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The GooTube Rumours Get Another Round

By - October 08, 2006


This Google YouTube story is a true marvel of unsubstantiation. While the Journal said last week it had one (off the record) source, and TechCrunch gave it about a 40% chance based on its own anonymous sourcing, the UK papers, apparently trying to get ahead of a possible announcement Monday, are truly outdoing themselves.

The Times UK sources it thusly: “Google is expected early this week to announce a $1.6 billion (£850m) deal to acquire YouTube.” In other words, there is no source.

Sky News posts it this way: “Online search engine giant Google is expected to agree a £850m deal to buy video sharing website YouTube.” Yup, no source either. Oh wait, save for this gem: “The Sunday Times has suggested the site’s owners would welcome financial help to support the cost of hosting the ever-growing number of clips – reported to be £800,000 each month.”

While this may well happen, I have to ask, since when have stories with passive sourcing – ie, “is expected to” – passed for journalism?

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8 thoughts on “The GooTube Rumours Get Another Round

  1. Rob says:

    Normal rule of thumb is that two seperate sources equals a story. In Britain though it doesnt always work quite like that 😉

    One thing to note with this story is that News International owns Sky News and quite a few other outlets that have been making a play of this story. Rupert Murdoch is said to control the editorial direction of his papers… … so could News International be making a bid???

    It has the set-up… and god knows it has the legal team. Hmm, not sure whether this would be a wise move though.

  2. Michael says:

    Truth is, I think all these news outlets are reading it in the blogosphere and reporting on it…

  3. shmooth says:

    i don’t know about passive sourcing, but U.S. corporate newspapers regularly make passive statements about events they don’t wish the American public to learn about. President Wilson wasn’t a racist, but during his reign ‘the government was segregated’. the New York Times, of course, is king of the passive, ‘it just happened somehow’, statement. corporate rags are near-worthless.

  4. MK says:

    I know from experience that News International (which owns the Times and the Sun) does not get inside information regarding potential News Corp transactions. Once had the Times leak a story regarding meetings between a client and News Corp which negatively impacted NC’s ability to close that particular deal.

  5. Rob says:

    It is widely acknowledged that RM has ‘direct’ input into certain stories that feature on the headlines of his News International rags. Famously Tony Blair flew out to a private holiday island off Australia to meet with RM before the British election campaign. This led to The Sun newspaper, the top-selling newspaper in the country switching sides to support the Blair led Labour Party.

    My point is that RM has and indeed does exert some editorial control over his stable of newspapers and media outlets.

  6. Andy Baio says:

    Looks like the Times UK nailed it after all, down to the price.

  7. john says:

    amazingly, there is an existing mashup of gootube,