SOPA and Old and New Media: The Line in the Sand

By Sarah Lacy , written on January 18, 2012

From The News Desk

We're seeing something amazing unfold in the press today: SOPA has drawn a line down the middle of the media world and people are being forced to pick a side.

Up until now, old media properties have tried to "adapt" to new media practices. After much resistance, nearly every old media property blogs now. The way news is broken has become more iterative. There's far less reliance on editing and multi-source stories, in exchange for immediacy and process-based journalism.

You could argue that last one is a bad thing. But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter. Readers have spoken and stodgy old media outlets are sometimes reluctantly changing. Some are doing it really well, and others look like an elephant tap-dancing. But nearly everyone is trying, while saying "See! Look at us! You can have old world credibility and all the advantages of new media if you just keep reading us!"

But by The Wall Street Journal coming out in favor of SOPA as the mainstream tide is significantly turning against it, the former paper of record for the business world is showing with their most important actions that they are fundamentally anti-Internet. More than that, it's showing the worst fears of the News Corp. buyout come to life: Rupert Murdoch has considerable sway over this publication. I just can't imagine that anyone I know covering tech for the Journal agrees with this stance, and he's just thrown them out to the Silicon Valley mob.

Maybe not today or tomorrow, but this will have serious ramifications for the Journal. It is officially out of step with the one of the only parts of the American economy that works, that's growing and that is creating new jobs. Murdoch is just wrong. He's elephant-hunting Robert Parsons wrong.

How many Journal staffers want to go down with that ship? Would a MySpace of today willingly sell to him?