Wright Result
Web & Print Design - New Media Communication - Marketing Victoria BC Canada

Guardian UK Editor Slams Media Paywalls

A Hero for Free Press – Alan Rusbridger

The Guardian UK Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Alan Rusbridger has publicly criticized the announcements of pay-for-content models for online news by News Corp owner Rupert Murdoch and The New York Times.

From the Guardian UK

Delivering the 2010 Hugh Cudlipp Lecture today, Rusbridger said that universal charging for newspaper content on the internet would remove the industry from a digital revolution which is allowing news organisations to engage with their readers more than ever before.

Rusbridger described universal paywalls as “a hunch” and said that the newspaper industry would learn valuable lessons from trying different business models, including staying generally free while charging for specialist content or asking readers to pay on different platforms, such as mobile.

Alan Rusbridger

Alan Rusbridger

Similar to the economic shifts of the industrial revolution and post-industry era – look at manufacturing in Ontario; the demise of Detroit as an example – the radical changes in obtaining, editing, and providing news and media have resulted in a new ‘great experiment’. Business models which for over hundreds of years supported print media, and more recently provided massive profits for radio and TV are now essentially defunct – and it is a two way problem. Media consumers are themselves providers.

Rusbridger described universal paywalls as “a hunch” and said that the newspaper industry would learn valuable lessons from trying different business models, including staying generally free while charging for specialist content or asking readers to pay on different platforms, such as mobile.

The rise of online social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, combined with cheap provision to the internet and mobile technology puts the idea of paid access to media in the realm of niche service. It might, in fact does work, for specialized content among small groups – but can never become mainstream. Put up a wall, users will simply bounce off – and find another, free source.

“It’s not a ‘digital trend’. It’s a trend about how people are expressing themselves, about how societies will choose to organise themselves, about a new democracy of ideas and information, about changing notions of authority, about the releasing of individual creativity, about resisting the people who want to close down free speech.

“If we turn our back on all this and at the same time conclude that there is nothing to learn from it then, never mind business models, we could be sleepwalking into oblivion.”

The debates and business experimentation will continue as all media platforms try to turn content into profit. Digital walls are coming down, Open Id is making it simpler for users to flip from one password protected system to another, while maintaining their profile; open information is the new buzz word for citizen engagement in many cities. Those who continue to propose creating new walls should simply look at history, and realize – they are always torn down or made irrelevant.

[ad#Google Adsense]

Share

Leave A Comment

*