Paywalls promote misinformation

If all high-quality news becomes paywalled - what will fill the void left behind?

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Paywalls work. And, as a result, more and more news outlets are implementing them. We'll eventually reach peak paywall, but there's another core problem with every news outlet heading this way.

Steven Willmott:

The absence of access to paid media used to basically mean access to no media (or if not “no-media”, then sources with obviously low levels of trust standing). This has changed radically now, with the counterpart to factual news now being heavily manipulated, downright false information that is widely distributed. By increasing the barrier to access to reputable news sources, unfortunately, there is no longer just a void, but a tide of misinformation.

I hadn't quite looked at the issue from this point of view. As more and more high quality media disappears behind a paywall, that leaves the less financially-able (or willing) to pay for media searching for free media; and the misinformation outlets and hyper-partisan media are all too happy to fill the void.

The UK, at least, has the BBC fulfilling the role of free at point of consumption high-quality news.

Could this be the role for low-cost news bundles like Apple News? Or micropayments like Axate?

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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.