Rupert Murdoch wants his two dollars, and my hometown newspaper is better off dead.
Rupert Murdoch’s plan to start charging for online news is an interesting test of the theories laid out in the recent bestseller Free: The Future of a Radical Price. I think most consumers feel that given the quality of journalism over the past decade, the price of free news is just about right. It’s interesting to me that Murdoch would choose to monetize online news at a time when real-world papers are failing at an epidemic rate; I’m of the opinion that his massive media empire is simply unable – much like the music industry – to adapt to the evolving market. And apparently Gartner Research agrees. Unfortunately, with the current trend of blogs-as-news and Twitter-driven media, the problems created by completely profit-driven journalism (outlined nicely in the book The Elements of Journalism) are replaced with new ones, primarily a total lack of professionalism and ethical guidelines. I’m sorry to say that in the supposedly media-hip town that I live in, I did little grieving over its recently failed newspaper. It was an awful publication. And while I had some hopes for its online/hybrid replacement, they’ve created what many already feel is a failure of epic proportions. It’s hard to tell how bad the content is; the interface is so awful you’ll never find it! Likewise, even savvier attempts to infuse online news with a degree of journalistic professionalism and integrity – like The Faster Times – end up falling short in a number of ways. Maybe if the government somehow supported and regulated the news we could find a balance. That always turns out well. See you in the funny papers!
Rupert wants his two dollars…
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