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News Corp to begin charging for online access
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has announced that within the next 12 months, it will begin to require a fee for online access of it’s websites.
The strategy to extract fees from online readers, which is still lacking in many details, has more than a little bit of a “damn the torpedoes” mentality to it, but Murdoch noted that if his plan is successful, “we’ll be followed by all media.” Could this be the beginning of the end for free news on the Internet? Murdoch is hugely influential and could orchestrate a sea change for his contemporaries in the news business. And he’s in good company. His explanation that charging for news was natural because “quality journalism is not cheap” was virtually identical to the phrasing used by New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller in an interview last December with NPR.
While I concede that “free” can work for those with loss-leader products, for those of us whose content IS the product, I can only hope that this begins a trend that challenges the mentality of free. I can hope, but I’m still pretty skeptical.
Hat Tip: MJ Editorial Cartoonist