David Carr, the New York Times media writer, argues that newspapers should stop giving it away on the web and that the nation's publishers should be legally free to conspire on the best paths to the future.
Back when I was a young media reporter fueled by indignation and suspicion, I often pictured the dark overlords of the newspaper industry gathering at a secret location to collude over cigars and Cognac, deciding how to set prices and the news agenda at the same time.
It probably never happened, but now that I fear for the future of the world that they made, I’m hoping that meeting takes place. I’ll even buy the cigars....
No more free content. The Web has become the primary delivery mechanism for quality newsrooms across the country, and consumers will have to participate in financing the newsgathering process if it is to continue. Setting the price point at free — the newspaper analyst Alan D. Mutter called it the “original sin” — has brought the industry millions of eyeballs and a return that doesn’t cover the coffee budget of some newsrooms.
Mutter expands on why and how the successful newsroom of the future will charge for at least some of its content.