Rupert Murdoch has “always been bold,” said Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic, and his newest plan—to charge for the content on all his news websites by next summer—certainly reinforces that reputation. His experiment will probably “drastically reduce” online readership at the New York Post, The Times of London, and his other newspapers and tabloids, but it could “conceivably save newspapers as we’ve known them.” Then again, “it may end in tears.”
Well, Murdoch does have some good points, said Ben Parr in Mashable. “Good journalism isn’t cheap,” and the current ad-based model isn’t holding up well. And if his gamble pays off, it will certainly be followed by other news sites. But it’s a risky move. “Murdoch must see something encouraging at the WSJ,” which already charges for access.
Specialist news sites like Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal and Financial Times can, and do, charge for their content, said Jeff Jarvis in Britain’s The Guardian, but for most online newspapers, putting content behind a pay wall “is not only futile but possibly suicidal.” Newspapers have had 15 years to adjust to the “post-Gutenberg” new media “link economy.” Maybe we “should” pay to read the news, “but I’ve never heard a business plan built on the verb ‘should.’”