If we value good journalism, why don’t we pay for it online?by Joy Lo Dico / June 23, 2010 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2010 issue of Prospect Magazine
Rupert Murdoch and his team at the Times and the Sunday Times have laid down their challenge to consumers of information: if you value good journalism, pay for it. After a free trial period, access to both papers’ websites now costs £1 a day or £2 a week. I’m in the front of the queue to type in my Visa number, but I fear I’m almost alone. One might expect to see journalists’ and writers’ unions there, along with commentators and editors applauding a proprietor who places a value on their profession. Yet the reaction among these groups ranges from non-committal to outright hostile.
From bare breasts in the Sun, through the battle of Wapping and the launch of Sky TV, Rupert Murdoch has few friends in the labour movement or the liberal establishment. There are already claims that plans to bundle the Times paywall together with Sky subscriptions is the latest move in a campaign to undermine the BBC. But one should not confuse the idea of paying for content with distaste for one media mogul. Newspapers have suffered a decade of falling circulation and job losses. If Murdoch’s model works, it’s a solution for much of what ails the industry.