The Content Paywall Ostriches

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

To dismiss the whole of the free-to-air reporting, analysis and
news-gathering being done on blogs and the myriad forms of social media
that exist in that one paragraph is to duck the crucial question of
“what do you offer that’s so much more compelling than the work done on
free content”. Worse than that, it shows a worrying ignorance of the
material and work that is being done by the amateur and the
entrepreneurial professional in the field of online journalism.
Research is meant to be a crucial part of journalism, and it had better
be part of any business plan. There’s no research here, just prejudice
and, I suspect, fear.

He also makes the normal spurious pleas to democratic nobility –
through some sort of reporting elite, ironically – that are trotted out
again and again. And I think to myself “I’ve seem more genuine holding
of local politicians to account by local bloggers in south-east London than I have by the local newspaper“.

Even Johnston Press admits it’s just testing the water here. It’s going to take more than a paywall to save us from the shifts in the information ecology around us.

Update: A few minutes after I posted, I saw this. May I suggest that it’s just further evidence of the disconnect between the perceived value of the local press and the often tawdry reality?


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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.