‘Life after the pay wall: ignorance ain’t bliss after all’ by Simon Dumenco
It’s 2012 and news is no longer free. Michael Wolff, founder of the news-aggregation site Newser, is in prison, the first high-profile casualty of the 2011 anti-aggregation law. To avoid punishment the Huffington Post has turned into an Arianna Huffington fan-fiction site – and has better traffic than ever. It’s an era where news is luxury, where a yearly subscription to the New York Times cost $7,000. Mobsters are now trafficking pay-wall passwords because it’s more lucrative than counterfeit handbags.
Dumenco might be jesting in this article for the American marketing and media news publication Advertising Age, where he writes the ‘Media Guy’ column. But through his jests he brings up some important points. Information wants to be free. But then how will journalism survive? If paywalls are put up will only the elite class keep reading? And websites offering free content, will they have to appeal to entertainment and celebrity gossip to survive?
Exaggerated predictions yes, but reading this article 20 years from now, one will be able to get a sense of the fears surrounding an industry in transformation.
Jean Kemshal-Bell is a Bachelor of Journalism Honours student at La Trobe University. More about upstart’s ‘100 articles that every journalist should read about journalism’ project, including details of how you can contribute, can be found here.