24 January 2010

The newspaper industry and the online pay wall - paying for online news

Leah McLaren of the Globe and Mail says that "the newspaper industry is coming to the slow realization that no one else will value you if you don't value yourself." That's just another of those myths that contain a half-truth. It certainly isn't true that people will value you even though you know you have worth - that what you say has worth - and that you value yourself. More realistically, people value newspapers and other people for external signs they see of their apparent worth - a title, credentials, career, employer (for people), or journalists with a reputation, title, career, etc (for newspapers). Most people don't really judge others on the basis of what they write or have done. Most people wait to see how someone else will judge them.

A newspaper can value itself without feeling they have to close themselves off from all but those willing or able to pay for their service. Even lawyers have a service for the poor (though I see signs of that changing too), although most of their best work is saved for those with money. If a newspaper truly valued itself, it wouldn't feel it had to refrain from giving news away in order to be valued. It might feel it had to refrain from giving news away in order to impress small-minded people who use money as a sign of worth. After all, it is these people, the ones with money - even though many of them have little ability to think for themselves - that newspapers must impress.

This entire scenario planned for the future is a further indication of where our society is heading - towards a wider gap between the rich and those less well off. By all means, start excluding those unwilling to pay for news, and the knowledge base that the rich already see as theirs will begin to come true, as those without will have less access to the same resources.

Creating snob appeal for the offerings of journalists

By Bill Doskoch
Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae
Jan 23, 2010

I'm looking forward to buying my online news
By Leah McLaren
Globe and Mail
Jan 22, 2010

Links updated June, 2012

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