Paywalls and new media: Where is it all going?

As you probably know by now, paywalls are coming to the New York Times and have already been installed for Gannett papers like the Dallas Morning News. Part of the problem newspapers are facing is they continue to produce a legacy product (print) while also producing an online product that doesn’t produce as much revenue as did print. How to solve the problem is anyone’s guess, but in this Gigom article, the suggestion is incremental changes are not the way to go. In another piece, Gigom suggests newspapers need to be “of the web, not just on the web.” You might read those pieces as you consider the evolving (destabilized) world you are entering.

Another piece you might look at is on the Atlantic site, “How to love the (shallow, divisive, unreliable) new media,” by James Fallows. It may be difficult for members of this class because because most are digital natives with little or no experience with the pre-Internet journalistic eco-system, but consider whether you agree or disagree with the notion that news is getting worse.

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One response to “Paywalls and new media: Where is it all going?

  1. Without trying to appear too forced, I have to say that these articles actually relate really nicely to chapter 7 of Elements of Journalism. There is the feeling, I think, that too much of the media has sold out. They tried to please everybody–and failed. The funny thing about it, as far as I can tell, is that theatrical debates and the polarized opinion news that followed were actually efforts to better appeal to the public. However, “the public” missed the memo. “The public,” it turned out, still wanted verified facts with interpretation. As far as I can tell, everyone is trying to figure out who the market for these other techniques could possibly be.
    As to the other issue, the issue of economics, I think that journalism is going to have to grab onto an ideology as opposed to a business model. The manner in which public discourse has been conducted has changed before, and it can change again. Unfortunately, the industry’s economic problems are occurring at the same time as these issues of public trust (mentioned above). Quality journalism is necessary, but it must be funded somehow.

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