The Kaplan Herald appears to be an equal-opportunity plagiarist.
Forget stories borrowed from the Anchorage Daily News in Podunk, Alaska. Kaplan appears to have moved on to bigger and potentially more profitable targets in the form of the country’s self-proclaimed national newspaper – USA Today.
Thank Google News for promoting this, too.
Google News was pushing a borrowed, USA Today story for Kaplan on Sunday. Google News won’t pick up small, local, news websites like this, but apparently Kaplan has found a backdoor to entice Google News’ algorithms to post its borrowed copy.
There’s money in this for everybody except, of course, USA Today, which paid Brent Schrotenboer to report and write the original story.
The long-term implications of this sort of action are significant. News gathering is a time-consuming and costly business. If legitimate news organizations can’t make money to pay reporters, nobody will get much in the way of actual reporting.
There is no knowing what will fill the void if professional reporting disappears, but all indications are that it will be social media.There are a lot of good things to be said for social media, but much of the information there is even less accurate than the mainstream media, which already sets a pretty low bar.
For Google, as for Kaplan, though, the main thing that appears to matter here is money.
Google News promotes Kaplan. Kaplan appears to run Google ads. Google collects money to place those ads. Kaplan gets a little kickback from Google for running the ads. But the website probably makes far more money for posting the “sponsored links” from “content.ad” on the Herald website.
The per-click value on all of this is low – but if someone is copying all the news on the web and then trolling it for hundreds of thousands of clicks – he or she or it could be making decent money.
This is the game Sarah Palin is now playing on her Facebook page with its 4.4-million followers. Think of her Facebook page as something like a mini Google News. Kaplan doesn’t have access to 4.4-million Facebook followers, so it has to resort to some other technique.
Kaplan appears to have figured out how to play Google News.
“The federal government is putting Lance Armstrong on trial next year for civil fraud and had hoped to prevent him from making his famous argument in court — the so-called ‘everyone was doing it’ defense to explain his use of banned drugs to gain an edge in cycling,” one of its mysterious “Kaplan Contributors” reported for the website on News Year’s Eve.
“The federal government is putting Lance Armstrong on trial next year for civil fraud and had hoped to prevent him from making his famous argument in court — the so-called ‘everyone was doing it’ defense to explain his use of banned drugs to gain an edge in cycling,” USA Today reported on Nov. 28.
These were the first paragraphs in both stories. The second paragraphs were also the same in both stories and the third and the fourth and etc.
The Kaplan headline was a bit of a mash-up that made no sense, but that might have been done to fool the Google News search robots into grabbing the story from among millions in the tubes and linking it as “news” even if it was a bit “olds.”
“Choose partly permits Lance Armstrong doping protection at trial,” the headline read
Who knows what the hell that means, but Google liked it. USA today did have a better headline and a photo:
But a better headline and photo doesn’t help all that much on Google News, which often just runs a headline while selecting your news for you.