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Silver Linings in the Media 'Hamster Wheel'

Hey, did you catch our story on the problem with new $100 bills? Lots of folks did ... especially other news outlets.

Blogger Felix Salmon points out this is sort of a hamster wheel phenomenon in the news business. One MSM outfit shines a light on a certain story or subject and the rest run after it. In this case, we were the one shining the light, thanks to Eamon Javers. It always feels good to be out in front.

Of course, there are times when we're among the pursuers. No apologies. The motivation is pretty straightforward: A good story is a good story and every news outfit is inclined to make that story their own. Of course, some do it with varying degrees of success, as Salmon rightfully points out. (There's also a journalistic etiquette thing about tipping the hat to the outfit that originally broke a story, but that gets overlooked from time to time).

The perverse nature of the Internet, though, makes this not entirely a bad thing. For one, if the chasers are tipping the hat and going so far as to provide a link back, it helps your SEO mojo. That's "search engine optimization" ... the netherworld of coding and crawling that puts you at the top of Google-Yahoo-Bing searches.

And also, what many folks believe is a "rip off" is actually a content sharing agreement. That's where a site agrees to let another site host a story in exchange for links back. Example: you can find CNBC features on Yahoo Finance. The links in those Yahoo-hosted stories take you back to CNBC. It's a way for us to get exposure beyond the CNBC faithful and for Yahoo to get savvy business content.

Syndication arguments aside, though, journalists (and their editors) still like being recognized as first and best. So thanks, Felix.

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