Thursday, 7 May 2009

"The current days of the internet will soon be over"

Following on from Fiona's excellent summary of Emily Bell's recent lecture on the future of journalism, at University College Falmouth, a couple of links to supplement the debate.

Today's post title is taken from Rupert Murdoch, as quoted in today's Guardian. Murdoch it seems doesn't at all hold with Chris Anderson's conception of the "free economy", and, encouraged by the Wall Street Journal's online subscriptions success, now anticipates that News Corp newspapers will begin charging for online content "within the next 12 months."

Quite a U-turn on his part, it seems: in November 2007, he was instead talking enthusiastically about dismantling the WSJ's subscription wall:

We are studying it and we expect to make that free, and instead of having one million (subscribers), having at least 10 million-15 million in every corner of the earth.

A much longer, and very interesting debate piece can be found in this month's Prospect magazine, which happily isn't charging online readers to view Steven Johnson and Paul Starr's exchange of correspondence on the question "Are we on track for a golden age of serious journalism?"

Readers of this blog will probably be able to guess the position Johnson takes up (broadly optimistic); while Paul Starr, who I confess wasn't familiar to me, provides the notes of caution, his main concern being to avoid the erosion of the press's ability to provide effective political accountability, as well as how to maintain funding for journalism without compromising it's independence. As for an overall conclusion; that was left for the reader to decide, perhaps in more ways than one.

UPDATE: Just spotted that has a blog devoted to these matters: The Great Transition.

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