A Crikey editorial rightly questions Rupert Murdoch’s view that charging for online content will save journalism:
“We intend to charge for all our news websites”, Rupert Murdoch announced this morning, after unveiling News Corp’s 32% profit downturn for the past financial year.
“Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalising its ability to produce good reporting.”
It all sounds so rational. Quality journalism is expensive, readers are accustomed to paying for it on newsprint, and just to make sure there won’t be a migration of readers to free websites, Murdoch says his newspapers will be “making our content better and differentiated from other people”. After 15 years of giving away their content online, newspaper publishers will simply flip a switch, make the content better, erect a pay wall and expect people to pay for something they can get for nothing elsewhere.