A stark reality check from Dan Gillmor
Ultimately, I believe, the most important issue is whether news organizations should get in bed with a company that makes unilateral and non-transparent decisions like the ones Apple has been making about content in all kinds of ways. I say they should think hard about it, and answer either in the negative or insist on iron-clad contracts with Apple that prohibit the hardware company from any kind of interference with the journalism, ever. (As Dave Winer asked in a Twitter posting today, “Thought experiment: What happens to the Engadget app when they run a leaked Apple announcement?”)
Understand, this is not about whether tablet computers are a good thing. They are. They will be a wonderful addition to the way we consumer and create media (more so the former, I’d guess), and I have no doubt that the iPad, like other Apple products, will set a new standard for ease of use and, in some ways, utility. (I’m a happy user of a Mac computer, for which Apple doesn’t restrict application developers’ ability to write software.)
But I watch with amazement as newspaper people drool over the iPad as some kind of industry savior. They’re putting far too much trust in a company that doesn’t deserve it.