Major papers want the right to collectively bargain with Google and Facebook

An alliance between the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, among others, will ask Congress for a limited antitrust exemption so that they may combine their resources and heft to collectively negotiate better distribution and advertising concessions from Google and Facebook, the New York Times reports. The papers are concerned that the two tech giants are not just the main gatekeepers to news nowadays, but that they are also sucking up most of the advertising revenues that are generated from the papers’ journalism.

The more advertising dollars that go to Google and Facebook means the media outlets have less to spend on quality journalism. As David Chavern, president and chief executive of the News Media Alliance, who represents the group of papers, wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

“[Google and Facebook] don’t employ reporters: They don’t dig through public records to uncover corruption, send correspondents into war zones, or attend last night’s game to get the highlights. They expect an economically squeezed news industry to do that costly work for them. The only way publishers can address this inexorable threat is by banding together. If they open a unified front to negotiate with Google and Facebook—pushing for stronger intellectual-property protections, better support for subscription models, and a fair share of revenue and data—they could build a more sustainable future for the news business.”