May 10

Paywalls: close encounter with a nuance

With the start of the charging experiment by The Times and the Sunday Times apparently close at hand, it’s time to go back to “paywalls”.

By way of a warm-up, here is a recent blog post by the FT‘s John Gapper, who thinks he detected a softening of opposition to charging when he listened to Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger recently. And there’s an interesting comment from Tim Brooks, the CEO of Guardian Media Group.

Apr 10

Rebekah and James go postal

The stresses and strains at the top of NewsCorp are beginning to look like King Lear in slow motion. When will ageing

James Murdoch

James Murdoch

King Rupert let go the reins of power and who will be best placed to benefit?  The tension burst into view when the heir-presumptive James Murdoch and News International’s Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks invaded the offices of The Independent to complain in person to Editor-in Chief Simon Kelner about a recent front page knocking Murdoch.

Michael Wolff of Newser is sometimes offbeam on Murdoch and NewsCorp, but this analysis of what’s at stake in the British election seems right on the nail.

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Mar 10

News wants to be…valuable

You’ve seen the text, now read the movie: video of my lecture here.

I was going to post about the experience of being tweeted live during a lecture, but I’m going to divert to relay one or two of the most interesting comments on my lecture theme that journalists have to sharpen the definition of what they do if it’s to be recognised as valuable in a world in which previous news media business models are foundering.

First up is Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, media editor of the Financial Times, who took an original swing at the paywall issue in an edition of the FT magazine a few weeks ago and sent the link, saying “more specialisation and a sharper focus on where news organisations can add value could make it much easier to persuade readers/users/consumers that news is something worth paying for.”

I wish I’d seen that piece before writing the lecture. This is it:

If there is one orthodoxy of the past decade that the media industry has reason to curse, it was born when Stewart Brand told the 1984 Hackers’ Conference that “information wants to be free”.

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