Monday, 14 December 2009

For your paying eyes only

Rupert Murdoch’s speech to the US Federal Trade Commission about the ‘Future of Journalism’, on 3 December, has accelerated an unavoidable development at a time where a the internet is maturing. 

The News Corporation Chairman told US regulators that ‘there is no such thing as a free news story’, and users will have to start paying for online news content - aggregation by websites and search engines should be considered as theft. Undoubtedly, once Murdoch has made the step to put his content behind a wall, many agencies and publishers will follow promptly. 

After all, the making of news is not free. How are all those journalists and reporters paid? It is hardly ‘fair trade’ when dozens of websites and search engines, such as Google and Yahoo!, enjoy the ‘free ride’ they currently have. They do not employ huge editorial teams, while they include News Corporation and other sources in their news pages - team Murdoch called it ‘Kleptomania’ - and they are making vast amounts of money with advertising, while they hardly have any labour costs. Quality journalism costs money and free content cannot keep the news industry going. Free is too expensive.