Last week, News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate, announced that it will soon charge for online news content. That means that if you want to read the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, or the Daily Telegraph online, you're going to have to pay. (Just like you would if you wanted to read the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, or the Daily Telegraph in print.)
In an interview with the BBC, Murdoch said that he was "'satisfied' that the company could produce 'significant revenues from the sale of digital delivery of newspaper content.'"
"The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive methods of distribution," he added. "But it has not made content free. Accordingly, we intend to charge for all our news websites. I believe that if we are successful, we will be followed by other media. "Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalising its ability to produce good reporting," he said.
On Thursday, we spoke with Bob Garfield of NPR's On The Media about his new book, The Chaos Scenario: Amid the Ruins of Mass Media, The Choice of Business is Stark: Listen or Perish. In that conversation, Garfield highlighted the crux of the problem:
Ironically, the audience of The New York Times and just about every other major newspaper has dramatically expanded for the last — over the last 10 years because online, you can — you know, you can be read anywhere and — here's the key — for free. So because - you know, free is a really attractive price, and you can't argue with the convenience. So people are reading The New York Times more than they ever have in its history.
Check out the latest issue of the Columbia Journalism Review. Four smart people — Alissa Quart, Peter Osnos, David Simon, and Michael Shapiro tackle this tricky subject.