Speaking at the Newspaper Association of America convention today, Eric Schmidt went out of his way to make nice with newspapers — even as those same papers railed against Google for leading Web users to dissociate quality content from the publisher brands that produce it. The following snippets come from a Q&A transcript published by Poynter Online:
Question: You’ve been quoted as saying a number of times that there should be a “flight to quality,” that there’s an awful lot of garbage out on the Internet —
Schmidt: Let me just say precisely: It’s a sewer out there.
Question: Recognizing that the brands in this room for the most part are credible brands and —
Schmidt: I would say 100% are credible.
Later, Schmidt said he admired the intelligence and speed with which newspapers greeted the first wave of Internet growth in the late ’90s. The problem came later, he said:
The act after that is a much harder question. It’s how do you keep engagement? How do you avoid being just mediated with a set of stories that are aggregated with your brand on them, which is what’s happened to some newspapers?
…My own bias, by the way, is a technology one: I think the sites are slow. They literally are not fast. They’re actually slower than reading the paper, and that’s something that can be worked on on a technical basis.
photo credit: NAA