NAA Leads Meeting of Newspaper Execs to Discuss Charging for Online Content

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By: Mark Fitzgerald and Jennifer Saba

The nation’s top newspaper executives gathered at a Chicago O’Hare airport hotel today to discuss charging for online content and protecting intellectual property.

The summit was initiated by the Newspaper Association of America in response to the recent hearings on Capitol Hill. John Sturm, the NAA’s CEO, told E&P the event’s purpose was to bring together top publishers to “discuss how best to support and preserve the traditions of newsgathering that will serve the American public.”

Sturm said those gathered discussed such topics as protection of intellectual property rights, as well as possible approaches to Congress and Administration to address these and other issues.

He added that antitrust counsel was present during the meeting.

The closed-door powwow was first made public by former Chicago Tribune Managing Editor James Warren on The Atlantic’s Web site. E&P found the meeting, in the Dublin and London rooms of the Hilton Hotel in O’Hare, where lunch was brought in to the group.

Attendees listened to executives from companies representing new models for obtaining value from newspaper online content, Sturm said.

Among the attendees expected to attend were executives from Gannett, The New York Times Co., E.W. Scripps, McClatchy, Advance, Hearst, MediaNews Group, Philadelphia Media Holdings, Lee Enterprises, Freedom Communications, and the Associated Press. Barbara Cohen of Kannon Consulting is spearheading the sessions.

Michael Golden of The New York Times, Gary Pruitt of McClatchy, and Tom Curley of the AP were also among the attendees named by Warren.

Warren reported that Thursday morning’s discussion had the theme “Fair Syndication Consortium/Attributor,” apparently referring to the alliance put together by content-tracking company Attributor.

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