Paying for Page 3 girls

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.