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Could ‘reverse syndication’ be a new news model?

Jeff Jarvis calls it reverse syndication: big publishers pay smaller publishers to link to their material. Jarvis has a fascinating, albeit early-stage idea to help pay for expensive news coverage. He uses the New York Times’ Iraq coverage as an example. The NYT says it puts out nearly $3 million per year to cover the war zone.

Let’s say the Times says to Tribune company that it will provide all the reporting on Iraq for Tribune’s readers. But instead of charging Tribune for syndication, the Times pays Tribune a share of the ad revenue it gets from traffic Tribune sends to the Times.

He notes that publishers could compete – paying higher commissions for traffic. If you were a smaller publisher and were looking for quality content – content that you could aggregate – wouldn’t it be attractive to use an “upstream publisher” (my term) that pays you to link to them?

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