Changing Times

So Rupert Murdoch has finally decided to make good his threat of charging to read his Times and Sunday Times websites.

From June people will be have to pay £1 a day or £2 a week to access news across the sites, which currently attract about 20m readers.

The debate about paywalls has been going on for ages so I don’t really want to get into it too much here. In a nutshell the grab-it-all consumer in me wants something for nothing – especially if I can get more or less the same thing on other news sites, blogs and social media without charge – while the journalist in me knows media organisations can’t keep churning out high-quality content for nowt.

Like farmers, in an ideal world I want what I produce to be valued and to receive a fair price for the energy I expend on it. In reality I wonder how much value people put on information – we certainly couldn’t live without the food and energy farming produces, can the same really be said about the media? A lot of the comments on the subject perhaps suggest not.

This perhaps sounds a bit gloomier than I mean it to. I actually think I’m a journalist in one of the most exciting times imaginable – the media organisations that fail are going to be the ones that don’t change and try new things quickly enough (what’s that Abe Lincoln? We need to ADAPT, INNOVATE and OVERCOME?). It’s going to be about providing unique, value-added content that really offers something to audiences – in that respect, I’m probably going to part with my £2 each week to read the Times because I really rate the music journalists who write for it and I think their output is worth paying a premium for.

Times music site

I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens, but come June it’s going to be fascinating to see just how the Times copes – if it’s successful it’s no doubt going to be a model the majority of media organisations will follow.

It’s weird how your thoughts come together as you write blog posts. Who’d have thought when I started that I’d end up wondering whether Rupert Murdoch is the Abraham Lincoln of the modern media world? Maybe I should go and have a lie-down.

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1 Response to “Changing Times”

  1. Rob

    I don’t get the paper everyday as we live so far from town, so I read the online media instead. Once in the morning and then again at night, I like the immediacy of the news, as far as rural news I also like the fact that I can access news from other states and countries that a local paper just can’t cover. I for one support the idea. With introduction of the smart phone and now iPad I think this debate is like digital vs film. Do they even make film anymore?