The Friends of Unfair Park concerned with the state -- and fate -- of the newspaper business are no doubt aware that in a Chicago suburb yesterday, bigwigs, honchos and major-domos from most of the country's biggest news-gathering organizations huddled together to chat about monetizing online content. There's been much consternation over the legality of such a not-secret-swear confab, but we just had one question, as most accounts of the grip-and-grimace feature an incomplete guest list: Did A.H. Belo Corp. have a representative on hand?
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"Yep," says Dallas Morning News publisher Jim Moroney, who confirmed to Unfair Park his attendance in an e-mail that consists of that single word. Moroney, of course, suggested to us way back in February that The News would likely charge for at least some of its online content sooner than later. And, of course, earlier this month Moroney testified before a Senate subcomittee dealing with the future of newspapers, during which he said that legislators need to offer newspapers tax breaks and relax antitrust regulations so publishers can band together to ensure online aggregators pay to play. I asked Moroney in a follow-up e-mail what was discussed yesterday; still haven't yet heard back.