needs staff when you've got copy-paste?

I gotta tell you, that new head honcho at Media News Group, John Paton, has my respect. In case you missed the buried stories in The Salt Lake Tribune, which is owned by Media News (we caught the news online via other sources), Media News has a new CEO. Dean Singleton himself, publisher in transit of The Salt Lake Tribune, made the announcement. That was the first time in the half-dozen years since he saved the McCarthey family $200 million during his pyrrhic victory over them for ownership of The Salt Lake Tribune that he’s said anything relative to his business ventures here in Salt Lake City. Short of announced layoffs, that is—which are handled quite well by Singleton’s Salt Lake City spokeswoman, Nancy Conway.

Anyway, Paton is clearly a guy of decent sense. I know this because one of the first really smart things he did (outside of distancing himself from Sept. 12’s announcement that The Salt Lake Tribune was laying off five editorial staffers) was to call bunk on Dean Singleton’s gambit of copyrighting virtually every pixel of The Salt Lake Tribune’s content. A year ago or so, Singleton decided that a novel way to monetize his troubled empire would be to enter litigation against whoever might repost or repurpose Media News Group content (including that of The Salt Lake Tribune). He entered into agreement with Righthaven—a 1984 moniker if there ever were one—to chase down copyright violators, mostly small-time bloggers and tiny Websites, essentially the glue of the entire Internet.

Given the nature of forwarding stories via e-mail, exposing them via social media or the ease by which one can simply copy and paste existing content, Singleton’s mission seemed about as likely to succeed as draining Lake Powell with a straw. It failed, but it took my new nobleman John Paton to formally kill the project and in doing so, he termed it “a dumb idea from the start.” Couldn’t agree more, John!

But this gets complicated. Let’s see. Paton is the new CEO of Media News Group. MediaOne is the operations arm of both The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, which sort of co-own MediaOne. Media News Group owns, with a very large bank, The Salt Lake Tribune. The Salt Lake Tribune, therefore, was in cahoots with Righthaven in litigation against newspaper-content thieves. MediaOne, in partnership with The Salt Lake Tribune, is now boasting to high heaven about its new entertainment-only Website (NowSaltLake.com) and, crappola, if you don’t visit the site, you’ll have the most boring weekend ever. No, make that the most boring lifetime.

Yet, if that site’s so hot, why did those programmers in India or wherever the “local first” Website programming was done, copy content from the City Weekly Website? We never supported the Righthaven initiative to start with, but that doesn’t make it nice to appropriate copy from another source without attribution, you know. Well, Paton knows, at least, and he apparently has a great vision for the future of online news, but for the remaining lazy ninnies over at MediaOne, please read this from your Website:

Rockers and club kids unite! Laser Gold is back on the scene, leading a revolt against sterile laptop-produced electro-house and sloppy dance music with a sound Gold member Ryan Powers describes as “Total dance rock without the pretentious punk edge,” framed as traditional live-rock songs, based around prominent bass or piano and smothered in angular guitar, house beats and vocals so catchy he promises attendees will return home with tracks running circles in their heads. Those familiar with Powers’ experimental-electronic work as Agape should also expect something decidedly less abrasive though no less cutting edge in its minimal approach to song structure. If we’ve learned anything this post-election season, it’s that change is positive. This land is Journey’s; this land is Cut Copy’s. This land belongs to Laser Gold. —Jamie Gadette

The problem is that Jamie, now of KRCL FM, is our former music editor, and the above was published verbatim on Jan. 28, 2009, in City Weekly—which is copyrighted. We never granted permission to anyone to use it—though we may have with standard attribution, which the above lacks. Media News Pot, meet MediaOne Kettle. With five fewer editorial staffers at the Tribune, that leaves 143 future editorial staff obits before it sinks in that India can provide similar content faster and cheaper than they can. 

Twitter: @JohnSaltas

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